Category Archives: Iraq

Joint Ops in Iraq with LRSC

 

A while back I wrote about a joint operation I did with a LRS unit in Iraq in 2009 but for the life of me I could not recall the specific unit designation.  Thankfully, I had a member of that patrol reach out to me recently to help jog my memory and provide some details.  The unit was 1st DET, B Trp, 38th CAV (LRS) (ABN) out of Ft. Hood, Texas which has since been reflagged as C Co (LRS) (ABN) 2-38 CAV but is still active as the III Corps LRS Company.

We did five days out in the desert doing an area recon.  The dynamics of the desert to the south west of Mosul were somewhat interesting.  Known locally as the Jeezera, meaning island in Arabic, this area was home to some very remote villages that served as waystations for smugglers and terrorists flowing across the border from Syria.  More than one foreign fighter had been intercepted by Special Operations teams in this region as they made their way to Mosul.  Village leaders are called Muqtar and are about as two faced as they come.  When you meet with them they will tell you that there is no Sunni or Shia in their village and that they don’t support terrorism.  It was pretty clear to us that they were mistaking their mouth for a bull’s asshole.

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Filed under Action Adventure, Iraq, News, Special Forces

TEAM SCHLITZ: Tunnel to Towers 5K

Folks, please join me at the Tunnel to Towers run with Team Schlitz this coming Sunday, September 30th.  Michael lost both his arms and got third degree burns on 80% of his body during an IED blast in Iraq.  The money from this event will be used to build Michael a smart home down in Georgia.  Military types, bring your ruck, camo pants, and Team Schlitz t-shirt.  We are going to be rucking it. -Jack

Hope you have all registered but, if not here again is the link http://www.tunneltotowersrun.org/nyc_run.aspx be sure to write that you are running in honor of TEAM Schlitz. Also are shirts our now available to be ordered from Ranger Up by going to this link http://www.rangerup.com/schlitz.htmlplease write in the comments block that you are doing the NYC run to ensure quick shipping. And for all of you looking to

donate directly to Mike’s home or know someone that would like to donate on your behalf go to this link http://www.buildingforamericasbravest.org/houses/?id=12.I also just wanted to give a brief heads up on the events of that day:Military veterans, both current and former and those who would also like to participate in the 5k ruckmarch- No weight requirement in ruck(suggest over 40 lbs), camouflage pants from your branch, boots, Team Schlitz t-shirt and optional headgear of your own choice. Following the 5k march rucks will be dropped off at ladder 10 next to the WTC.

Civilians both walking and running- Please wear Team Schlitz shirts, shorts or running pants(weather dependent), comfortable sneakers. No strollers, backpacks, wheelchairs, roller blades, bicycles, etc will be allowed (sorry).

After the 5k there will be a Gary Sinise concert with food and drinks followed by celebratory drinks at a local Pub procured by SFC Schlitz, Sgt Nigro and myself. Any Questions or concerns please feel free to contact me at Teamschlitz1@gmail.com or you call me at 973-985-8194 or contact Dan Nigro at 201 739 8871. I will continue to keep you all up to speed within the next few weeks. Remember, REGISTER-TSHIRTS-DONATE!!! September 30th is right around the corner!!!

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Rockin’ it with the Iraqi Air Force

Read about my experiences flying with the Iraqi Air Force at Kit Up!

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Hyperstealth’s Desert Dune Pattern hits Iraq

Read about it at Kit Up!

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US Special Forces Weapons Report Card

Click the picture to buy on Amazon.com

My non-fiction article about Special Operations weapons and employment is now live for the Amazon Kindle.

For years a highly dubious “Weapons Report Card” allegedly written by an American soldier serving overseas has been making the rounds on the internet. Unfortunately, this report card is highly inaccurate and full of misconceptions. In this 3,700 word article written by a former Special Forces Weapons Sergeant, the weapons used by American Special Operations forces are examined and reported upon. Rather than an all inclusive, comprehensive report, this article gives a good thumb nail sketch of the wide variety of weapons currently used by US Forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as a special focus on exotic weapons and cutting edge systems in the process of being integrated into service. Contains seven photographs from the author’s collection, including the bizarre “Chimera Gun” that an Iraqi soldier built in his home from spare parts!

An invaluable resource for researchers, enthusiasts, and those with an interest in the military.

Sample:

M4: The M4 rifle is a shortened M16 carbine and is by far the most common weapon found in the hands of US forces today.  Special Forces troops carry the M4 and utilize the new SOPMOD 2 package which includes the EO Tech 553 holographic reflex site, LA-5 infrared laser, foregrip, the M3X visible bright light (tactical light) and associated accessories.  Also included is the Elcan Spector telescopic sight which is adjustable from 1 power to 5 power via a throw lever on the side of the optic.  While this is an interesting idea, nearly all Special Forces troops leave these sights in their card board boxes to collect dust and simply use to EO Tech 553.  We felt that the Elcan was a little bit too much and perhaps over engineered.  Now, if we had been facing long range engagements in Afghanistan, rather than precision raids in Iraq, maybe we would have felt differently.  Along with the EO Tech, the LA-5 is much smaller than the PEQ-2 and together these are the most valued items in the SOPMOD kit.

M9: The M9 Beretta pistol is essentially the military version of the civilian 92F.  I never cared for the pistol due to the double action trigger and poor placement of the decocking lever.  Another failing of this weapon is that it is chambered for the 9mm round.  Most of us would have preferred a .45 caliber hand gun.  The manner in which this pistol is carried may be unfamiliar to some so I will explain here.  To load the pistol, the slide is locked to the rear, a loaded magazine is inserted, and the slide is released to chamber the first round.  The decocking lever is then depressed to safely drop the hammer.  Next, the decocking lever is switched back up into the fire position.  Special Forces do not consider the decocking lever to be a safety and do not use it as such.  The weapon is considered to be safe while on fire with a round in the chamber due to the fact that it has a double action trigger.  At this point, the pistol is safely holstered.

As I mentioned above, I never cared for the double action trigger, it makes sight alignment difficult with such a long squeeze needed before the hammer drops.  Rumor has it that some Special Forces soldiers have taken apart the trigger mechanism and cut the springs to make for a shorter trigger pull.  I never did this myself, but one hears things.  Of course, it is highly illegal under military law for an operator to go inside and make modifications to his weapon in this way.

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Filed under Action Adventure, Afghanistan, Gear, Iraq, Special Forces

Mayflower lightweight unconventional warfare chest rig

Click on the picture above for a detailed breakdown on the Mayflower unconventional chest rig.  The above is a lightweight, low-cost, low-profile combat rig.  I bought this just as I was leaving the Army and didn’t have the chance to use it in combat, but found it to work like a charm out on the range while field testing the SCAR rifle.

Here is all of the equipment I had loaded in this chest rig when I took these pictures.  I’m only showing this as an example of how much you can carry comfortably.  This is not an example of what I would necessarily carry in combat.  Here we have 4x M4 Magazines, 2x CMC .45 magazines, a monocle, lock pick set, gloves, headlamp, Garmin Foretrex, and a pocket calculator.  You could cram more in there if you were so inclined but this is a good sample.

What separates the Mayflower UW rig from others is it’s emphasis on what for lack of a better term, could be called tactical ultra-light.  While most combat gear these days is advertised as being “bomb proof” the UW rig is made from lightweight materials, taking a minimalist approach.  After eight years split between the Ranger Regiment and Special Forces, I definitely agree with this approach.  There is no need to wear body armor into every single scenario, nor is it necessary to carry eighty to ninety pounds of kit on your person at all times.   A lot of this happens because commanders are obsessed with safety and fail to consider the effect that carrying all that kit has on men, weapons, and equipment.  I’m not making an argument against body armor, I’m just saying that because it has saved lives in some instances doesn’t mean it should apply in all instances.  Think dismounted patrols through the deserts of Iraq or mountains of Afghanistan.

Is all this really needed….

In this environment?

In maneuver warfare, not to mention unconventional warfare, troops need to be able to, that’s right, maneuver.  The inclination towards wearing every piece of armor and carrying every bit of kit, just in case, is extremely powerful.  I had a Sergeant Major who said something along the lines of, “If you give a Ranger a bigger rucksack, he’s going to go ahead and fill it to the top.”  It was meant as a warning.  Our rucks are to damn big, and just because you have some excess webbing on your body armor doesn’t mean you need to attach something there.  In the above pic of me moving that rebar out of the way, I could barely damned move.  Yeah, the gym helps, but only so much when you are carrying that much in the Summer heat.

If I was to add something, it would be a place for a camelbak.  No matter how lightweight you want to go you still need water.  Overall I have been very pleased with the UW rig.  The more experienced you become as a soldier and a shooter the more you ditch all the excess equipment and move back to the basics.

I was inspired enough by this design that I got to thinking about what an updated LCE would look like.  What I came up with is something I will post here in the future.  Until then, if you are interested in going ultra-light you can’t go wrong with the UW rig.  If you want to read up on the tactics that justify the above mindset please read “The Last Hundred Yards,” “Brave New War,” or do some research on the Rhodesian Light Infantry.

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Filed under Afghanistan, Gear, Iraq, Special Forces, Weapons and Tactics

The Iraqi Air Force

One of the more interesting experiences I had on my last rotation in Iraq was working with the Iraqi Air Force.  Through a complicated series of events we managed to set up a training mission with Iraqi pilots, flying the older US-made Huey helicopters, followed by an actual combat operation.

During the training mission, I was the only American on the aircraft…a hair raising experience to say the least.  As it turned out the pilot knew his stuff and my fears were unfounded.  He had been flying for decades, all the way back to the Iran-Iraq war where he had been a fighter pilot.  In this picture we (a small group of US Special Forces troops with a Iraqi SWAT contingent) are inbound to our objective area.

One of the boys.

A picture I took, looking down, as we sped a hundred feet or so above the desert.

Twin Iraqi Huey’s coming in for exfil.

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Iraqi sandstorm

Here are some pictures of our compound in northern Iraq when a sandstorm blew through one sunny afternoon.  It looks like the surface of mars but this was about 2:30pm on a otherwise beautiful day.

We watched the sandstorm, also called a haboob in some regions of the Middle East, blow in from miles away.  It was a huge wall of brown you could see coming over the horizon.

I saw another picture like this on the net that someone had taken in Western China.  Most of the comments under the photo said things like, “This is obviously photoshopped”!

Sand storms like this usually last about six hours or so in my experience but sometimes they can go on for days, nearly shutting down operations, or at least making them very difficult.

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Views from Iraq in night vision and thermal.

A few shots of the city through PVS-14 night vision goggles:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here are a few through the thermal sight on a Remote Weapon System (RWS) mounted to the stop of a Stryker.

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Combat Mission (Iraq 2009)

Approaching a bad guy’s residence.

Skirting behind the house.

Yours truly getting put to work pulling some shit out of the way.

The modern day battlefield.  You will see more of this kind of thing well into the future.

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