08 May 2004

From the war zone - "Breaking Chains"

The CSA wanted to share this email with you.  The email was sent to GEN
Bell, CG, USAREUR from MG Dempsey, Cdr, 1AD.

...I met yesterday outside Najaf with a 1LT from the Iron Dukes of 2-37 Armor who as tank company XO was leading a convoy of two platoons of tanks on HETs from Al Kut in the east to Najaf in the west, a distance of about 175KM. As they passed through the town of Diwaniyah, they were ambushed by a group of insurgents--undoubtedly former regime soldiers with some military training--with RPGs, heavy machine guns, and AK-47s.  The Task Force Scouts had passed through only 30 minutes earlier without contact, so this was a well planned ambush of probably 50 or so organized in two and three man teams.
The convoy suffered three soldiers KIA in the initial moments of the ambush--one Iron Duke, one 2ACR cavalry trooper, and one transportation officer.  The convoy immediately returned fire.  They had several HUMMWVs in escort, and the tanks on the back of the HETs were manned with loaders and TCs on crew served weapons.  Within minutes of the ambush, one of the HETs was disabled, and the Lieutenant realized he would have to stand and fight to ensure he had everyone.  The Iron Dukes "broke chains" as they described it, by essentially driving off the back of the HETs under fire to engage the enemy.  In the course of the next hour, they fought their way out of Diwaniyah employing every weapon available to them including main gun.  They got everyone and everything out with the exception of one HET. Enemy BDA was 30 killed and an unknown number wounded.

A day after this fight, I received an email from CPT Thomas Moore, of the 1175th Transportation, who was the convoy commander.  He wrote: "were it not for the courage and actions under fire of the 2ACR and 2-37 soldiers that day, he is certain all his men would have been killed."  He asked me if he and his soldiers engaged in that fight with us could wear the 1AD combat patch.  I told him I'd be honored.
There are many such stories of courage under fire and just as many stories of incredible compassion to the innocent...
Continuing mission, sir.

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