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Dec-23-2013 12:28printcommentsVideo

Why Did the Army Refuse to Aid Fallen Marines at Ganjgal? (VIDEO)

Never before in American history were U.S. troops intentionally sent on a mission where their "brother" Americans refused to help, allowing them to simply die.

U.S. soldiers standing outside of the TOC at Camp Joyce in Afghanistan.
U.S. soldiers standing outside of the TOC at Camp Joyce in Afghanistan. photo by Tim King

(SALEM) - As a team of Marines were killed at Ganjgal village in 2009, U.S. Army commanders made a conscious decision to leave them to die. This is a stone cold documented fact.

Embedded U.S. Marine team from Monti

Killed at Ganjgal:

Marine 1st Lt Michael Johnson
Marine Gunnery Sgt Edwin Johnson
Marine SSgt Aaron M Kenefick (Gunnery Sgt)
Navy/Corpsman James R Layton
Army Sgt Kenneth Westbrook

They could have been aided and their deaths avoided, but U.S commanders who sent them there, left them alone for the duration of a severe attack by Taliban militants. As the Marine Lieutenant in charge of the team made his final call to the army for artillery and air support, he told the officers he was about to die. The army staff at nearby Camp Joyce replied, "Try Your Best".

This happened on the day that Marine Sergeant Dakota Meyer and Army Captain Will Swenson conducted an unimaginable rescue mission to bring more than 40 U.S. and Afghan military personnel out of Ganjgal. Their actions led to each receiving the Medal of Honor. The incident calls for a thorough unbiased investigation. At this point Smith & Wesson and the NRA are backing Meyer and Swenson and bringing light to the story. Yet it is all so strange.

Why did this happen?

How did the officers in charge of bungling this mission avoid being charged? Death sentences could be meted out over lesser circumstances.

At the conclusion of the video below, words appear on the screen stating that the officers in charge of this mission received reprimands. We know for an absolute fact that one of the officers at the center of what went wrong was promoted, appointed to a higher post and later retired with a full pension. Somebody isn't telling the truth. However I believe the video below is totally produced in earnest, and that the producers believe the reprimands happened. There is no question that the government stated that this took place.

Camp Joyce and Ganjgal are in the Pesh Valley of Afghanistan near the Pakistan border. Camp Joyce was the base of operations and also the location of the regional tactical operations center (TOC).


Peter Granger, a former Army major, was in charge of the TOC that morning, but it wasn't his job, so why did his team take over the TOC on this particular day, 08 September 2009?

Medal of Honor Recipients Swenson and Meyer

There was a full staff of soldiers who ran the TOC every day who had regional and situational awareness. They knew the soldiers and Marines they worked with, the lay of the land and they knew which villages were particularly deadly. All of the TOC team were relieved from duty on 08 Sept. and everyone who assumed their jobs were only there for a single day. One soldier dispatched helicopters to Ganjgal even though he was told not to, and the helicopter pilots were re-directed, never arriving at Ganjgal.

Dakota Meyer and Staff Sergeant Juan Rodriguez-Chavez violated orders in their decision to rescue the injured from the battlefield that day, and they received the nation's highest honor. It is unfortunate that the helicopter pilots did not do the same.

When CBS investigated the story in 2009, they reported that Granger was being reprimanded and that it would ruin his career. However in reality, Granger was promoted to lieutenant colonel and placed in charge of Stability Operations after Ganjgal.


The force sent to Ganjgal allegedly to discuss plans to build a new mosque, involved 13 US Embedded Forces (U.S. Marine Corps Embedded Training Team 2-8), two Afghan National Army platoons numbering approximately 60 (1st Kandak, 2nd BDE, 201st Corps), one Afghan Border Patrol platoon numbering approximately 30, and one U.S. Army platoon.

After reading this brief overview and watching the video below, visit Aaron M Kenefick: A Marine Who Knew Too Much for more sordid details on the ambush at Ganjgal village.


Into the Fire: A Firsthand Account of the Most Extraordinary Battle in the Afghan War

Marine Corps Times

Military History Monthly



Comments Leave a comment on this story.

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William July 7, 2015 7:07 am (Pacific time)

Dakota Meyer was a Corporal at the time of this battle. According to him, a Army sniper team in the battlefield said "try your best," but out of shared helplessness and anger—it wasn't said by a REMF at the TOC but a guy who knew how dire the situation was but had nothing more to say or do. The Army sniper team ("Shadow") kept trying to call in supporting fires but was denied repeatedly by the TOC at Camp Joyce on the ground that it was "too close to the village." Lt. Johnson, who surrounded, said, "If you don't give me these rounds right now, I'm going to die." It was not until three hours later that HQ relented, sent in air support and combat search and rescue to recover the four American embedded trainers. Lt. Johnson had been shot three times in the right shoulder. Doc Layton was sprawled over him with medical supplies all over the place, having been shot in the back of the head.

Soldier December 27, 2013 7:03 am (Pacific time)

I don't need to. You have provided no sources for your claims. You simply make accusations. You have not one shred of evidence yet you're sullying the memory of a man many of us fought with. He deserves more than you trying to make a career off of his sacrifices. I have no doubt that nothing will come of your article because no one takes it seriously. Have a good one.

Only a person with very dark intentions would have sent those Marines into Ganjgal that morning.

Half of what I cite is published in Dakota's book; other data comes from back channels;  that I will not disclose but it is accurate and.  Even just the general aspects of the story fail to add up.  

Then I get people like you claiming to know about the region who lack the character to even use their name? How could you possible expect to make a difference?  This is one of the worst stories in the annals of military history.    

soldier December 26, 2013 3:59 pm (Pacific time)

Did I in any way state my remarks with curse words? No. I think you were incapable of appreciating criticism. In no way did I attack you personally. So your characterization of my remarks, per my last post, was misinforming your readers. This is further burgeoned by your refusal to post them and then characterize those remarks in their abstention as 'insulting an unproductive'. If you can provide any evidence that those remarks were insulting, I am willing to absorb any effort you may proffer to the contrary. But this is off-topic. Your article remains destructively lacking in research. Your basic thesis, that SSG Kenefick was somehow targeted by officers for ulterior reasons, remains unproven, merely conjecture, and unprofessionally postured on an open network without evidence or just cause. It's unprofessional of a supposed journalist. If you aspire to journalistic integrity that holds those in other media to account, you'll hold yourself to that standard.

I'm sorry, please see this article for the details about Aaron Kenefick: Aaron M Kenefick: A Marine Who Knew Too Much

Soldier December 26, 2013 5:29 am (Pacific time)

Just so you get it straight, I was doing you a favor by helping you understand the holes in your story. If you want to be passive-aggressive, that's your choice. But know that no one that has any experience there takes you seriously. Have fun pretending to be a reporter. Good day.

I don't think you are unaware of the fact that your last comment was insulting and non-productive.  We have no problem with solid criticism.  You danced around the story itself and what it is about.  If you leave a comment, try to leave the debasing insults out.  We have dealt with too many paid shills from the U.S. govt to take insulting comments seriously.

Soldier December 25, 2013 2:59 pm (Pacific time)

1. I don't need to give you my name. Based on your lack of...

And we don't have to carry your comment.

Soldier December 25, 2013 1:41 pm (Pacific time)

Tim, I'm not going to argue with you. Camp Joyce and Ganjgal are NOT in the Pech River Valley. You're not even spelling things correctly here. Your work is shoddy at best and un-researched and a deliberate effort to misinform at worst. I spent years there. I don't care what your lieutenant says about it being the Pech. It's not. Are you going to argue the world is flat next? It's a fact: Joyce and Ganjgal are not in the Pech River valley. The Watahpur, Waigal, Korengal, and Shuryak valleys are corollaries and capillaries of the main Pech River valley. Ganjgal runs eastward from the Kunar River Valley, south of Ghaki in northern Sarkani District.

Fix your mistakes. It's impossible to take you seriously when you not only make this assertion in your article but double-down and refuse to simply say 'I made a mistake. I agree with you.'

The rest of your article is also riddled with errors and possibly deliberate misinformation. Again, I have spent years in Kunar and don't have the motivation to chop up your article here. Just for everyone else: this article is completely lacking in research.

I am more willing to concede my point, near the Pesh (Pech) valley based on the points you are making, would be a better description.  But again this is a technicality.  You fail to use a name to demonstrate that you are whoever you claim to be, and then you dismiss the rest of the article as "completely lacking in research."  That is simply incorrect.  


Solider December 25, 2013 7:42 am (Pacific time)

Wow. There is so much wrong in the basic facts that you stated above that I don't have the time to correct you. This entire article is messed up.

Just a tip for you: if you're going to write about an event (and Ganjgal is an important one, no doubt), do some research first. This article is one big falsehood.

Example: Camp Joyce and Ganjgal are not in the Pech River Valley.

Just wow. Your article is an abomination.

I was in the Pesh Valley soldier, in Kunar province, also called Konar province.  Look it up, I can show you a video clip inside of a HUMVEE approaching the place and a lieutenant says "Welcome to the Pesh Valley".  If somehow Joyce is technically somehow not actually physically within Pesh then the people there still believe it is and if your point is anything at all it is a technicality at best. This article is accurate.  

Luke Easter December 24, 2013 8:53 am (Pacific time)

Sending our troops to Iraq with Humvees that had littie or no armor against IED's so blatent that said vehicles had to be refitted with propper protection by the manufacturer? Loved ones sending body armor to troops re:low grade protection provided by U.S. Military?

I know, I remember it like yesterday, it was shameful to put the out there that way.

Luke Easter December 23, 2013 6:32 pm (Pacific time)

Why Have the Marines Refused to Aid Fallen Marines re:Toxic Waste @ Camp Pendleton? Hey! Can't expect the Army to assist Marines abroad when Marines won't assist Marines on the home front Homie.

Yeah I'd hate to wage an argument against that, Lord knows it is true.  But this combat situation is the first of its nature that I know of, that is so blatant. Semper peace!  

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