The first Det One Marines landed in Baghdad on April 6, 2004.  Fallujah had flared up only a short time before, with the killing and mutilation of the Blackwater contractors, and the Shi’a Sadrist rebellion was driving up from the south.  There was plenty of work to be done.

However, it wasn’t nearly as simple as getting on the ground and operating.  While the Det was working for SOCOM, the initial agreement between SOCOM and the Marine Corps was that the Det would be supported by the Marine Corps, not SOCOM.  However, the security situation on the roads around Baghdad had deteriorated to the point that the Marines were effectively cut off from I MEF.  They had to scrounge and beg from the NSW and Special Forces units they were stationed with.

Most of the counterintelligence Marines were farmed out to other elements of Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force Arabian Peninsula.  The Recon Element, now known as Task Unit Raider, remained intact in Baghdad.  While the vehicle, ammunition, and logistics situation got sorted out (which included the necessity of Capt. Matthew Kress having to go down to Kuwait to physically locate several cargo containers of ammunition that had gotten lost), Task Unit Raider trained, practicing CQB tactics and flow drills in structures of native construction.  Buildings in Iraq are made with different materials and rules than those in the states, and it was a new experience to many of the Marines.

Meanwhile, the operations section was working hard on targeting.  The Det’s chief purpose in Iraq was Direct Action: killing or capturing bad guys in fast raids.  But the first objective turned into a comedy of errors.