Baen Books
God & Man in Iraq

Saving Private Ali - The Rest of the Story

Blackfive here.  Below is a story that was sent first by Scott M. that is now making the email rounds.  It's about the difference between a story and the whole story.  First, the story.  Then, the soldier's view of events in the Extended Section.  The soldier is a medic and will make you all very, very proud. 

It's worth your time.

Iraqi, U.S. Soldiers Detain Terror Suspects, Secure Weapons Caches
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Jan. 12, 2006 – Iraqi and U.S. soldiers detained terror suspects and seized weapons caches in operations throughout Iraq yesterday and today, military officials reported today.

Soldiers from the 1st Battalion, 6th Iraqi Army Division, detained a suspected terrorist and discovered a weapons cache during an early morning raid north of Baghdad today. U.S. troops from Task Force Ironhorse, a military training team with the 4th Battalion, 320th Field Artillery Regiment, supported the Iraqi soldiers. The soldiers took fire from the insurgents, but quickly suppressed the firefight and captured a suspected terrorist.

The Iraqi soldiers also discovered a wide variety of weapons, including improvised explosive devices, mortar tubes, mortar rounds, rocket propelled grenade launchers and rounds, AK-47 assault rifles, rockets and rocket launchers, grenades a machine gun, C-4 explosives, TNT, a 152mm round, a tazer, and Iraqi Army uniforms and ID cards.

Iraqi troops in Ramadi and Ubaydi secured hidden enemy weapons caches yesterday, officials said.

Soldiers from the 1st Battalion, 1st Brigade, 7th Iraqi Army Division, found two caches during west of Ramadi and Mulaab. Soldiers from the 3rd Battalion, 1st Brigade, 1st Iraqi Army Division, found two caches west of Ubaydi.

The caches included a radio base station, a 9-volt battery, a washing machine timer, blasting caps, small-arms munitions, mortar and rocket rounds, hand grenades, artillery rounds, an AK-47 assault riffle, a bolt-action rifle and seven empty AK-47 magazines, officials said.

The caches were turned over to the authorities for disposal. No injuries or damage were reported.

Meanwhile, in northern Iraq, U.S. soldiers detained 21 suspected terrorists while finding three weapons caches yesterday in Tal Afar and Mosul through tips by local Iraqis and by U.S. troop actions, officials said.

The raid in Tal Afar against a suspected terrorist cell took place just after midnight and involved soldiers from the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment. The soldiers found mortar rounds, small-arms ammunition and a home-made mine. Seven men were detained at the site, officials said. Two raids in Mosul involved soldiers from the 172nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, who captured eight suspected terrorists. One of the suspects is believed to have conducted mortar attacks on nearby civilian targets, officials said.
A tip yesterday from two Mosul residents who believed they had found an improvised explosive device led to the discovery anti-tank mines and an artillery round. The residents tipped of the Iraqi police, who then searched the area. An Iraqi explosive ordnance disposal team responded and found the hidden contraband, officials said.

Also yesterday, soldiers from the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division, captured three suspected terrorists near a weapons cache in the Tikrit area. The cache had mortar rounds and rockets and was discovered near an area where numerous rocket and mortar attacks had originated, officials said.

Finally, an ineffective rocket attack against a base near Balad led to the capture of three terrorist suspects yesterday. Soldiers from the 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, stopped the suspects' vehicle after coalition aircraft observed them the suspects trying to flee the area, officials said.

(Compiled from Multinational Force Iraq, Multinational Security Transition Command Iraq and Task Force Ironhorse news releases.)

Saving Private Ali

I have finally been cleared by my S-2 to tell you this......

A few nights ago I was going through my usual routine. I retired to my little corner of my room sectioned off by three ponchos for some privacy. I had finally changed into my pt's and had planned on relaxing for a bit and maybe do some reading. After about an hour into a book, the Battle captain comes into our room and tells me that we have a mission in 30 minutes. I do not bother to ask what it is, I do what is necessary to prepare for the mission. I gear up....make a pot of coffee (good coffee which Tony from Boulder sent....thanks bro) and head outside to to some PCI's on the soldiers.

We received our convoy brief and were told that our Iraqi counterparts on the other side of the wall had some intel on an Al Qaeda cell in the the local town. The rest of the NCO's gave each other the "another dry hole" look, but did what every good NCO does and put on their game faces, and made the soldiers do the same. We got in our 1114's and rolled to the other side of the wall to the Iraqi side of the FOB. We were met by the Iraqi "SF" (not anything close to SF mind you). I looked at their medic to be sure he was ready for the mission. I asked him to open his bag so I could do a PCI on him. As I opened it I saw nothing. I saw some open bandages and just useless crap. I asked him through an interpreter where the supplies I had gave him the other day was. He responded that he used them on his buddies. I knew that was crap because I track all their casualties, and they had had none in the past few days. At least nothing that required the supplies that I gave him. I always come prepared so I just told him to go to his truck. I really didn't expect what was to come in the next four hours.

I saw them lead this man out of the holding facility. He was in hand cuffs, and there was a sack over his head. They put him in the lead vehicle and we took off following our Iraqi counter parts. We drove on for what seemed like too long. I had noticed that we passed the same houe four times. I noted to the TC of the vehicle making a joking reference to National lampoons European Vacation "Look kids Big Ben". Then I noticed that it was all wrong. Why were we circling the block several times. There is no element of surprise with the obvious diesel sound of a 1114 Hmmmv. If there was anything to happen in this neighborhood then whoever we were to encounter was preparing for us. We stopped at a "T" intersection and did our usual checks and remained on the alert. Five minutes after we had stopped we heard automatic gunfire. I saw several of my team mates moving back to their vehicles. The automatic gunfire strated hitting the lead 1114.

Nothing was happening thanks to the armor plating. I then saw what motivates any soldier. One rarely gets to see a .50 caliber used in a fight, but I did. This baby rock and rolled. That brave PFC put him self up out of the 1114 and peppered the building with gunfire. I heard the usual chaos that ensued over the radio. The calling of grids, and reports of contact. I then heard that there was an Iraqi down. I was in the third vehicle and over the radio I heard " Doc stay put". I think the Major knew I was going to get out. The .50 ran out of ammo so they pulled my truck up to the support by fire position to lay down fire with the 240B. I exited from the opposite side and moved over to the casualty who had an Iraqi medic kneeling over him. The medic was crying and had this horrified look on his face. I yelled at him to get to work but he just stood there frozen.

Rounds started hitting the pavement near us, and he did the expected. He ran. So I was left alone with this wounded Iraqi. I dragged him behind the Hmmmv for some cover and started some treatment on him. He had the "Paper Mate Pen" sized hole just below his right nipple, and a hole the size of a can of copenhagen as the exit wound. After I stabilized him, I saw that they had dragged two more casualties to the previous spot. I ran to them and again all alone (my team was laying suppressive fire and they were keeping the fire off of me).

Then there was this one Iraqi soldier his name is Ali Jassem Ali. He is an SF soldier. He came to help me. I pointed to a court yard about 25 meters away that had a metal gate and a high fence that made good cover, and a good casualty collection point. He helped me drag the two wounded Iraqis into the courtyard. I began the necessary treatment on the wounede, when one more came. I assessed him and noticed that they started taking the wounded that I was treating and put them in to the back of pick up trucks and were hauling them off.

I was working on my fifth casualty when I looked at his face and it was Ali. I felt crushed. I told him in my best butchered Arabic that I was going to treat him and I promised that he would be ok. He had two gun shot wounds to his chest. I treated them quickly and did some vitals....good vitals, he was a strong man. They hauled him off quickly and took him away. When the fight was over and I left the courtyard I saw the bodies in the back of a pickup. Four Iraqi soldiers stacked there like cord wood. In the back seat lied the body of the informant...oh well inshallah.

We hit the mother load. Four members of the cell were dead and one captured. The Cache we recovered was enormous. Hundreds of AK's, Hundreds of RPG rockets and launchers....C-4, electronic IED making materials. Good stuff.

The next day I wanted to check and see how the casualties were doing. I went to the Iraqi S-2 and was told that they were in an Iraqi hospital in medical city as they call it. They knew that four of the five were doing well, but Ali took a turn for the worse. I spoke to his brother through a translator and asked what was going on . He told me that the Iraqi medical facility was a butcher shop. His brother had lied there without care for the entire night and he didn't think that he was going to be seen. I spoke to my Major and had a plan. He laughed and approved. I told Hammid to go to the hospital and "snatch" his brother and bring him back to the FOB. HE gave a puzzled look, I told him to trust me. An hour later they arrived. Ali in the back of the car looking like death. I took him out of the vehicle and put him on a litter. I looked at Hammid, smiled and winked. I made the shape of a gun with my right finger and said pow and looked at my buddies and said "MAN DOWN" call in a medevac bird. I removed the dressings I had put on the night before and put on new ones. The medevac bird came and I doctored the paperwork a little and said that the wound had just happened. He took Ali away and they flew off. He was now in the hands of the Americans. He will be ok.

As I spoke to the rest of my team at the evenings BUB. The major apologized to me that he couldn't write up any paperwork on the incident because of how I handled it. He approved of the way I did it, I had to improvise. This soldier covered my "6" when all of his buddies ran. Due to his bravery we recovered a major arms cache that was going to be used against the Americans. I told him "so what sir if they find out what is the worst they can do......send me home?" Besides I don't need anymore medals. The look of trust on the Iraqi soldiers faces told it all. They knew we are for real and we will fight side by side with them. They still need us over here. I saw it myself when several ran, but eventually went back to their posts when they saw the dicipline and bravery of the americans. Were making progress.....slowly but were doing it.

Doc D. out......
-101st Combatmedic