Political news site The Hill has obtained military documents that offer some insight into Mayor Pete Buttigieg’s time spent in Afghanistan as a Navy intelligence officer.
Buttigieg has mentioned on the campaign trail he took a seven month leave during his first term as mayor to serve in Afghanistan as part of Operation Enduring Freedom launched by President George W. Bush in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks.
According to The Hill, the documents show the then-32-year-old served in the Afghanistan Threat Finance Cell (ATFC) in Kabul from March to September of 2014. The files indicate that assignment put him in “an imminent danger pay area.”
The focus of the ATFC was to identify and disrupt “insurgent financial support networks in Afghanistan” related to the Taliban and Al-Qaida.
The Hill reports his duties included representing ATFC at “high level briefings, and he also “coordinated intelligence sharing and targeting deconfliction” methods with several organizations.
As Buttigieg mentioned in his book Shortest Way Home, he imagined he would spend most of his time in Afghanistan “behind a sophisticated computer terminal in a secure area.” But it turned out he had to venture some 119 times “outside the wire,” which meant leaving his fairly secure base. During those trips into Kabul, he served as vehicle commander on convoy security detail.
While he’s never claimed to have engaged in direct combat, Buttigieg did describe in his book the dangers unpredictable Kabul neighborhoods could present.
“In a ritual to be repeated dozens of times, I would heave my armored torso into the driver’s seat of a Land Cruiser, chamber a round in my M4, lock the doors and wave a gloved goodbye to the Macedonian gate guard,” wrote Buttigieg.
“My vehicle would cross outside the wire and into the boisterous Afghan city, entering a world infinitely more interesting and ordinary and dangerous than our zone behind the blast walls at ISAF headquarters,” he added.
Even in an armored vehicle, he was trained to be on the lookout for possible explosive devices hidden along the roads, or a number of telltale signs of a surprise ambush around any corner. “A suddenly empty neighborhood. A nervous-looking lone driver of a vehicle with a heavy trunk load. An obviously male hand coming out from underneath a woman’s blue burqa.”
Mayor Pete is one of the few Democratic presidential candidates that has active duty military experience as part of his resume.
Donald Trump did not serve in the military due to reported ‘bone spurs’ in his feet. Someone asked, “what was the point of this last sentence.” It shows the extent of #45’s non-military service. Compare them apples (or in this case oranges).