With everyone praising Delta Force and the rest of the assault force for the killing of the leader of ISIS, it’s worth taking a moment and reflecting the operations and sacrifices that have led to this moment.

Delta has led the campaign against ISIS since 2015, either by conducting surgical raids or unconventional warfare in partnership with the Kurds.

The following helmet camera footage shows the hostage rescue operation that Delta Force and its Kurdish SOF partners conducted on October 22, 2015. The joint assault force rescued approximately 70 hostages who were facing imminent execution by their ISIS captors. The prison was located near the town of Hawija, Iraq.

The footage shows the later phases of the operation, where the assault force subdues the last remnants of enemy fighters, shepherds the hostages, and begins the critical Sensitive Site Exploitation (SSE) process.

In the initial phase of the mission, Delta shooter Master Sergeant Joshua Wheeler was killed as he led the way into the heavily defended building. He became the first of two casualties Delta has suffered in its campaign against ISIS. Master Sergeant John Dunbar is the second.

A number of Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) sources with intimate knowledge of the operation spoke to SOFREP about that fateful night.  What they described is a story of leadership and bravery under fire.

Intelligence indicated that the prisoners were facing imminent execution after freshly dug mass graves were spotted in the compound’s perimeter.  Discovering this, the Kurds were adamant to go in even without American forces (the U.S. didn’t have a real stake in assaulting the compound). They thus took the mission lead. The plan that the Kurds came up with, however, was below average and would have resulted in a catastrophe if it hadn’t been for the tactful recommendations of their Delta partners.

The Unit agreed to accompany the Kurd assault force, and the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (160th SOAR) chipped in the air transport. But once on target, the Delta operators were supposed to stay back and let the Kurds breach and clear the target. The compound was surrounded by a wall. Behind the wall, there were a number of buildings. One of those buildings contained the hostages.