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Oct-14-2009 19:44printcomments

Combat Infantryman's Curse: We are Expendable: More Troops Will Save Lives

If we don’t send more Combat Infantry we will have many more killed and wounded.

An American soldier looks toward in International Security Assistance Forces vehicle and a British soldier.
An American soldier looks toward in International Security Assistance Forces vehicle and a British soldier. In recent years, Coalition soldiers were here in only small numbers. photo by Tim King

(MOLALLA, Ore.) - I’m not talking about swearing here but most of the time we had much to swear about. Being treated like half-trained hunting dogs was the worst. It seemed we green as grass DOGFACES were supposed to know more about soldiering than our sergeants or looeys (some of us did!).

During WWII, the book, They Were Expendable came out referring to the guys on the Patrol Torpedo Boats (PTBs). They were about 50 feet long and carried several torpedos and they were fast in the water, about 45 miles an hour. They were almost like kamikazes and were supposed to attack enemy ships, fire torpedoes, then scram, fast. They Were Expendable!

After being a Combat Infantryman, Battalion Scout, Pointman and Forward Observer, I felt the Combat Infantryman was really expendable. We were less than 10% of the Army but suffered 70% of the dead and wounded. The Artillery, Tankers and ever Para’s were far behind. The Air Force was second with 10%.

This was brought up short to me Oct. 11, 2009 about a Marine Company at Fort Keating in Afghanistan where a company of Marines was almost overrun by a couple hundred Afghan fighters. The TV show showed a memorial service for the 8 marines who were killed. About 40 were wounded and their fort was destroyed and abandoned.

This brought back to me The Battle of Bastogne in WWII which was almost the same but on a much larger scale. Less than two American Divisions, about half Paratroopers held off 10 German Divisions, nearly all Americans were wounded with many dead.

In the face of all this our Congress is debating – no – squabbling, should we send more fighting men to Afghanistan even in the face of the obvious that we don’t have enough Infantry fighting men there.

As a Combat Dogface I must say we can NEVER have too many fighting soldiers on the ground, with too few men casualties sky rocket which is what is going on now.

President Obama is being blamed for a situation he inherited. If the Afghans sense weakness by our lack of troops they WILL TRY to run us out. We can’t afford this or any hesitation to send adequate fighting men. Though we have about 60 thousand there now probably no more than 20% are Combat Infantry.

If we don’t send more Combat Infantry we will have many more killed and wounded.



Dr. Phillip Leveque has degrees in chemistry, biochemistry, pharmacology, toxicology and minors in physiology and biochemistry. He was a Professor of Pharmacology, employed by the University of London for 20 years, during which time he trained the first doctors in Tanzania. After training doctors, he became an Osteopathic Physician, as well as a Forensic Toxicologist.

Before any of that, Phil Leveque was a Combat Infantryman in the U.S. Army in WWII. He suffers from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder more than 60 years after the war, and specialized in treating Veterans with PTSD during his years as a doctor in Molalla, Oregon.

Do you have a a question, comment, or story to share with Dr. Leveque?
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More information on the history of Dr. Leveque can be found in his book, General Patton's Dogface Soldier of WWII about his own experiences "from a foxhole".
Order the book by mail by following this link:
Dogface Soldier

If you are a World War II history buff, you don't want to miss it.

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MSG Demers Jumpmaster October 31, 2013 8:47 am (Pacific time)

Serving multiple tours overseas and seeing the American Soldiers move into my platoon and into my Companies I can say there are still some GOD fearing knuckle dragging Paratroopers out there in society. For you (Anonymouse) Yes I spelled it wrong because you are a mouse, because you forgot who gave you the right to complain about your American Fighting Men and women. Do something about it, join your government and not become corrupt, become a fighting man or woman and support the Infantry because that’s what everyone does. Dr Leveque Thank you for your service and everything that you do for our veterans in your need.

Dr. Leveque October 21, 2009 2:37 pm (Pacific time)

To Anonymous 101509 622am (ashamed to use your name?) My story COMBAT INFANTRYMANS CURSE Oct. 14, 2009 brought the strangest response, to wit: that Russia had 500,000 troops in Afghanistan but lost the war. At the start they had a total air superiority which is essential for modern warfare. The U.S. gave the Afghans ground to air missles which destroyed their Air Force and ultimately their Ground Forces by suicide bombers - one man=one tank or truck. We now have overwhelming air superiority but not enough combat infantry even for a successful pull out. We cannot just up and leave. The Muslems get brownie points and 42 (?) virgins in Heaven if they get killed. What do we get Red Cross "donut dollies" and USO gal entertainers if we are not on the front lines.

Dr. Leveque October 21, 2009 2:32 pm (Pacific time)

To Karen Milhealth: Thank you for your nice words. Most Combat Infantryman Dogfaces really respect the Devils in Baggy pants (AIRBORNE). I respect them also. I had 6 weeks of Infantry Training, most Paras had a year or more. Oh yes, Currahee and Geronimo!

Vic October 15, 2009 8:47 am (Pacific time)

I might add, no one said it was going to be easy invading a sovereign country, murdering tens of thousands of civilians, bombing weddings (seven last year),injuring around a hundred thousand civilians, trying to steal the natural resources, installing a puppet government and keeping the opium business going. But hey, what noble causes, right? Who would not be willing to die or send their children to die for these goals? (or send others to die). I wonder if there are still enough decent, good people left in America to counter the sick, hateful warmongers that pervade our society like an infection. I am beginning to doubt it.

Anonymous October 15, 2009 6:30 am (Pacific time)

I believe, no one has the right to support sending ANY troops to Afghanistan, to die, before extensive research. And I dont mean the 30 minutes you spend watching the mainstream news, which by the way, is highly influenced by the military industrial complex. Here, I help you out to get started. It is amazing to me. During bush's term war was bad, but now that obama is in office, seems like war is ok now. Weird.

Anonymous October 15, 2009 6:22 am (Pacific time)

Russians had 500,000 troops and lost the war with Afghanistan. Afghanistan is not called the "graveyard of empires" for nothing. U.S. troops are guarding poppy fields, which were once eradicated by the taliban, and now 85% of the worlds heroin comes from Afghanistan. The influx has also reduced the price. The U.S. tried to negotiate a oil pipeline in Afghanistan with the Afghani's. I guess their price was too much? Are you getting the picture here? These wars are to finance the military industrial complex, and the federal resrve bank, who lends the U.S. money to go to war and charges interest on that money, not to bring democracy. The federal reserve bank, and the military industrial complex will be the only winners in this war. Leaving Afghanistan will not endanger the troops. The Afghani's want the troops gone, and would probably pull out the red carpet for the exit. Research "who financed WW2". This war will do to the U.S. the same thing it did to the Russians. Bankruptcy. see this graph:

Karen (Milhealth) October 14, 2009 10:28 pm (Pacific time)

Great article! My son is a SFC in the 82nd ABN, he's been to both A-Stan and Iraq. Last deployment my son was in Samarra, they took a lot of fatalities including 2 of my close friends sons (the Samarra Seven). My son was awarded the Bronze Star with V after that deployment which he proudly wears on his class A's but is too humble to say much about it other than everybody he led that day in that battle should have received one too. I don't think the American people really know how incredibly vast the mountainous regions are and how well the enemy knows there way around. It says much about those marines who fought that 12+ hour battle that only 8 were killed (I don't say 'only' in a disrespectful way even one is too many!) I love WWII history, my father was a Navy Seabee in the Pacific theater (18 yrs old, drafted). I wish he were alive today to see his grandsons (my younger son is a vet/disabled). One of my twitter friends RT this ... which is how I came to read this. I tweeted how the Germans were terrified of the 504th/82nd in WWII, referring to them as "the devils in baggy pants!" (my son is in the 505th). God bless you sir, thank you for your service! You are a true patriot! Respectfully, Karen Proud Army ABN Mom! "H-Minus!"

Vic October 14, 2009 9:12 pm (Pacific time)

How about we just get the f^^^ out of other people's countries.??

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Sean Flynn was a photojournalist in Vietnam, taken captive in 1970 in Cambodia and never seen again.