The other day, I was sitting in the conference room of our headquarters building during a meeting with the Executive Officer and the rest of the staff. When we heard a loud explosion that was strong enough and/or close enough to rattle our building. We all paused and looked at each other and remarked that “that one was pretty close.” We waited a moment to hear if there were going to be any more explosions or gunfire as this would indicate that an attack was underway as opposed to merely a large detonation of captured explosives by our EOD (Explosive Ordnance Disposal) team nearby or an IED just outside the FOB. If there were any additional noises like that, we would have to gear up and get ready to fight. As it was, there were no additional explosions or gunfire and we continued our meeting.
This is what had happened: A short distance from our FOB, A US convoy was driving down the road. As they headed to their destination a civilian vehicle pulled on from a side alley and attempted to get into the convoy. Apparently, the convoy gunners were too green or some how did not perceive the car to be a threat. They did not wave the car off, throw anything at him, cut him off, or shoot to try and stop him. A nearby IP (Iraqi Police) SUV witnessed the intruding vehicle and immediately intervened. It pulled up to the rear of the convoy and tried to force the intruding vehicle off the road. The IP’s had successfully put themselves between the vehicle and the US convoy. Unable to deter the vehicle from approaching the US convoy or make it pull over, the IP’s fired at the engine of the encroaching vehicle. At this point, the driver detonated the IED inside his vehicle. Yes, this was a classic VBIED.
This suicide bomber killed himself and the four IP’s in the vehicle holding him at bay. The device was so powerful that the bomber’s vehicle was literally obliterated. The engine block was thrown over 25 meters. The IP’s vehicle was nothing but a burned out shell. All four IP’s inside perished in the blast, but not a scratch was inflicted on the vehicles or personnel of the US convoy. Had it not been for the exceptional bravery, valor and situational awareness of these four Iraqi Patriots, that day would have been bloodier, and we probably would have had another communications blackout at the FOB.
Pundits and soldiers alike have talked a lot of trash about the ISF (Iraqi Security Forces). But if they are even half as good as these four were, the future of Iraq is very bright indeed. I hope they are decorated with the highest honors their country can bestow upon their fallen. Their actions were as heroic as it gets if you ask me.