May 4, 2004

Gallantry in action

Here's a letter from a soldier serving in Iraq.


...I met yesterday outside Najaf with a 1st Lieutenant from the Iron Dukes of 2-37 Armor who as tank company executive officer was leading a convoy of two platoons of tanks on heavy equipment transports 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 killed in action 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 Heavy equipment transports were manned with loaders and Tank commanders on crew served weapons.

Within minutes of the ambush, one of the Heavy equipment transports 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 Heavy equipment transports 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 Heavy equipment transport.

Enemy battle damage assessment was 30 killed and an unknown number wounded.

A day after this fight, I received an email from Captain 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 ACR 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 1st Armoured Division 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.
V/R Marty

Posted by Ted at May 4, 2004 8:48 PM