Real American Heroes
By Paul (NSA)
By Paul (NSA)
On the morning of September 11th, 2001 men associated with, and funded by the terrorist group al-Qaeda, hijacked four commercial American passenger jets and crashed two into the World Trade Center in New York, one into the Pentagon, and a final one crashed into a field in Pennsylvania.
Almost 3,000 people from all over the world died in the attacks, and many nations world wide condemned the terrorist act almost immediately. The American people were stunned, trying to figure out who attacked them, and unsure if more attacks were on the way.
I"'ve directed the full resources of our intelligence and law enforcement communities to find those responsible and to bring them to justice. We will make no distinction between the terrorists who committed these acts, and those who harbor them.“ President George W. Bush, September 11th, 2001.
On October 7th, 2001, the United States of America launched military operations against the country of Afghanistan, and began Operation Enduring Freedom. The goal was to hunt down and defeat al-Qaeda and any associated groups of the September 11th attacks, while at the same time eliminate the terrorist training camps as well as liberating the country from the Taliban, who had refused to turn in Osama bin Laden and give up supporting al-Qaeda.
By November of 2001, the United States Special Forces and the Anti-Taliban Forces (ATF) had the remaining Taliban and al-Qaeda on the run. In early December, the US led an assault on the Tora Bora mountain range, where the remaining Taliban and al-Qaeda were thought to be hiding. It was also thought at the time that Osama bin Laden was coordinating the fight from secret bunkers built into the mountainside.
The battle was a success, with no US losses, but due to many factors, including a called cease-fire by al-Qaeda forces, Osama bin Laden and his top commanders managed to retreat into Pakistan. The victory at Tora Bora meant victory over the Taliban for the time being, though the escape of Osama bin Laden and other top Taliban and al-Qaeda meant the battle was far from over.
In early January, 2002, United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) activated the newly formed 9th Special Forces Group (Airborne) (9SFGA), and assigned it to Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) Task Force 11 (TF-11). The 9th SFG(A) was sent to the recently liberated Bagram Airbase with the instructions to assist in the defeat of the Taliban as well as to hunt down and capture high-value targets with information relating to the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
This is their story.
20 JAN, 2002 - Bagram Airbase, Afghanistan, 17:30 hours
The evening was already here, and with it came the nightly mortar and RPG attacks. Thankfully most of the time they went wide, as they were literally shots in the dark. The shots exploded out on the tarmac, shaking the roof of the temporary building that was the 9th Special Forces Group's makeshift headquarters.
It's been a month, muttered Master Sergeant Charles Anderson as he looked over a well-worn map. Don't they have anything better to do than rock me to sleep at night?
MSG Anderson knew deep down that if any one of those shells hit the HQ they wouldn't live to tell about it. Though dating back to World War II, the Russian-made 82mm mortars still packed enough punch to destroy the small, mostly wooden building they were using.
"The last memory the mujahedeen have of a real army here was the Soviets back in the 80's" Said Captain Robert Clark. "They remember them running away with their tails between their legs. They think they can show some misplaced half-hearted tenacity and we'll do the same."
Another shell exploded on the runway, hitting the remains of an abandoned Russian IL-76 military transport plane that never made it airborne. Long since scavenged for anything useful, the fuselage collapsed and smoldered in the dark.
"We'll do the same," Clark repeated as he stared out at the darkness. "The same as we've ever done, the same as we've trained for, we'll kick their asses back in their holes and finish off the bastards." Clark took his knife out and stabbed at the map. "This is the Shah-i-Kot Valley, this is where they fought the Russians, and this is where they'll run, where they think they're safe. This is where we'll show them a thing or two about American determination."
The next morning was cold and gray, which was perfect weather for a CIA Special Operations Group (SOG) intelligence meeting thought Clark. These meetings had become almost routine, with the latest satellite photos and human intelligence reports from across Afghanistan coming every day or two. The CIA/SOG liaison was a certain John Skelton, which was a most appropriate name for the CIA spook. The men had given him the nickname "Chuckles" behind his back, since he never, ever smiled.
"We've received credible info from one of our SF teams, call sign 'Texas 14', that the Taliban and al-Qaeda forces are gathering in the Shah-i-Kot Valley, south of Gardez. They appear to be using a network of caves and emplacements to shield themselves from our forces, as well as the winter. At this point there seems to be between 50 to 100 troops massed there, though they do seem to be steadily trickling in. We are awaiting confirmation of high value targets before committing troops." Skelton flipped through his pack nervously. "As some of you may have heard yesterday, the 101st Airborne Rangers took over the base at Kandahar from the Marines."
The men all let out a small laugh, "Yes, the Marines get to go back to their boats at last," joked Skelton as he pulled out some paperwork. "Well, most of them at least. JSOC is assigning one Marine scout sniper to 9th, Gunnery Sergeant Frank Redoubt, and he will be joining ODA-9118."
Clark shifted back in his seat. "We're getting a Marine huh?" he said. "Why, in JSOC's infinite wisdom, do they think we need a Leatherneck? I'm not about to complain about an additional gun, and a marksman at that, but I do love hearing how HQ thinks."
Skelton smiled, which was disturbing by itself. "You'll find out when he arrives tonight".