The Shotgun Blog
Saturday, November 27, 2004
Letter from Fallujah
Mike is an Army officer serving in Task Force 2-7 CAV.
After 12 hours of massive air strikes, Task Force 2-7 got the green light and was the first unit to enter the city. There is a big train station on the city's northern limit, so the engineers cleared a path with some serious explosives and our tanks led the way. While this was happening, my intelligence shop was flying our own UAV to determine where the enemy was. It is a very small plane that is launched by being thrown into the air. We flew it for 6 hours and reported grids to the tanks and bradleys of where we saw insurgents on the roof and moving in the street---so our soldiers knew where the enemy was, before they even got to the location.
We crossed the train station just before midnight and led the way for the Marines by killing everything we could in our way. It took our tanks and brads until 10 am the next day to get 2 miles into the city. They killed about 200 insurgents in the process and softened the enemy for the Marines. 5 of our soldiers were wounded in this first 10 hours, but we accomplished our part of the plan.
The Marines' mission was to follow TF 2-7 and fight the enemy by clearing from building to building. A lot of the insurgents saw the armored vehicles and hid. They waited for the Marines to come and took their chances by fighting them since the Marines weren't protected by armor like we were. In that first day of fighting, the Marines took 5 x KIA and many more wounded, but they also did their job very well. Along the way, they found HUGE caches of weapons, suicide vests, and many foreign fighters. They also found unbelievable amounts of drugs, mostly heroin, speed, and cocaine. It turns out, the enemy drugged themselves up to give them the "courage" and stupidity to stay and fight.
The enemy tried to fight us in "the city of mosques" as dirty as they could. They fired from the steeples of the mosques and the mosques themselves. They faked being hurt and then threw grenades at soldiers when they approached to give medical treatment. They waived surrender flags, only to shoot at our forces 20 seconds later when they approached to accept their surrender.
In Fallujah, the enemy had a military-type planning system going on. Some of the fighters were wearing body armor and kevlars, just like we do. Soldiers took fire from heavy machine guns (.50 cal) and came across the dead bodies of fighters from Chechnya, Syria, Libya, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Afghanistan, and so on...no, this was not just a city of pissed off Iraqis, mad at the Coalition for forcing Saddam out of power. It was a city full of people from all over the Middle East whose sole mission in life was to kill Americans. Problem for them is that they were in the wrong city in November 2004.
The regular citizens of Fallujah are getting financial assistance to help rebuild damaged homes or lost possessions, and 100 million has been set aside to help in the general reconstruction.
The intelligence value alone is already paying huge dividends. Some of the 900 detainees are telling everything they know about other insurgents. And the enemy never expected such a large or powerful attack and they were so overwhelmed that they left behind all kinds of things, including books with names of other foreign fighters, where their money and weapons come from, etc.
Read the whole thing.
Posted by Kate McMillan on November 27, 2004 | Permalink
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Outstanding, Kate. With all the excellent blogs and emails by participants, we've already got a pretty good oral history of the Fallujah action. Meanwhile, the old media are still hoping for a quagmire or major disaster for American forces.
Posted by: Charles MacDonald | 2004-11-27 8:57:02 AM
Just heard about the latest "quagmire" on the radio news tonight. Here is the order in which the facts were presented:
FIRST: a handful of Iraqis are protesting that they want the election delayed
SECOND: campaign posters are starting to appear in Baghdad
THIRD: preparations are under way for the first free election in over 50 years
Don't be surprised if you hear something like this some day:
FIRST: the mayor is asking everyone to turn off all lights in their house so as not to waste electricity and contribute to global warming
SECOND: all people should pack their cars and leave town in the next 24 hours
THIRD: a huge asteroid is headed directly for your city
Posted by: Justzumgai | 2004-11-27 8:32:44 PM
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