By Ray Starmann
There are several things to note concerning the Delta Force raid on the ISIS prison in Northern Iraq.
One, Master Sergeant Joshua Wheeler was killed during combat operations against ISIS forces. This is not a “non-combat” death, nor was it a non-combat operation as the White House claims. According to the official story, the Delta Force troopers were acting as advisers. If this is true, they were certainly advisers in a danger close operation, where if called upon to assist, they would.
Secondly, the media has overwhelmed the American public with countless tales and reporting on the NAVY SEALS. While the SEALS are a fine unit, they are not the only special operations force in the US toolbox. Delta exists as well. While their mission is slightly different, they do overlap on many things with the SEALS. Americans should be just as proud of Delta Force as they are of the SEALS. Delta is more low-key, as they should be. They operate in the shadows, in some dark corners of the world most people would never even want to have a nightmare about.
And, finally, this raid on ISIS, to save a group of men about to be executed is a perfect example of what the US and NATO could really do to ISIS if they had the will. But, they don’t. Imagine 20 of these missions a night with special operations forces sweeping in low from the clouds, double-tapping the bad guys, and dragging a couple thugs away by their Andrew Weil beards for some tactical questioning.
It’s time for the West and particularly the Obama administration to get tough and send ISIS to the gates of Hades where they belong.
The first American soldier to be killed fighting on the ground against ISIS was a twenty-year veteran Special Forces sergeant, it was announced today.
Master Sergeant Joshua Wheeler, 39, was killed during a raid in northern Iraq this week to rescue 69 Iraqis who were about to be executed by ISIS.
MSgt Wheeler is believed to have been a member of the Army’s top secret Delta Force, and his unit was supporting Kurdish fighters in the raid on the ISIS stronghold on Hawija.
Although the US commandos were not initially planning to directly take part in the raid, when the Kurdish fighters got pinned down by ISIS they joined the fight at which point MSgt Wheeler was killed.
He is the first US serviceman to be killed in Iraq since the withdrawal of troops in 2011.
‘They were pinned down and they were beginning to take casualties, so the Americans in the heat of battle made a decision’ an Army spokesman said.
Six ISIS fighters were arrested and more than 20 were reportedly killed in the operation.
MSgt Wheeler joined the Army in 1995 after graduating from Muldrow High School in Muldrow, Oklahoma. He joined the elite Special Operations Command in 2004 and had been deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan 11 times.
Wheeler initially joined as an infantryman with the 24th Infantry Regiment, he transferred to the Army Rangers in 1997 where he completed three deployments before joining Delta Force and deploying to Iraq and Afghanistan 11 another times.
The raid in which he was killed was the most significant against Islamic State since May, when American special operations forces killed one of its senior leaders, Abu Sayyaf from Tunisia, in a raid in Syria.
The hostages rescued in the raid were all Arabs, including local residents and Islamic State fighters held as suspected spies, a U.S. official said.
The official told Reuters that around 20 of the hostages were members of Iraqi security forces.
‘Some of the remainder were Daesh (Islamic State) … fighters that Daesh thought were spies,” the official said. “The rest of them were citizens of the local town’.
U.S. Army Colonel Steve Warren, spokesman for U.S.-led coalition in Iraq, said the possibility that Americans were among the hostages was not a consideration in carrying out the operation.
Some of the rescued people said Islamic State militants had told them they would be executed after morning prayers, Warren said.
The U.S. forces were acting as advisors then were sucked into the battle when Kurdish fighters came under heavy fire, he explained.
“They were pinned down and they were beginning to take casualties, so the Americans in the heat of battle made a decision,” he said.
Air strikes were launched before and after the mission to block approaches to the prison and destroy it afterward, the U.S. defense official said.
Hawija is a stronghold of Islamic State militants who have captured several dozen Kurdish peshmerga fighters in battle.
Islamic State, also known as ISIS, has been for more than a year the target of daily air strikes in Iraq and Syria by a U.S.-led coalition.