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As I posted earlier with Captain Roger Crossland's excellent essay on the nature of heroism, we make a severe mistake when we only honor victimization in the war on terror. One particular criticism that can be made of the current administration is the lack of communication regarding the heroic efforts of our men and women under combat conditions, not through their death or wounding but through their extraordinary actions under fire to win the war -- which should be the point of their being under fire in the first place.
Today I received an e-mail from Peyton Randolph, a regular reader and an officer in the inactive Reserve who currently works with the Army as a contractor, stateside. Peyton sent me an e-mail that the Army released earlier which demonstrates the quick action and bravery that American armed forces demonstrate under fire. Perhaps by reading about their courage, we can brace ourselves as well for the effort needed to win the war against Islamofascist terror. I am starting a new category, Heroes, on Captain's Quarters for stories such as these.
...I met yesterday outside Najaf with a 1LT from the Iron Dukes of 2-37 Armor who as tank company XO was leading a convoy of two platoons of tanks on HETs [heavy equipment transporters - Ed] from Al Kut in the east to Najaf in the west, a distance of about 175KM. As they passed through the town of Diwaniyah, they were ambushed by a group of insurgents--undoubtedly former regime soldiers with some military training--with RPGs, heavy machine guns, and AK-47s. The Task Force Scouts had passed through only 30 minutes earlier without contact, so this was a well planned ambush of probably 50 or so organized in two and three man teams.
The convoy suffered three soldiers KIA in the initial moments of the ambush--one Iron Duke, one 2ACR cavalry trooper, and one transportation officer. The convoy immediately returned fire. They had several HUMMWVs in escort, and the tanks on the back of the HETs were manned with loaders and TCs on crew served weapons. Within minutes of the ambush, one of the HETs was disabled, and the Lieutenant realized he would have to stand and fight to ensure he had everyone. The Iron Dukes "broke chains" as they described it, by essentially driving off the back of the HETs under fire to engage the enemy. In the course of the next hour, they fought their way out of Diwaniyah employing every weapon available to them including main gun. They got everyone and everything out with the exception of one HET. Enemy BDA was 30 killed and an unknown number wounded.
A day after this fight, I received an email from CPT Thomas Moore, of the 1175th Transportation, who was the convoy commander. He wrote: "were it not for the courage and actions under fire of the 2ACR and 2-37 soldiers that day, he is certain all his men would have been killed." He asked me if he and his soldiers engaged in that fight with us could wear the 1AD combat patch. I told him I'd be honored.
There are many such stories of courage under fire and just as many stories of incredible compassion to the innocent...
Continuing mission, sir.
To recap: an American convoy was ambushed by well-trained Saddam remnants near Diwaniyah while transporting tanks and weaponry through the area. While being ambushed, the unit managed to unload the tanks from the transports under fire and not only return fire, but essentially wipe out their ambushers, at a loss ratio to the remnants of 10-1, almost unbelievable for an ambush action. By standing and slugging it out, the unit not only survived but delivered a terrible defeat to the enemy.
As the author of this e-mail notes, this is one aspect of what we do in Iraq to win the war. For another strategy involving the military, see this post, and for a longer and more detailed view from a contractor (a friend of mine), see this post.
Addendum: Peyton disagrees with me about the "repositioning" of Marines around Fallujah and expects a sudden change to occur soon:
The Marines haven't gone anywhere - they've pulled back and redeployed from a few secured areas, replaced by the "Falujah Security Brigade." Given the American and international press' inclination to report bad news, the Marines have just let them call it as they see it. I see it as the greatest deception plan ever. No disinformation necessary, just let the press spin things as they will. I expect the Marines to open a huge can of whoop-ass on the whole northern part of the city, and it could happen at any time. Night time is most likely, in my opinion. Place your bets and whack the refresh button on Fox News.
I hope you're right, Peyton -- I'd be glad to buy Mitch Berg a beer if so.Sphere It View blog reactions
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