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Wrong number: Interpreter answers cell phone, dupes insurgents

Old 04-22-06, 07:44 PM
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Wrong number: Interpreter answers cell phone, dupes insurgents

http://www.stripes.com/article.asp?s...&article=36642
By Jeff Schogol, Stars and Stripes
Mideast edition, Saturday, April 22, 2006



Jeff Schogol / S&S
Sgt. Nicholas Hake-Jordan, 23, of 1st Battalion, 68th Armor, from Springfield, Ore., holds a new sniper rifle seized during a patrol that also yielded one dead insurgent thanks to a sly interpreter.


IBRAHIM AL MARKHUR, Iraq — One misplaced cell phone and one savvy interpreter equaled one dead insurgent, several pieces of intelligence and a whole lot of captured weapons.

On a routine patrol, U.S. troops with 1st Battalion, 68th Armor came upon a house in the midst of dense greenery and at the end of a dusty country road.

Staff Sgt. Matthew Nicodemus, 33, said he immediately noticed that no Iraqi men were around.

Suddenly, a cell phone inside the home rang, said Nicodemus, of Altoona, Pa.

“The interpreter went in and answered the phone, and on the other end of the phone the person said, in Arabic, ‘Hey, coalition forces are here, go ahead and run away,’ and he specifically said, ‘Go and run into the palm groves all around here,’ ” Nicodemus said.

The troops then fanned out into the palm groves and found several weapons including several rocket-propelled grenades and hand grenades, two AK-47s and a new sniper’s rifle, Nicodemus said.

They also found a hand-written map of a U.S. military base, diagrams on how to build rockets and a CD-ROM with several thousand files written in Arabic, said Sgt. 1st Class Michael Greer, 35, of San Luis Obispo, Calif.

If that weren’t enough, the insurgent kept calling the interpreter back to ask what the Americans were doing.

The interpreter kept the act going.

“He’s basically acting like, you know, he’s watching us ... making sure everything is fine,” Nicodemus said.

The U.S. troops knew the insurgents were coming back and decided to lie in wait for them.

Many troops said they were psyched by the prospect of killing the person on the other end of the phone.

“I love this [expletive],” said Sgt. Nicholas Hake-Jordan, 23, of Springfield, Ore.

The troops didn’t have to wait long.

Shortly after U.S. troops set up, the insurgents called the interpreter and said they would be by in about 10 minutes to attack the Americans, said Staff Sgt. Art Hoffman, 30.

When seven insurgents got to the house, they ran into a wall of U.S. fire, said Hoffman, of Baltimore.

“The first guy that came in the door just dropped like a rock. The other two guys behind him got hit pretty hard, too. The rest grabbed their wounded and just ran back off,” said Hoffman.

One insurgent was confirmed killed in the fighting and the other two were in bad shape, he said.

Afterward, the battalion commander, Lt. Col. Thomas Fisher, 42, praised his soldiers’ actions.

“The initiative demonstrated at the platoon level is exactly how you win this fight,” said Fisher, of Sioux Falls, S.D.
I have a soft spot in my heart for these sort of happy endings.
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Old 04-23-06, 07:30 AM
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Way to go Sydney, Dixon, and Marshall!
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Old 04-23-06, 09:36 AM
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“I love this shit,” said Sgt. Nicholas Hake-Jordan, 23, of Springfield, Ore.
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Old 04-23-06, 09:39 AM
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A CD-ROM with several thousand files written in Arabic? Get a rope.

I'm confused. I'm confused by the initial comments on the phone, and I'm confused how they were only able to kill one of them. Were all the Americans in the house? Was the car not covered? Where was the guy who owned the phone?

Those questions aside, it is a good little story though. I wish I heard more personal stories of individual incidents like this. Maybe there's a place to find them?
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Old 04-23-06, 10:04 PM
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http://www.estripes.com/article.asp?...&article=36641
Staff sergeant's suspicion of civilian led to evacuation of Iraq Internet cafe before blast

By Monte Morin, Stars and Stripes
Mideast edition, Saturday, April 22, 2006



Photo courtesy of Martin Richburg
Soldiers and workers at Al Kisik in Iraq examine damage caused a bomb attack on the camp’s Internet café on March 27. Staff Sgt. Martin Richburg's quick thinking is credited for averting deaths and injuries. No one was hurt in the blast.


Monte Morin / S&S
Staff Sgt. Martin Richburg


AL KISIK, Iraq — The camp was still on edge from a suicide bomb attack that morning.

The bomber had targeted an Iraqi army recruiting drive at the combined Iraqi and American forces base here in northwest Iraq. Although no U.S. soldiers were injured, soldiers from the 2nd, or “Gunners,” Battalion, 3rd Field Artillery Regiment, 1st Brigade, 1st Armored Division, out of Giessen, Germany, dealt with the aftermath.

“Imagine a dump truck filled with 40 bodies, some alive, some dead, some walking around with only a scratch,” said 1st Lt. David “Big Doc” Brickhouse, the physician’s assistant who oversaw the treatment and evacuation of victims. “It was crazy.”

So it was with no small amount of suspicion that Staff Sgt. Martin Richburg observed an Iraqi civilian pacing nervously near the camp’s crowded Internet cafe that same evening.

It was around 9 p.m. on March 27, and Richburg was sitting behind the wheel of his “bongo” flatbed truck in the parking lot, talking to his wife on a cell phone.

“I saw this guy duckin’ and peepin’ outside the Internet [cafe],” said the 44-year-old Baltimore, native. “I said, ‘Let me keep an eye on this guy.’ ”

Unknown to Richburg at the time, the man was an insurgent who had managed to get a job at the camp’s Iraqi army noncommissioned officer academy. Part of a cell that had planned a series of attacks, the insurgent had constructed a bomb within the camp after smuggling components in piece by piece.

Richburg, a heavy-vehicle mechanic assigned to the 142nd Maintenance Company, grew increasingly suspicious as the man peered into the cafe window, walked away, and then returned with a plastic chair and a package.

“I’m really watching the guy at this point, I’m watching his every move,” Richburg said. “I’m sitting right there and the guy never even saw me.”

The package looked like something bulky wrapped in a blue plastic shopping bag. Richburg’s suspicion grew to alarm when the man stepped onto the chair, placed the bag on top of the window’s air conditioning unit and then took off running.

Throwing down his cell phone — his wife was still on the line — Richburg dashed after the man and brought him down with a swift kick to the back of his legs. By this time, Richburg had drawn his 9 mm pistol and, holding the man down, called for another Iraqi he knew to translate.

“I asked him if he knew who this guy was and he said, ‘No,’” Richburg said. “I told him I saw him put a package on the air conditioner and asked him to find out what was in it. Then I charged my weapon to scare him.”

The man answered back quickly. He said he had placed a bomb on the air conditioner. Richburg asked how much time they had before it exploded. “Five minutes,” the man said.

Dragging the insurgent in one hand and waving his pistol in the other, the burly mechanic rushed to the cafe entrance and began shouting at everyone to get out.

Shocked by the sight of Richburg waving a pistol and swearing at the top of his lungs, a dozen soldiers and five civilians piled out of the cafe. The mechanic yelled at them to take cover behind a line of concrete blast barriers.

The soldiers braced themselves. After roughly 15 minutes, the package exploded with the noise of an artillery shell. The windshield of Richburg’s truck “crystallized” by the blast, and a Porta-John was flung into a nearby meadow. The window of the Internet cafe was destroyed, driving glass and shrapnel deep into the walls and computer booths.

Since the cafe had been cleared, nobody was injured.

“The bomb definitely would have killed some people,” said Maj. John Stark, a liaison officer to the Iraqi army. “It definitely would have killed the guy sitting next to the air conditioner.”

Richburg has since been awarded the Army Commendation Medal with “V” device for valor, and has been nominated for a Bronze Star for his actions on that evening.

“I suppose anyone else would have done it too,” Richburg said of his actions. “It was the way the guy moved. If he walked away normally I might not have done it.”
Good going.
Although, the ACLU will probably ask for prosecution of this sargent for causing mental distress to the terrorist by pointing a loaded weapon at him.

Last edited by bhk; 04-23-06 at 10:07 PM.
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Old 04-23-06, 10:13 PM
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I am glad I came to this thread, cool success stories for our military
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Old 04-24-06, 09:29 PM
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http://fumento.com/weblog/

This site details encounters that our soldiers are having with the enemy.
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Old 04-24-06, 11:46 PM
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Originally Posted by sjrab16
I am glad I came to this thread, cool success stories for our military
Success story for the guy who pulled it off, dumb luck for "the military" in the larger sense.
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Old 04-25-06, 12:01 AM
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...Shortly after U.S. troops set up, the insurgents called the interpreter and said they would be by in about 10 minutes to attack the Americans, said Staff Sgt. Art Hoffman, 30.

When seven insurgents got to the house, they ran into a wall of U.S. fire, said Hoffman, of Baltimore.

“The first guy that came in the door just dropped like a rock. The other two guys behind him got hit pretty hard, too. The rest grabbed their wounded and just ran back off,” said Hoffman.
...
Not to sound critical, but when they had an ambush set up and apparently complete suprise, shouldn't they have killed more than one (with two wounded)? How were the other four able to escape with the wounded? But overall, great story.
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Old 04-25-06, 08:01 AM
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Originally Posted by bhk
http://www.estripes.com/article.asp?...&article=36641


Good going.
Although, the ACLU will probably ask for prosecution of this sargent for causing mental distress to the terrorist by pointing a loaded weapon at him.
Why would the ACLU give a ****?
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Old 04-25-06, 09:42 AM
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Originally Posted by bhk
Good going.
Although, the ACLU will probably ask for prosecution of this sargent for causing mental distress to the terrorist by pointing a loaded weapon at him.

for the stories

for using the stories to grind your axe on other topics. Boo on ruining the mood of the story with something so non-sensical.

for not knowing how to spell "sergeant"
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Old 04-25-06, 09:45 AM
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Originally Posted by greydt
for not knowing how to spell "sergeant"
He was talking about Dick Sargent.
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Old 04-25-06, 09:48 AM
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Originally Posted by bhk
http://www.estripes.com/article.asp?...&article=36641


Good going.
Although, the ACLU will probably ask for prosecution of this sargent for causing mental distress to the terrorist by pointing a loaded weapon at him.
<i>Mod note: Come on bhk, you know these are exactly the types of comments/rhetoric we are trying to cut back on. Was the comment really necessary to make your point?</i>
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Old 04-25-06, 09:56 AM
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Mod note: Come on bhk, you know these are exactly the types of comments/rhetoric we are trying to cut back on. Was the comment really necessary to make your point?
Hey, it's accurate. But point is taken.
http://www.justiceadalah.com/
The attorneys prosecuting the case are from the American Civil Liberties Union, Human Rights First, and the law firm of Lieff Cabraser Heimann and Bernstein, LLP.....
The torture and other cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment included severe and repeated beatings, cutting with knives, sexual humiliation and assault, confinement in wooden boxes, forcible sleep deprivation, sensory deprivation, restraint in contorted and excruciating positions, mock executions, and death threats.

What to Do If You or a Family Member Experienced Detention and Torture
If you or a family member was detained by U.S. forces in Iraq or Afghanistan and you wish to report what occurred, please click here to contact an attorney involved in these lawsuits. We will protect your name and all confidential information you submit against disclosure, publication or unauthorized use to the full extent under the law.
The above is talking about the ACLU suit against Rumsfeld. The soldier in question did threaten the terrorist with death. While I don't think routine beating or assault of any kind should be done, sleep deprivation and death threats if done effectively can be very useful in extracting information(as was the case in the story above).
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Old 04-25-06, 12:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Heat
Not to sound critical, but when they had an ambush set up and apparently complete suprise, shouldn't they have killed more than one (with two wounded)? How were the other four able to escape with the wounded? But overall, great story.

Those were my thoughts as well. if seven guys ran into a wall of fire and only 3 got hit then there must be some pretty bad shots mixed in there.
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Old 04-25-06, 01:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Puzznic
Those were my thoughts as well. if seven guys ran into a wall of fire and only 3 got hit then there must be some pretty bad shots mixed in there.
Right... this is why I asked this earlier on. We're talking about through a doorway here. If the first guy was hit, the rest never made it in. But if they had a chance to set up an ambush, there's no reason why this shouldn't have been a total elimination/capture unless we're only talking 2 or 3 coalition troops here. Were all of our troops within the building? Was the car not covered? What the heck is going on here? A trained team can go into an unknown situation and have better results than this. The ambush should have been a gimme here.

Need more details. The cell phone gig sounds brilliant. From what I've read that followed, it sounds rather poorly executed. But I'm more confused than critical.
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