Buy This Book! "Violence of Action: The Untold Stories of the 75th Ranger Regiment in the War on Terror"
If you want to read accounts of American badasses with big hearts and even better senses of humor, then this is the book you should buy. It covers the history of the Rangers in the War on Terror - missions from the assaults into Iraq and Afghanistan, to Jessica Lynch, Rhino, Anaconda, Winter Strike, recovery missions, you name it. These are personal accounts, often humorous, that are all together for the first time, under one cover.
Here is a taste of Violence of Action...
...It was the night of November the 28th, and it was beginning to look like we would have a night off. Usually, if we didn’t have a mission by about seven in the evening, chances were we wouldn’t be going out at all that period of darkness. That night was a little different though, as the number one high value target in Iraq at the time came up on our radar. He was the leader of the Islamic State of Iraq (ISI), which was an Al-Qaeda front organization. This was one bad dude, and the intelligence that set this mission in motion was reporting that he and many other HVTs would be having a meeting at a wealthy Iraqi’s house in Al-Qaim, Iraq just outside of the Syrian border.
Since this mission came down so late in the evening, a lot more effort had to go into the planning process, especially since the target was a three-hour flight away. The decision was made that our platoon would be flying out in three MH-60 Blackhawk helicopters, and since we wouldn’t have time to walk in, we would be landing right on the ‘X’. The target building was rather large, so one squad would land to the front of the building just outside the courtyard walls, one squad (primary assault) would land right on the roof of the building, and the squad I was with would be landing to the rear of the building. This was a pretty big fish, and he reportedly always traveled with a well-armed security detail. The word was put out to expect a gunfight.
It was almost December, and as we stood on the flight line in Balad it became very clear to all of us that it would be a chilly ride out there. The birds started to spin up, and before long we were boarding the black special operations helicopters for the long journey west. Generally, the helicopters we ride to work on have the doors removed so that we can get off the bird faster, and also so we can fit more people in by having guys riding with their legs dangling out. In the wintertime it is too cold to fly without doors on though, but unfortunately for us the helicopter crews had not put them back on yet. This made for possibly one of the most miserable flights of my life. We had a three-hour flight ahead of us, and because of my position in the aircraft, I had the cold wind blowing directly into me the whole time. My hands were numb, my face was numb, I couldn’t move my legs, and I had snot frozen all over the right side of my face. I must have looked like a mess!
By the time we reached the refueling point that was the last (and only) stop on the way to the target building, I absolutely hated my life. Despite the miserable flight, I was still excited to be on this mission though, excited that we were going after public enemy number one in Iraq. This mission was the Ranger bread and butter – land on a high value targets house in the middle of the night to capture or, if he so chooses, kill him. Nowhere else in the military will you simultaneously love and hate your job as much as you do on any given day in a Ranger battalion.
After the brief stop to top off the gas tank, we were back in the air with just a short trip to the target building. I had checked and re-checked everything I was carrying, making sure I was ready for what would inevitably be a shootout when we landed. Before I knew it, the ‘sixty seconds’ call came, and we had the lights of Al-Qaim flashing by below us. My adrenaline began to pump ferociously and I prematurely located and grabbed onto the D-ring on the end of my safety line, which kept me safely inside the helicopter until I was ready to de-plane the aircraft. You don’t want to be frantically trying to un-hook when the bird is landing on the ‘X’ like we were tonight. My right hand on the pistol grip of my rifle and my left on the D-ring, the thirty-second call rang out. Here we go, I thought to myself, teeth beginning to grind together in anticipation. The bird began to flare and descend, and the brown out from the rotor wash that ensued was one of the worst I had ever seen. Suddenly and without warning, the helicopter jerked violently back up in the air just before landing. Fuck, I thought to myself, we must be taking fire! Maybe an RPG was shot at us? We were warned to expect them during the mission briefing. Shit just got real; please Lord, just let us get off this bird so we can fight!
Just as soon as we jerked back up in the air, we were coming down again what would be a block further away from the target building. I still had my left hand on the D-ring, and as I felt the helicopter jolt from landing, I pressed the gate of the D-ring open, releasing it from the floor and quickly shoved it in my left pocket while simultaneously jumping off the aircraft. Without missing a beat, we were in a full sprint towards the target building trying to cover the extra block we gained as fast as possible...