Dispatches by Series Men of Valor

Men of Valor: Part VIII of VIII

[Note: The Men of Valor series derives from my second trip with the British Army in southern Iraq in 2007. The situation in the south has changed.  Overall, the Iraq situation continues to improve, but there remain pockets of sharp fighting.  I would tend to expect increased U.S. casualties during February and March.  Al Qaeda, in particular, is increasingly being targeted in certain areas, including Mosul.]

Read more: Men of Valor: Part VIII of VIII

Men of Valor: Part VII of VIII

On the morning of 28 September 2007, the moon was still large as it descended to the horizon. 4 Rifles folded camp and by the time the sun was up, they were ready. At 0800 an “op order” was issued. The G-2 (intelligence) officer named Andy said that the COB (Basra Airport) had been hit with 2 IDF (mortars or rockets) the night before. There was increasing activity around 4 Rifles, and the F-18s had detected hotspots, which might be bombs planted for us.

Read more: Men of Valor: Part VII of VIII

Men of Valor: Part V

On October 8, I was eating lunch with some British soldiers in Basra. I didn’t know any of them, but could tell they were veterans by their eyes and the way they talked. They were quiet, professional, and exceptionally polite. Sitting in front of me was one young soldier who in particular radiated a special kind of character. I didn’t know his name at the time, but later learned he was William Rigby. When I asked William how his parents were, he said, simply, “fine.” But when he learned I am a writer, he began talking. He said he wanted to make sure that I took the time to report what was happening in Basra.

Read more: Men of Valor: Part V

Men of Valor: Part VI of VIII

By the third month of Telic 10, 4 Rifles soldiers had been hit with about 1,700 rockets and mortars at their small encampment at the Palace. One day, more than 70 rockets and mortars exploded inside the compound. Just walking to breakfast or lunch could be a deadly mission. As a result, some soldiers ate only once per day. 4 Rifles fired more than 37,000 rounds of machine gun and rifle ammunition. They fired grenades, Javelin missiles, and artillery.

Read more: Men of Valor: Part VI of VIII

Men of Valor: Part IV

SGT Richard Edwards, a 12-year veteran from Newport, South Wales had served in Iraq during Telic 6 without firing a shot during those six months. During Telic 10, Edwards found himself down at the PJCC, where Iraqi police outnumbered British soldiers by a significant ratio. In late July, while they were waiting for the Brigade Commander Brigadier Bashall to arrive, a couple of shots came in from a neighboring and overlooking building used as a wheat factory.  Shots also began coming in from the “Hole in the Wall,” a lateral slit several inches high and about three feet long in a wall 200 meters away.

Read more: Men of Valor: Part IV

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