FOB Cobra (aka FOB Tinsley)
Base in Oruzgan province used by Dutch, Australian and US forces. Re-named FOB Tinsley following death of the US Special Forces officer in August 2009. That operation was the subject of a major US inquiry following the death of 15 civilians.
Source: Uruzgan’s “Wild West”, Hans de Vreij, Radio Netherlands, 2009-10-24
Army seeks answers for Afghan civilian deaths: ‘Miscommunication’ may have led to more than 15 civilian deaths, Sean D. Naylor, Army Times, 2010-03-09
A helicopter attack that killed at least 15 civilians in Afghanistan’s Oruzgan province was called in by a Special Forces A-team that did not have “eyes on” their target and resulted in a 48-hour standdown for U.S. special operations forces, said an Army officer familiar with the incident. The A-team involved in the incident was Operational Detachment Alpha 3124, a team that specializes in high-altitude, low-opening parachute operations, and which is based at Firebase Tinsley in Oruzgan. (Firebase Tinsley was known as Firebase Cobra until recently, when it was renamed in honor of Capt. John Tinsley of 7th Special Forces Group, who was killed near there Aug. 12.)
Uruzgan’s “Wild West”, Hans de Vreij, Radio Netherlands, 2009-10-24
Spot the Green Beret’ is an easy game to play at Firebase Cobra, a remote American outpost in Uruzgan province, central Afghanistan. The U.S. Army Special Forces (Airborne) soldiers invariably wear beards. This is in contrast to clean-shaven Dutch Major General Mart de Kruif, the outgoing commander of some 40,000 NATO troops in Southern Afghanistan. After seven failed attempts, the General managed to visit Firebase Cobra earlier this week. Not that the U.S. Green Berets fall under his command. They are part of Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF), the multinational, U.S.-led counterterrorism coalition. The main purpose of General de Kruif’s visit to Firebase Cobra is to check whether the coordination of NATO and OEF-operations efforts works out in the field. Also, during his one-year period of command, the Dutchman made a point of visiting as many of the some 160 forward operating bases in southern Afghanistan as possible.
Challenging is one way to describe the environment in the district of Charchino in this northwestern part of Uruzgan province. Firebase Cobra is completely surrounded by hostile forces. Supplies have to be airdropped or flown in by helicopter. The Green Berets spend eight months here, uninterrupted by such luxuries as a brief home leave. Their number is classified, but it’s safe to say that there is more than the 12-men strong basic unit of the Special Forces. Also, they have the necessary fire support at the base. I saw more than one 105mm howitzer and more than one heavy mortar at Firebase Cobra. In a little over two months, the guns dispatched almost 5,000 rounds, from smoke and illuminating grenades to protect patrols, to lethal High Explosive to hit the enemy when need be. This is Uruzgan’s ‘Wild West’. A bit to the South, the Helmand River streams through a narrow gorge and eventually leads to the safe area around Deh Rawod. However, the valley is hostile, the terrain is ideal for the insurgents and it would take a major operation to link the Firebase Cobra area to Deh Rawod.
Project coordinator: Richard Tanter
Additional research: Arabella imhoff
Updated: 26 October 2009