Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Honolulu, Hawaii
Second Guessing Our Decisions
I read the BD 6 article too late - and it cost me. When I was a CO CDR I decided to enter and clear a house, which resulted in one of my SSG's KIA. He later received the Silver Star, posthumously.
For the story, read this article
from the March issue of ARMY magazine below, compiled by the CompanyCommand.mil
Team at West Point.
I'm the B/2-37 AR vignette.
In May 2006, elements of my company and Iraqi police were engaged in a conflict with an unknown number of gunmen located in a house on the outside of town.
I arrived and dismounted on the ground with a squad-sized element of engineers and infantrymen. After receiving heavy small-arms fire, I authorized a section of M1 Abrams and an M2 Bradley to open fire on the house. They fired eight tank rounds and about 100 rounds of 25 mm into the structure, severely damaging it. The small-arms fire ceased, and I decided to lead my two teams to clear the single-story house. My battalion commander offered to let me employ Hellfire air-to-ground missiles from some AH-64s that were now on station to finish the job, but I waived off, trying to contain any collateral damage, and my troops were already inside the SDZ zone] of the weapon. So I continued with the plan to do room-by-room house clearing.
One of my squad leaders, SSG Legaspi, pulled me aside and asked me to let him lead the entry team and for me to follow in the second team. We also had about 10 Iraqi police with us. We advanced on the house and threw some grenades inside to prepare for entry. After they detonated, SSG Legaspi’s team began entering the house and clearing the first rooms. The IPs cowered and refused to enter, so I led the second team in, flanking around the side of the house. As SSG Legaspi led his men into the rear first floor room, shots rang out, and I watched in horror as SSG Legaspi collapsed on the floor about 10 feet in front of my position. The Soldier behind him was pinned by fire behind a pillar and screaming for help. I was stunned—one of my Soldiers just got hit, another was trapped, and the only way to get to either of them was to traverse the same open area that they just got shot in. Not a good set of options.
A few weeks later, a partner commander was in a similar situation. Instead of charging in, he used police tactics and brought in the TPT [tactical psychological-operations team] truck to demand surrender, which the insurgents eventually did. I immediately began kicking myself. Why hadn’t I done that? Or, why hadn’t I dropped a bomb to begin with since my commander was willing? I kept doing my mental AAR, and each time I found myself wanting. Soon after, I read an article in Infantry Magazine arguing against the current training for house entry—that it was getting too many people killed because the extensive training for it makes it a first—rather than a last—option to many commanders.
"A Sherman can give you a very nice... edge."
- Oddball, Kelly's Heroes
Who is Cavguy
Last edited by Cavguy; 08-07-2008 at 06:20 AM.