Michael Fumento: The New Band Of Brothers
The following is an excellent, graphic story of a photo journalist embedded with the 1st Battalion, 506th Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division in Ramadi, Iraq.
Via Michael Fumento’s website where he details the story of an embedded patrol with combined elements of the Iraqi Army, US Army and US Navy SEALS.
Photographer Toby Morris describes patrols with 1st Battalion as “just intense. You go out and you know something is going to happen.” But Capt. Claburn, still an excited kid at 29, tells us how long it will take to happen. He explains that it takes the bad guys about 45 minutes to arrange an attack. “Within 15 minutes the spotters usually come out, and they’ll identify your position,” he says. (I’m quoting here from a dispatch by Todd Pitman.) “Within 30 minutes the weapons get brought in,” he adds. “And usually about 45 minutes after being on the ground, you can pretty much guarantee that you’re going to get shot at.”
You can practically set your watch by the attacks. Just three minutes short of the Claburn mark, a white car bears down on an Iraqi patrol, and a passenger opens up with an AK. “Did I call it or what?” Claburn tells Pitman with a grin as the battle is joined. “Forty-two minutes on the ground. It’s a science.”
We break into a house and storm up the stairs to the roof, yelling “Friendly coming out!” so that those ahead of us won’t think we’re, well, not friendlies. No action. So we start back down and all hell breaks loose so we storm right back up.
View Fumento video (Note: video blurred to protect identity of SEALs. Large .wmv file, Mulaab Firefight, 6,701kb)
I’m with a number of SEALs, the two other reporters, and Claburn. It’s the right building top. As we take fire, Claburn yells: “Hear them cracking over your head? That’ll get your peter hard, huh?” A SEAL near me has an old wooden-stock M-79 40mm grenade launcher (affectionately called a “Thumper”) that was phased out late in the Vietnam war in favor of the M-203, a 40mm tube attached below an M-16 rifle. I had wondered why he’d chosen to carry this but now found out.
Another vehicle is spotted, a flatbed with four jihadists bearing AKs. Claburn and others bring it to a screeching halt with a fusillade of bullets to the engine block; then the SEAL with the Thumper smoothly extracts it from a strap around his waist as if it’s just another appendage and drops the grenade dead center on the jihadists’ truck. One shot; one kill. Those SEALs fight like machines.
It’s a long story, go and read it all.