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Originally posted by Golf66
Originally posted by Philippines
Thanks for this post. It was a much needed breath of fresh air - someone posting knowledge from their experience! I found value in it, thanks.
You are welcome.
Originally posted by Philippines
I do find it very interesting the military acknowledges the value of gold. What kind of coins were they? Unmarked bullion?
Special Operations is a very different beast than the regular Army. You are not going to find infantrymen being issued gold coins (almost universally negotiable) and/or cash just in case.
However, in Special Operations our operators and pilots are given these and currency because safety can be purchased in a lot of circumstances. Don't get me wrong you certainly don't want to get caught at all because the captors can just as easily have both you and all your stuff. It was primarily for once you got out of the combat area and into a friendlier place. Base line was 4 1 oz gold coins and 1,000.00 in US dollars along with some local currency. Pooled together assuming a whole team was alive still it would be about $100,000.00 at the current market price for gold. 12 men can get pretty far on that.
As for type of coin it really depended on the operational area and was it a clandestine or covert operation. In a clandestine operation US Eagles were fine as we’d be in uniform and obviously Americans. Covert operations required the creative use of different coins depending on the cover being used. The coins and currency would reinforce the cover.
You can only imagine the accountability drill every time we went somewhere and I assure you there were no - "#, I lost my gold" incidents. Primarily they were sewn into belts anyway so unless you lost your pants it’s pretty much impossible. Then there was the zero tolerance - you lose it you buy it. Since 4 oz of gold is about what a Major or Senior Captain makes and way more than any Enlisted man makes in a month no one was losing them. Never happened.
Money however was very freely flowing. You'd be surprised what kinds of money I had when operating my little base in the beginning of the Afghan war. Back in 03-4 when the only people in country were Special OPs. A literal pallet of cash actually. Mostly 20’s though as that is a fortune for a local. Don’t let that set off your anti-government waste filter though because I assure you some bean counter was flown in to check the paperwork and count the money more often than we got mail service….
We bought information, paid the our Afghani forces a salary bought weapons, horses (which were a godsend in navigating the mountains), goats (mostly we ate them), trucks, we even bought 2 D30s (122mm soviet arty piece) for our compound with 1000 rounds that we used to good effect against the Taliban. We bought a 240mm mortar only to find out it was beyond repair. That would have been ideal for use in the mountains.
I once had a Car flown in for some tribal big wig. No idea where he was going to drive it (no way it would make it on those dirt roads) or where he'd get gas for it but a used 1970s Cadillac convertible got him and his 130 fighters to be on our side so I call it a win. I had to get very high level authority for that one I assure you. For all I know it's still sitting inside his courtyard where the bird sling loaded it.