Battle of Samarra, 2004

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Battle of Samarra, 2004

Post by Ryan » Wed Apr 29, 2015 3:00 pm

"Hijacking your comment here. This is from the 2004 Battle of Samarra[1] . I was there. The conventional dudes you see at the dismount point (the ones with their unit patch blurred out) are New York Army National Guard, from an upstate Infantry Battalion. The special forces guys embedded with the Iraqi Commandos are US Army Special Forces (Green Berets), not Navy SEALs.

In June, 2004 the U.S. gave sovereignty back to Iraq. The city of Samarra said that they didn't want Americans in the city any more. AIF flocked to Samarra and slowly took it over (as well as other cities like Najaf and Fallujah). In late September, a police station was blown up. The next day, no Iraqi Police showed up for work anywhere in the city. The day after that, the city fell. On 01OCT04, the Iraqi Prime Minister authorized the Americans to assist the Iraqi Army to take back the city. The task fell to the 2nd Brigade of the 1st Infantry Division. The operation began on 02OCT04.

This video was from a nodal attack to seize the Golden Mosque on the morning of 2OCT04, just hours into what would become a 4-day fight. The purpose was to prevent the AIF from all over the city from using the Golden Mosque as an "Alamo" as they previously had done during the Battle of Najaf just weeks before. The city was surrounded, pounded by CAS and IDF, and then we went in.

I personally assaulted from the Southeast, leading another NYARNG platoon (not the one seen in this video - they came in from the northwest, paving the way for the Iraqi Commandoes). I was attached to an Armor BN from the 2BCT/1ID. We fought and cleared hundreds of houses. "

"The Iraqi Special Forces soldiers in this video are the 36th Commandos being led/trained by the US Special Forces 5th Group. I became friends with these guys when they were in Najaf in 2004 and got to shoot some amazing video of them training at FOB Duke for a couple of weeks.

When it came time for them to assault and retake the Imam Ali mosque from the Mehdi Militia in Najaf, they offered to let me come along for the ride. I got to sit with them first hand thru the planning stages of the mission and when they were ready to roll out the following day, they threw me a complete uniform (still hanging in my closet) and a brand new milled Bulgarian AK straight out of the crate.

Most of the 36th Commandos were Kurdish Peshmerga fighters and I had befriended one of their captains in the weeks leading up to the assault. Capt. Masood promised me that he'd protect me once we rolled on Najaf so I stuck close to him throughout the mission. It got pretty hairy for a while, but they finally managed to get the guys holding out in the mosque to surrender and they managed to retake it that day. I managed to sneak back on to the FOB with the guys and Capt. Masood gave me a gift that I still have to this day.

Earlier in the month, Donald Rumsfeld had presented Masood with a citation for bravery for his actions in Fallujah and gave him a mint condition nickel plated Tariq 9mm pistol to go with the citation (I have this pic somewhere, but can't find it at the moment). This was the gift that Masood gave me. I won't get into particulars, but I have it to this day.

Up until 2008, I ran into (now Major) Masood in various cities and bases throughout Iraq as we kept in touch and last year I invited him to come stay with me for a couple of weeks in the US and tour around a bit. For old times sake, we shot the Tariq pistol and shot a few of the other weapons I have in my collection. As you'll notice in the attached album, we're both a bit fatter these days and he's going bald, but we're still alive and kickin' and it seems like our days together in Najaf were yesterday. I can't believe it has been ten years already.

Maj. Masood is back in Kurdistan now directing their forces in fighting ISIS and was actually part of the recent assault on the Mosul dam. He's as badass as ever and we still speak at least once a week. He actually managed to get a dear friend of mine, his wife, and his kid across the border to safety in Kurdistan the other day after they'd been trapped in Samarra for months. Those folks are now in Turkey thanks to Masood and will soon be on the way to join me here in the US.

Now that I'm all nostalgic, I'm attaching an album of the planning for the assault, us rolling out, some insurgents we captured, some buddy pics, and a couple of us together here in the US. ENJOY!"

CQB-TEAM Education and Motivation.

"Pragmatism over theory."
"Anyone with a weapon is just as deadly as the next person."
"Unopposed CQB is always a success, if you wanted you could moonwalk into the room holding a Pepsi."

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