Exclusive cover story: A Medal of Honor-worthy story of courage and sacrifice in Samarra (Excerpt #2)
The following is the second excerpt from the November issue of The American Spectator magazine's cover story. More excerpts will follow, leading up to the magazine release of this exclusive recounting of a chilling tale of heroism, courage, and loss one morning six weeks ago in Samarra, as a small US sniper team was set upon by dozens of al Qaeda terrorists who had but one goal in mind: to humiliate America in front of the world, only days before General Petraeus's internationally televised testimony before Congress, by kidnapping and slaughtering these American soldiers.
Four U.S. paratroopers faced impossible odds, against dozens of dedicated enemy fighters.
Not all would survive -- but all would become heroes.
(Click here for Part 1)
JUST AFTER THREE IN THE MORNING, after dropping off SSG Wheeler’s team, Red Platoon’s four Humvees rolled up to the predetermined dismount point for the second OP and came to a stop, allowing Morley, Willis, Moser and Corriveau to get out. Upon departing the area the trucks would make their way to Patrol Base Uvanni, an Iraqi National Police outpost in the center of the city (about 1½ kilometers southwest of Reaper’s OP), where they would wait until it was time to pick up the overwatch teams, while also serving as a Quick Reaction Force in the unlikely event that anything should go wrong at either of the overwatch sites.
The four-man sniper team hustled to the northern gate of the apartment building, cut the lock, and quietly moved into the courtyard. Morley instructed Moser and Corriveau to remain behind to close the gate and remove other signs of the team’s presence, while he and Willis made their way into the building and up the stairs. Moser pulled security while Corriveau quietly closed the gate and replaced the lock, and then the two followed the others inside, clearing the stairwell as they ascended, but not going into the hallways of the apartment building, as they didn’t want to alert the inhabitants of their presence.
The four-man team emerged onto the northern half of the roof and surveyed their surroundings. The building was set up with two staircases, one on the north side and one on the south side, both of which opened up onto the top of the building facing west. Dividing the north and south halves of the roof was a four-foot high, east-west running wall; likewise, the entire perimeter of the building’s top was lined with a wall of the same height.
Once the area had been secured and the OP established, there was little to do but watch the street around the building. The team took turns keeping watch and sleeping; they had done hundreds of these before, and, while things could get hairy at times, their job often involved far more boredom than excitement – especially if they were careful, as they always were, to keep their heads down and not to let anybody below know that they were there.
Unfortunately, unbeknownst to the four men of Reaper Two, one of the building’s occupants had seen them enter, and had passed the information along.
|A Humvee from Red Platoon, Charlie Co 2-505 PIR (82nd Airborne) moves through the streets of central Samarra after dropping off a rooftop overwatch element.(photograph © Jeff Emanuel 2007)|
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