It was now day five for our Sniper/Recon team, which consisted of me (sniper), “P” as my spotter, and four reconnaissance Rangers.  We had been gathering intelligence and tracking a high-value target behind enemy lines in southern Afghanistan for the past four days.  With the intel we had gathered, we sent up our reports to an assault force consisting of 30 Rangers, and chose to conduct an operation to capture or kill the H.V.T located in a small compound near our location.

My team met up with the assault force early in the afternoon on the fifth day.  After a quick operations order, we decided to make our movement under the cover of darkness to the targeted location.  As the sun fell beneath the Afghanistan horizon, our element set out on a foot movement that would total 10 kilometers over rough terrain and through small villages.  The movement seemed to my team a lot further – we had been awake for 4 and a half days carrying 70-100 pounds of gear and only managing to take 15 to 30 minute cat naps every now and then.   Thanks to the training we had stateside, we knew what our bodies were capable of, even in the worst of conditions.

The assault force would conduct the actual raid, and capture or kill the target, while my team of six would break off one kilometer short of the target and provide an over watch/blocking position.  The position we were set in was surrounded by one-foot tall vegetation and small two-foot deep depressions scattered throughout a large field, not an ideal place, to be but it was the best that we could do.  Noticing the depressions in the area, I signaled to the rest of the men that it would be a fallback position if things went sour.

As we lay in the prone, concealing ourselves to the best of our ability beneath the vegetation, the remaining assault force set up in positions around the target building preparing to conduct a breach.  Observing the environment around our position, I noticed a group of men gathering around a small hut less than two hundred yards away.  It seemed like they were in what appeared to be a football style huddle discussing their next play on an offensive drive.