Twenty years ago, 1st Battalion, 41st Infantry attached to the Third Brigade of the 1st Infantry Division (from the Third Brigade of the 2d Armored Division (Forward)), was the only US unit in Iraq. We were fifteen clicks from the Saudi border, screening for the sweep east of Schwartzkopf’s “Hail Mary” strategy. For two days we had been watched by Iraqis and had a little contact. with some reconnaissance elements. However on February 17th, my gunner spotted 5 T-55s about 1500 meters in front of our defilade position and I called for indirect fire. The first response came from an Apache unit. The pilot ignored his instruments and fired the wrong grid coordinate, directly to my west, striking two vehicles in our own Scout platoon anchoring our far west flank.
COB6 was the platoon leader of the platoon between my platoon and the Scout elements. Despite the orders of our company commander (a phrase that I use in several other stories involving COB6 and our commander), COB6 pulled his vehicle off the line and rushed to the burning vehicles (An M3 and and an M113 from the GSR unit). COB6 and his crew pulled the broken bodies from the vehicles with burning ammunition exploding around him and shielded the injured Scouts with his own body. Two of those scouts were dead, but three others owe their lives to COB6 and his crew.
Needless to say we stopped calling for Apaches and after slamming two TOWs into a berm about a hundred meters in front of us, we used artillery fire. My first ever call for indirect fire in total darkness. The following morning, M1s found the T-55s 5000 meters north of the spot my gunner had spotted them.
And, oh, yeah, my granddaughter celebrates her 20th birthday today, too.
Category: War Stories