Thursday, August 25, 2005

Gates of Fire

Michael Yon, former Special Forces and author of Danger Close, is currently a free lance reporter in Iraq. Michael describes himself as “an independent, informed observer chronicling the monumentally important events in the efforts to stabilize Iraq. His dispatches have the benefit of his life experiences without drawbacks based on deadlines or demands of marketplace.”

Today Michael posted a report on an heroic and remarkable mission by an Army unit in Mosul. Hugh Hewitt read the entire piece on his radio show today and received calls from several friendsa and family members of the soldiers in the story.

Following are a few excerpts. Please go to Yon’s blog to read the whole thing and pass it on. It's a story that needs to be known.

Combat comes unexpectedly, even in war.

As a "surge" operation, Lancer Fury is sort of a crocodile hunt, where our people do things to make the crocodiles come out, trying to flush them into predictable directions, or make them take certain actions. And when they do, we nail them. The combat portion of the Surge amounted to a sophisticated "area ambush" that would unfold over the period of about one week.

Alpha Company had deployed during the early hours and was conducting operations around Yarmook Traffic Circle. SGT Daniel Lama, who is as much respected as he is liked, was pulling security in an air guard position of his Stryker, when a bullet flew straight at his neck, striking him. As he collapsed into the Stryker, his body clenched in seizure, fingers frozen, arms and legs rigid.

Bap bap bap! on my door. I jumped up and there was CSM Robert Prosser, the top enlisted soldier at Deuce Four. Prosser is always professional, always direct: "Sergeant Lama's been shot. We're rolling in ten minutes," he said.

Chaplain Wilson came out from the hospital smiling and explained that Daniel (Sergeant Lama) was fine. The seizure was just a natural reaction to getting shot in the neck. It was just a flesh wound. As if offering proof, Chaplain Wilson said: "When they rolled Daniel over, the doctor stuck his finger in Daniel's butt to check his prostate, and Daniel said, 'Hey! What are you doing?!'" Everybody laughed.

SGT Daniel Lama

We loaded the Strykers and headed downtown.

Automatic weapons fire started coming from at least two places. Bullets were kicking up the dust, and we got a radio call that troops were in contact at Yarmook Traffic Circle.

We were searching the area for the source of that automatic weapons fire when Commander Kurilla spotted three men in a black Opel and his sixth sense kicked. When Kurilla keyed in on them, he pointed his rifle at the car and signaled them to get out. The driver tucked his head and gunned the gas. The chase was on.

The car chase ended, but the men fled on foot up an alley. We approached in the Strykers and I heard Kurilla say on the radio, "Shots fired!" as he ducked for a moment then popped back up in the hatch. Kurilla continued, "I'm going to block the back door on the north side!"

LTC Kurilla began running in the direction of the shooting. He passed by me and I chased, Kurilla leading the way. There was a quick and heavy volume of fire. And then LTC Kurilla was shot. One bullet smashed through his femur, snapping his leg. His other leg was hit and so was an arm.

Kurilla was running when he was shot, but he didn't seem to miss a stride; he did a crazy judo roll and came up shooting.

LTC Kurilla

And then help arrived in the form of one man: CSM Prosser..............


Anonymous Pamela said...

I am in awe. I went to the Yon site and read the entire account.
Such courage...Kurilla..Prosser...
I was also stunned to hear that one of the terrorists had been caught,charged and a judge ordered him released in December! And that this happens alot.
Thanks, Billy for posting this story. The truth...

10:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow! This was riveting…I went to Yon’s blog and read the whole story of Aug. 25. Thanks Bill.

God bless our service men & women. They are the best and the bravest.


10:50 AM  
Anonymous Doc said...

Thanks for the link to Yanni's Blog. What a great read!!! I am alarmed about his comment concerning Iraqi courts allowing these murderers to walk. Very scarey thought. :-(

I know there are many great blogs written by embedded reporters, or by soldiers themselves. Is there a listing of these somewhere?

3:28 PM  
Anonymous maggie said...

I'm so proud of our young soldiers and recently heard one of my high school classmates is chief medical /multi-international officer in Iraq. It's nice to know we babyboomers are giving our young soldiers the best medical care possible too. Thanks Bill for you wonderful and always insightful thoughts and research ... mags

9:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

LOL! I was just going to ask you “what are Milblogs?” And then I figured it out! Miliary blogs…duh!


P.S. I emailed Michael Yon and got a response today from him thanking me for the kind words and picture.

12:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi - I trained in judo and karate for many years. I was looking for blogs having to do with judo and came across yours. Nice blog. I have my own have my own mixed style school now that offers most of the traditional judo techniques. Come have a look at it if you want.

8:24 PM  

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