If you want to catch a terrorist you have to locate him first, and the one place you know for a fact that he will be, is at is his own wedding.
By 2009, insurgents and terrorists in Iraq had gotten fairly wily. For years, the U.S. Special Operations Task Force had been churning through the enemy. I played a small part in that endeavor in 2005, as a Corporal in 3rd Ranger Battalion. We rolled outside the wire and into Mosul almost every night, often times conducting multiple direct action raids during a single period of darkness, before refitting and preparing to do it all over again.
I decided to make the jump to Special Forces, and by 2009 I was the Senior Weapons Sergeant in an ODA in 5th Special Forces Group, and back in my old stomping grounds in Mosul. The problem was that the enemy had learned from their engagements with U.S. Special Operations Forces, and took increasingly sophisticated measures to try to trip us up and avoid our raids. So, when we found out that a big name terrorist was getting married, and where the marriage would be held, a lot of uncertainty was taken out of the equation. This clown-shoes-wearing moron had to be at his own damn wedding.
We rolled into Mosul that afternoon in our Humvees, heading towards the target house. One difference between my time with the Ranger Regiment and my new job was that, as a Special Forces team, we were always partnered with our Iraqi counter-parts, in this case a SWAT team from nearby Tal Afar. With a platoon-sized element of Iraqis, our ODA snaked our vehicles through the flooded back alleys of Mosul.
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Small world Jack. I was a SAW gunner in Tal Afar right before you guys crashed the party. All of A co 1/5IN would have given anything to unfuck that city the way you guys did.
NicholasP That's awesome, I'm sure we worked with a lot of the same people. We're definitely lucky to have walked out of there intact. In 2005 my platoon got back but with WIA's, not KIA's. In 2009 we did pretty good despite hitting one IED. My Jr. Bravo got knocked out but was good to go.
Great story, I served on an ODA in Mosul 2006-07 and it was game on every single day. We also used the Ninawa SWAT as our host nation partner force. I found them to be a great bunch of guys, fearless and reliable. I would love to hear more stories from Mosul. I find it ironic that the city David Petraeus once declared a 'model' of success in 2003 would still be a hotbed of ISI insurgent activity well into 2013. In 2006, we pleaded for more resources as ISI and AQ fighters began relocating to Mosul after being forced out of their hideouts further south due to the troop surge. Follow the path of least resistance and after the removal of the Strykers to Baghdad the city was ripe for insurgents. How we never lost a man or got blown up I'll honestly never know. Thanks for the great article.
engelbrad When things slow down, I'll try to hook up with you guys and chat, soon. I miss my little mafia.
Nail your bride in private PATs...LOL.... It's story time again!... God bless both of you and keep safe!