War Stories: Operation Iraqi Freedom
Oliver L. North
Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
contact, insert reconnaissance patrols deep into enemy territory, and evacuate casualties. That means their “Frogs,” or “Phrogs”—the nickname Marines gave to the twin-rotor CH-46 Sea Knight helicopters nearly forty years ago—must be constantly maintained. Right now, in the middle of a sandstorm, that’s difficult at best. After the PAO security briefing, Griff and I walk over to the flight line and find Marine maintenance technicians wearing gas masks so that they can work on aircraft in
the rear of the ready room tent, drafting the most difficult correspondence anyone ever has to write: letters from a commander to the relatives of his dead Marines. Having had to write such missives myself, I know exactly how he feels. The burden of command is never heavier than at a time such as this. The flight north to where the 5th Marines are engaged is unremarkable. Flying a CH-46 at thirty to fifty feet over the desert at better than one hundred knots is certainly challenging to the pilot
“hit” on Hannity & Colmes. As usual, once the tiny video transceiver locks into New York’s signal, those who want to catch up on the war news surround us. For those of us watching from Iraq, there is a telling difference between the reports coming from embedded journalists over here and the armchair admirals, barroom brigadiers, and sound-bite “special forces” pontificating about the war from New York, Atlanta, Washington, and London. The journalists traveling with the coalition forces seem to
overcast, but the storm is obviously blowing itself out. As the ceiling lifts and visibility improves slightly, a UH1N comes hovering down the road at about twenty knots, looking for fuel. Lt. Col. Stroehman directs the bird to land next to a fuel truck and tells the pilot, Maj. Tim Kolb, about the plight of our wounded corporal. Maj. Kolb instantly agrees to take him down to Tallil. We carry Frank to the Huey in the litter on which he had lain since we picked him up more than thirty hours ago.
dissent inside Iraq, and eliminating any threats posed by the increasing numbers of Iraqi exiles living overseas. The RCC also went on an international arms shopping spree. At the Ministry of Defense in Baghdad, Baath Party officials—not military officers—decided among competing bids from Soviet, Yugoslav, French, Belgian, and Italian arms brokers. By 1974, the Iraqi military was, on paper, one of the most powerful in the world. When the Kurds began to agitate for the autonomy promised in the