The 10th Mountain Division is known as the most deployed unit in the U.S. Army. Today the War on Terror has drawn it to Afghanistan and Iraq. To Lieutenant Colonel Mike Infanti’s unit fell the pacification of a hellish hotbed of terrorism south of Baghdad dubbed “The Triangle of Death.” Of the more than three thousand Americans killed since the start of the war, over one thousand were in this region.
Colonel Infanti assigned Delta Company to the most dangerous sector of the Triangle, a five-mile stretch of road that paralleled the Euphrates River in a series of blind s-curves where death stalked the Americans day and night. Delta knew they were virtually assured of getting hit on a daily basis. Each day and night became something to be dreaded and feared, exacting a heavy psychological toll on soldiers stressed to the limits of their mental and physical endurance.
In the predawn of May 12, 2007, two Humvees occupied by seven soldiers and an Iraqi translator were ambushed by insurgents. When the smoke cleared, four soldiers and the translator were dead and three were missing, presumably seized by the enemy. For over a year, Delta searched for their missing comrades, never giving up hope. Their creed of battle: None Left Behind
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Infanti’s convoy was speeding down the overpass leading into the city of Abu Ghraib to distribute blankets to a local school before winter set in when Captain Jennifer Knowlden noticed that the streets were suspiciously deserted. The disappearance of children was always a warning.
An IED went off underneath Knowlden’s lead vehicle and sandblasted out the windows. Infanti heard the whooshing report of an 85mm rocket-propelled grenade belching from the mouth of an alley to his right. It caught the commander’s truck near the right front door, the concussion tossing it sideways
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CHARLES W. SASSER is a decorated Vietnam veteran and Green Beret as well as one of the most respected military writers in the field. He is the author of more than fifty books, including the bestselling One Shot, One Kill, First Seal, and Raider.
Charles W. Sasser