Joint Terminal Attack Controllers — Battlefield Air Controllers or Forward Air Controllers to the Brits — can be pretty much described as Air Traffic Controllers From Hell.
Operating in two man teams, JTACs are responsible for all air movement inside the bubble of airspace inside their zone. They plot and co-ordinate air-strikes and air-support missions, assess damage afterwards, dispatch helicopters, ensure that any airframes moving through their zone don’t end up sharing immediate space with other aircraft, other aircraft’s munitions, or artillery and mortar shells, schedule transports and supply drops.
When the Bad Guys are doing their damnedest to get up under your helmet with you, it’s your JTAC who talks to the jet-jockeys to fine-tune their bombs and gives the corrections if second or subsequent passes are required.
It seems that the Joint Tactical Attack Controller known to American, British, Dutch, French and other NATO aircraft operating in Afghanistan by his call-sign of Widow Six Seven was a bit more famous than his mates.
Henry of Wales — more commonly known as Prince Harry of the English House of Windsor — has apparently done gone and tied various jihadist knickers into rather intricate knots by the simple means of plotting and conducting multiple air-strikes against Taliban insurgents, performing multiple vehicle and foot patrols in hostile areas, and other types of Killing People And Breaking Their Stuff that is the main purpose of soldiers everywhere — all under the beards of said local jihadists.
Well, he was up until a bottom-feeding parasite decided that the right of the Drudge Report to make money in advertisement revenue trumped, well, all of Prince Harry’s rights — as well as military OPSEC (OPerational SECurity) amongst other things.
As I sit here — musing that Harry might as well get used to having the Eve of St Crispin’s Day speech from Shakespeare’s Henry V recited to him — I am reminded that in August of 1921, a New York lawyer was stricken with either polio or Guillain-Barre Syndrome, resulting in that lawyer becoming totally and permanently paralyzed from the waist down.
Despite this, the lawyer managed to become elected as Governor of the State of New York — twice; and was elected as President of the United States of America four times — the last election during America’s involvement in the Second World War.
The man was completely paralyzed from the waist down. He spent most of his time in a wheelchair, and could walk only with the aid of iron braces on his hips and legs and a cane or crutches.
Yet, millions of Americans never knew this. Those Americans who did know, believed that their President had beaten the disease or only had a mild case.
Why was this? Because the American press — by common, unspoken consent — never photographed Roosevelt in motion and never revealed that his paralysis was far worse than he let on. He may have been President of the United States, but his paralysis was part of his private life — and the press respected that.
How far we have come since then, and how much we have changed.
In the 1930’s and ’40’s the entire US press corp keeps mum on how badly the US President is handicapped. Out of respect.
In the early years of the 21st century one US Internet tabloid opens its mush and increases the dangers faced by a single 23-year-old soldier to the point of endangering his squadmates and the troops under his command. Because “the people have a right to know”.
Codswallop. Balderdash. Horse. Puckey.
I wonder how many pieces of silver Matt Drudge could buy with the money he made on his “exclusive”.