Mustard stains

Yesterday ACE posted about a company of 82nd Airborne paratroopers who received their “mustard stain” combat jump badges for a classified jump into Afghanistan in February of 2003.

Balckfive (the Paratrooper of Love) also noted it, though I didn’t come across his post until today. Among the goodies pointed out:

The paratroopers had been in Afghanistan for about a month and had been running missions in the eastern part of the country when they were ordered to pack up their gear and move to Bagram air base. The mission was kept so secret that the soldiers didn’t know what they were doing until almost a week after they arrived at the base. “Rumors were flying around. I wasn’t sure we would jump until the parachutes arrived,” said Spc. Raymond Mullenix, a 21- year-old Florida native.

Even getting the parachutes was a furtive operation.

The paratroopers covered the parachutes with their ponchos as they carried them into the building where they were training.

Remember that many, if not most, of the most notable missions and accomplishments in the war will go unnoticed by most of us since they’re SECRET. My thinking is that the mountains along the Afghan/Pakistan border, the western desert of Iraq, the Syrian and Iranian borders of Iraq, and various spots in Africa and the ‘Stans have been the sites of many bold moves by US forces. It will be years before we learn of them. If we ever learn of them.