War Stories: Kirkuk


    The radio transmission we received told us not to engage any target west of the base of the Kani Domlan ridgeline. I asked for authentication due to the fact we had been pounding this ridgeline and the Iraqi troops on it for a few weeks with airstrikes. The order was authenticated and myself and my commo sergeant looked at each other and shrugged our shoulders. We made a transmission back to our patrol base in Klaw Kut where the rest of our team was located seeking further direction. Our Team Leader informed us that the Kurds had broken through to the city of Kirkuk and that he and the rest of the ODA would link up with us at a small village that was situated on a road intersection just north of our position. It would take them a few hours to arrive so we leisurely packed up our gear and threw it in our vehicles. We headed north until we stopped at the agreed upon meeting point and discovered it was already swarming with Kurdish Peshmerga. We dismounted our vehicles and greeted our allies with some small talk and those that smoked enjoyed a butt.

US Army (USA) Sergeant First Class (SFC) Charl...

While we were waiting our medic conducted an impromptu sick call for the Pesh, one young fighter hobbled up with a bullet wound in his lower leg which our medic quickly treated. From the facial expressions and gestures, I got the impression the other Kurdish fighters felt it was self inflicted. As I lounged on the bumper of our vehicle I watched the continuous and comical stream of Kurdish vehicles pour by as they headed south towards Kirkuk. The Peshmerga had commandeered anything with wheels in an effort to take back what they considered their ancestral home. A home that had been stolen from them by Saddam Hussein, and oh by the way there also just happened to be some very large oil fields located near by. Pesh were packed into the beds of the usual Middle Eastern vehicle, the white Toyota pick up, but they were also jammed into school busses, taxi cabs, and passenger cars. I even saw a dump truck with about twenty Peshmerga hanging out the back. All of theses were flying down the road hell bent for leather with scarves flapping in the breeze and rifles hoisted in the air.

I got out of the truck when I saw some Humvees headed towards us, at first I thought it might be another SF team although none were operating in our sector and none where driving such obviously marked military vehicles.  In fact it was a unit from the 173rdAirborne Brigade who had seen us sitting by the side of the road and stopped for a quick intelligence update. I laid my map out on the hood of this Major’s vehicle and pointed out to him the lay of the land and the targets we had been engaging. I estimated the Iraqi strength and probably direction of flight. He asked me a few more questions and got in his vehicle and their little convoy moved on down the road. This small encounter put in context why I had joined Special Forces. Here I was a Master Sergeant deep in enemy territory with my small team of kick ass troopers and our indigenous allies. I was wearing my University of Iowa baseball cap and hadn’t shaved in about a month. My team had more ammunition and fire power on us than a platoon of infantry. We went where we wanted and when we wanted within the scope of our orders. Read more

The History of Women in War


This Day In History 12/11/13


Dec 11, 1941:

Germany declares war on the United States



On this day, Adolf Hitler declares war on the United States, bringing America, which had been neutral, into the European conflict.

The bombing of Pearl Harbor surprised even Germany. Although Hitler had made an oral agreement with his Axis partner Japan that Germany would join a war against the United States, he was uncertain as to how the war would be engaged. Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor answered that question. On December 8, Japanese Ambassador Oshima went to German Foreign Minister von Ribbentrop to nail the Germans down on a formal declaration of war against America. Von Ribbentrop stalled for time; he knew that Germany was under no obligation to do this under the terms of the Tripartite Pact, which promised help if Japan was attacked, but not if Japan was the aggressor. Von Ribbentrop feared that the addition of another antagonist, the United States, would overwhelm the German war effort. Read more

Obama On Military Cuts: If You Like Your Job, You Can Keep It


ANNAPOLIS — In a speech at the United States Naval Academy on Tuesday, President Obama pledged to the assembled naval and Marine cadets that despite serious drawdowns, no service member would be forced to leave his or her job if they like it.

After acknowledging the Naval Academy’s hallowed history of producing the finest Naval and Marine officers in the world, the President first addressed assertions leveled by critics that the budget cuts will have a negative impact on readiness and morale. Some are claiming that the cuts are political, intended to fund the President’s pet projects. Read more