Oct 25

Devil Dogs and Green Berets: Maj. Brantley A. “Junk” Bond

Tuesday, October 25, 2011 12:01 AM

A fierce battle erupted in Afghanistan as a Taliban armored column attempted to overrun a team of Green Berets, on Thursday 25 October 2001. Barely a month after 9/11, fighting flared across the embattled country as special operators fought alongside allied tribesmen to direct air strikes against Usama bin Lāden and his al-Qāidah (The Base) thugs, and Mullah (master) Muhammad A. Umar and his Taliban extremists.

The Green Berets desperately called in close air support, and the pilots included Major Brantley A. “Junk” Bond, USMC, of VMFA-251 Thunderbolts, embarked on board Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71). As Bond rolled in, enemy gunners opened up intense fire, but undaunted, the Marine maneuvered his F/A-18C Hornet into tight turns and blasted the tribesmen one-by-one, knocking out four or five anti-aircraft guns.

The forward air controller realized that Bond had a better view of the enemy and passed control of the other aircraft to the Marine. Wasting no time, Junk Bond dropped a five hundred pound bomb about sixty yards in front of a tank, close enough that the concussion knocked the tank out and probably wounded some of the crew.

The explosion flushed out other tanks and armored personnel carriers, and the terrorists and their supporters perceived their precarious position and attempted to disperse, but as each pilot checked in with him, Bond “lazed” (laser designated for guided ordnance) their targets, directing a veritable storm of fire against the enemy. All told, aircrew put as many as fifteen vehicles out of action, and Bond received the Distinguished Flying Cross for his intrepidity during the critical battle.