The Corner

Clark and Those Choppers

In my interview with him a couple of years ago (see the posting below), Wesley Clark described an incident that took place while he was commanding NATO forces in Kosovo. Clark suggested that the incident, which involved Apache helicopters, showed that the Pentagon was attempting to undercut him.

To which a reader responds as follows:

“I worked for Gen. Shelton [chairman of the joint chiefs at the time of the Kosovo conflict], but not for Gen. Clark. My specialty was the transition from the Deep Fight to the Close Fight which is where the Apache [helicopters] operate….

“My comments about Gen Clark’s remarks center on his comment about the offer for the Apaches from JCS: The doctrinal use of that weapon system is well defined and the planners for that part of the battlefield are among the best in the world. (They are referred to as ‘Jedi Knights’ among the staff). I assisted in that kind of planning for General Shelton when he was commander of XVIII Corp. He is very capable of understanding a concept paper unless it departs from doctrine or [is] very poorly written.

“Furthermore, it is odd that General Clark would not have initiated the request for the Apaches BEFORE being asked if he could use them only days out from the Line of Departure, especially if, as he implies, they were so important to his success. It appears to me that he did not understand the use of those systems and was ignoring his planning staff until prompted by the JCS.

“Finally, I recall the most disturbing sight of that conflict, aside from the human horrors, was the footage of a Maverick missile destroying a [light] truck. This was paraded for the media as the success our technology could give us. Using that weapon to destroy a parked truck was not only a waste, but evidence that they did not have a target matrix worth a tinker’s dam.

“In summary, I expect General Clark is more [of an] expert on gay marriage….”