On December 13, 2003, at 2030 hours local time, HVT #1, Saddam Hussein, was found and captured in the town of ad-Dawr, Iraq, by a joint service and combined arms force of nearly 600 soldiers, sailors, and airmen from various conventional and special operations elements.  Operation Red Dawn, one of the largest man hunts in history, was executed by 1st Brigade Combat Team (4th Infantry Division) and Joint Special Operations Command Task Force 121 — which itself consisted of personnel from Delta Force, 75th Ranger Regiment, and 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment, DEVGRU, the CIA’s Special Activities Division, AFSOC and the Aviation Tactics Evaluation Group, and the Joint Communications Unit; with armor support from 4th Infantry Division.

The operation was clearly named after the 1984 film.  So much so, that the two objective sites in the operation were named “Wolverine 1” and “Wolverine 2” in homage to the group of teenage resistance fighters.  Operation Red Dawn was commanded by MG Raymond Odierno, commanding general of 4ID, with the ground force command given to COL James Hickey, also of 4ID.

The two objective sites were located outside of the town of ad-Dawr; itself located south of the city of Tikrit. Tikrit was Saddam’s hometown. Indeed, his family name was actually al-Tikriti. Saddam did not resist capture. And although he did receive a butt-stroke to the head, was captured unharmed.

This capture was, of course, the culmination of months of work by United States and coalition forces.  However, Operation Red Dawn itself was initiated in July, 2003.  The scope of the Operation managed to find focus on December 1, 2003, when HUMINT collected the name of Saddam’s right-hand man — known to TF 121 as “The Fatman.”  This intelligence led to the interrogations of dozens of Saddam’s family members.  A raid on December 12, 2003, revealed even more intelligence.  Between family interrogations, the 12DEC raid, further intelligence gathered from former Ba’ath Party members, and Signal Intelligence gathered by the Intelligence Support Activity… Wolverine 1 and Wolverine 2 were ascertained.