Best Defense

Thomas E. Ricks' daily take on national security.

A Marine’s Afghan AAR (XI): On being ‘pinned down’

Here CWO2/Gunner Keith Marine says that being trapped by enemy fire is just something you think. "Pinned down." I have heard this term a few times out here. Being pinned down is a state of mind, nothing is holding you there. Get your base of fire going, firing only at targets and at the sustained ...

LIU JIN/AFP/Getty Images
LIU JIN/AFP/Getty Images
LIU JIN/AFP/Getty Images

Here CWO2/Gunner Keith Marine says that being trapped by enemy fire is just something you think.

"Pinned down." I have heard this term a few times out here. Being pinned down is a state of mind, nothing is holding you there. Get your base of fire going, firing only at targets and at the sustained rate.  Use the marksmanship fundamentals and you will rapidly reduce their numbers. Then assault.  In areas we have done this, we killed them and they didn't come back to play. They go and play in other folks' areas [where they] . . .  sit and wait for supporting arms.

I take his point, but also of course there are situations where there is an enemy machine gun staring at you and enemy mortars ready to plop on you. I guess he'd say that is all the more reason to get moving. 

Here CWO2/Gunner Keith Marine says that being trapped by enemy fire is just something you think.

"Pinned down." I have heard this term a few times out here. Being pinned down is a state of mind, nothing is holding you there. Get your base of fire going, firing only at targets and at the sustained rate.  Use the marksmanship fundamentals and you will rapidly reduce their numbers. Then assault.  In areas we have done this, we killed them and they didn’t come back to play. They go and play in other folks’ areas [where they] . . .  sit and wait for supporting arms.

I take his point, but also of course there are situations where there is an enemy machine gun staring at you and enemy mortars ready to plop on you. I guess he’d say that is all the more reason to get moving. 

Thomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military from 1991 to 2008 for the Wall Street Journal and then the Washington Post. He can be reached at ricksblogcomment@gmail.com. Twitter: @tomricks1

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