As an antidote to The New Republic fairy tale we posted the other day, there’s an enthralling story, told in the cadences of military-ese, at the blog, In From the Cold. It recounts the outstanding success of the first Airborne Reconnaissance Squadron’s recent operation to secure an area north of Baqubah that was held by the ISI – Islamic State of Iraq.
Here’s a snip of the operational summary that Spook 86 posted:
On 11 July 2007 Bravo (Strike Force 300) 5-73 CAV moved to the FOB Warhorse Helicopter landing zone during hours of limited visibility to stage on Black Hawk (UH-60) and Chinook (CH-47) helicopters for the Air Assault Raid on Objectives Red, White, and Blue.
The target was an Al Qaeda in Iraq (AQIZ) safe haven north of Baqubah, and east of Khalis, Iraq. Intelligence was developed primarily through local Iraq civilians. Shias and Sunnis directed us to this area, which was once a peaceful tribal farm land, but now overrun by Wahabbi extremists under the Islamic State of Iraq (ISI).
Having given the target, the summary goes on to explain the mission, purpose, and concept of the operation…again, in perfect military-ese. Too bad the editors at TNR didn’t immerse themselves in some after-action reports or operation summaries before deciding to run with the stories from “Scott Thomas.” Background reading in an unfamiliar field is a good way to discern the credibility of your author.
Again, from the summary:
We cleared from house to house, chicken coops, canals, and palm groves rooting out the enemy and forcing them into our planned kill zone. Along the way we discovered three large caches of RPGs, Heavy Machine Guns, AK-47’s, AQIZ propaganda, Iraqi Army/ police radios, military uniforms and over 17 IEDs. The significance of the IED cache is that they are unable to put them on the street, which equals saving coalition and Iraqi lives.
Through the night into the early morning we fought the enemy, dominating them with impunity…
– – – – – – – – – –
The end result was we killed 29 AQIZ fighters, captured 23, and most importantly saved eight severely tortured civilians being held captive. The hostages told us that they had been sentenced by the Islamic State of Iraq to be executed later that day, and we saved them from certain death. All eight hostages who were from all over Iraq are now safely at home with their loved ones.
The pride and sense of accomplishment shines through, doesn’t it? Go to Spook’s post and read about Bravo Troop 5-73 CAV, 82nd ABN DIV’s part in Operation Ithaca.
The beginning section, which covers how this cadre was formed, is interesting for the description of the leeway officers were given to choose personnel and have them train together extensively. One of the lessons learned from Vietnam was that soldiers are not mere ciphers, to be inserted and removed without affecting the whole group. You can’t move them in and out of the field of battle willy-nilly with no regard for the integrity and morale of the men involved. That was a hard-won lesson, a lesson many individual soldiers in Vietnam paid for dearly. It is encouraging to see that experience being drawn upon today.
Thanks to Spook for the story, which was given to family members of the troops and thus made its way to him.
As I said in the beginning, this is the antidote to TNR. You won’t read it in Time or WaPo, will you?