Skip to comments.U.S., Iraqis neutralize enemy, save lives
Posted on 02/04/2007 8:35:30 AM PST by SandRat
CAMP ADDER Thirty seconds. Within a short sliver of time, a dozen U.S. soldiers, conducting a routine convoy operation, endured an engagement with the enemy under the Baghdad twilight, quickly and safely quashed the threat with a textbook reaction, and came away with a war story they will be able to take home and tell to their grandkids one day.
Answering to the radio call sign "Earthpig 66," the 12 members of the 2nd Combined Arms Battalion, 136th Infantry Regiment convoy logistics patrol team regularly escort supply trucks and other vehicles to and from countless locations throughout Iraq.
During the evening hours of Jan. 7, the team hit the road from Camp Taji for a convoy that would take them about 200 miles in the southeast direction. Only a few hours into an otherwise routine mission, they encountered the first of many obstacles the night had in store for them.
"At approximately 10 p.m., we came up on an (improvised explosive device) in the middle of the road," said Staff Sgt. Steven Davis, convoy commander.
After securing the area they heard a loud explosion to the west of their position, Davis said.
"(Then), we had an Iraqi Army convoy come up that had stopped about 50 meters behind us, roughly," said Davis, a native of Owatonna, Minn. "Our rear gunner could see people running around their vehicles, and he called me up to let me know what was going on."
The gunner, Spc. Alexander Jimenez of Tacoma, Wash., said the Iraqi soldiers were telling him they had at least two of their own soldiers who were dead and an unknown amount of wounded after being hit by an IED and coming under rifle fire. Davis sent his No. 3 vehicle to the rear to assess the scene.
"They had a lot of guys with gunshot and shrapnel wounds," said Sgt. Josh Day, noncommissioned officer in charge of the convoy. "I told them to bring their wounded up to us because we weren't going to run around to the back of their convoy; we needed to secure our own."
Day instructed an Iraqi Army captain to split the injured soldiers into two groups, "which ones were worse or better." He then told his medic, Pfc. Joshua Livingston, they were going to have to call in a few helicopters and execute a small-scale medical evacuation for what they thought was only a few people.
"From there, it just escalated into a mass casualty evacuation - like that," said Day, with a quick snap of his fingers. "They just kept coming. They had wounded that were being carried by other Iraqi army. They were bringing trucks up that had even more wounded in them and a lot more who were dead."
With the increasingly complex situation, the rear Humvee in the convoy was immediately called to provide assistance. The driver, Spc. Steven Rockwell, a second medic in the Earthpig 66 patrol and a native of Cookville, Tenn. began administering medical care and helping with the evacuation.
Less than an hour after the convoy stopped, an EOD team destroyed both the improvised explosive device and an additional explosive device. Establishing a landing zone for the incoming aircraft and continuing the medical evacuation were the next priorities, Day said.
"We had already triaged all the patients who were getting ready to be medically evacuated," said Livingston. "The first two helicopters were on the ground, so we immediately started loading the injured. At that time, I think one of the Iraqi soldiers was yelling that a truck pulled up. He yelled, 'Enemy!' and he notified us that we had an unidentified vehicle in the area."
The vehicle had been creeping up from the side of the road. Shortly after being spotted, someone exited the truck and began running toward the convoy and firing, said Cpl. Aaron Glasscock, a gunner from Opelousas, La.
"I started popping flares in the vicinity of where they had seen the truck," said Glasscock. "We started taking fire, and bullets were impacting all around the truck. I saw one guy, an insurgent, moving about 75 meters in front of me. He was firing and moving up closer to our position. That's when I opened up with my M-240 machine gun. I fired maybe a 40-round burst. As soon as I did that, I noticed a building about 25 meters in front of where I engaged the first enemy," continued Glasscock. "Small-arms fire and muzzle flashes were coming out of the windows, so I immediately turned my weapon and started engaging the building. At about the same time, the Iraqi army guys on the ground saw where our tracer rounds were flying and about 30 or 40 of them started opening fire on the same building."
Glasscock fired a single shot from his M203 grenade launcher, which ended the enemy's engagement after about half a minute, and a cease-fire was called. One Iraqi soldier was slightly wounded during the fire fight.
"In a matter of seconds, the threat was completely neutralized," said Day. "At that point, we started right back up with our medical evacuation sequence. We advised the medevac team that we were not receiving any more fire. The landing zone was clear for them to return."
A total of 12 Iraqi casualties were evacuated to a nearby medical treatment facility, Livingston said. Communication with the Iraqi Army went really smooth throughout the ordeal. Everyone involved was organized and coordinated, he said.
Many of the 2-136th soldiers also lauded their Iraqi counterparts for the quick and decisive way they reacted during the fire fight, despite the fact that several of them were already injured from the previous attack.
The Iraqi soldiers were tough said Glasscock. "They had one truck that rolled up with bullet holes in the doors. The guy who was sitting on that side, he got out and he had matching bullet holes all up and down his body. He got out of the truck and stood up. He lifted his shirt to show us he had been hit, but he said he was OK."
Asked how his soldiers handled the attack, 1st Sgt. Joseph Persing, the TC in the scout truck, said it "was kind of a remarkable deal." "It was a basic situation when it first started and it turned into a complex situation, which they handled very well," said Persing, a native of Heron Lake, Minn. "It was something that you only train on a little bit, but when we were put in the actual situation it appeared to me that it was like second nature." Day echoed the remark, saying he was "highly impressed" with the way the other soldiers in his company reacted.
"It was instinct over feelings," said Day. "We had a situation, we had a lot of wounded, we needed security, but we still had our primary mission to complete."
Close to 11:30 p.m., the convoy was back on the road. The remainder of the trip was without incident. Day said the attack hasn't done anything to set his team back or slow them down. He said they are being totally proactive and taking the event as a learning experience.
"We had a traumatic event, but it goes on all over theater," said Day. "Everybody who runs missions outside the wire will eventually have to deal with something similar to what we experienced. We're part of the big plan in this country, so we can't just say, 'Hey, we did our good deed.' We've still got an important piece of the puzzle to finish. We have just got to keep going."
A good read and a good job.
This makes sitting in your living room on a Sunday afternoon take on a different feel.
God bless our troops.
Glasscock fired a single shot from his M203 grenade launcher, which ended the enemy's engagement after about half a minute, and a cease-fire was called.
OH NO! I hope he advised them of their rights under the Geneva convention.
Good news from Iraq . . !!?????
But . . . but . . . but . . the MSM tells us we are LOSING in Iraq? How can this be??
/sarc for those who don't recognize it