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Twelve is leaning on you but -- came fast and they.
All of the brutal dictator who won the most exhilarating moments from their courage and sacrifice.
I have not a good.
The battle to bring democracy to a struggling nation and -- fight a counterinsurgency.
One week they're with a -- -- the way Iraq fight.
In the fight for freedom.
-- -- In the spring of 2003 it took just three weeks for an American led coalition to fight its way to Baghdad.
And topple the regime of an evil dictator.
In the five years since we were first greeted as liberators.
The challenge of leaving Iraq better than we found it.
Proved to be demanding and dangerous Fox News was there and is there now documenting courage valor and sacrifice.
I'm Oliver North this is war stories tonight in this special -- we -- back in Operation Iraqi Freedom with never before seen battle footage.
An epic tales of courage compassion and commitment from those -- experienced.
Five years of war.
In the land between the rivers yeah.
After the 9/11 01 attack and subsequent liberation of Afghanistan.
The focus turned to Iraq.
President George W.
Bush secretary of state Colin Powell Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and CIA director George Tenet.
Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction.
And that dictator at a gruesome history of using.
Given what's happening in the world was going to Iraq important.
Going to Iraq was important.
Robert Scales is a retired army major general -- -- and Fox News contributor as long as a rock stood in the way diabolical.
Again that's stability.
We need we -- -- 17 march 2003.
The president sends a clear message to Saddam and his two sons.
Leave Iraq and 48 hours or face the consequences.
Their refusal to do so will result in military conflict.
And -- broad coalition is -- gathering to enforce.
And -- demands of the world.
Nearly a 170000.
American and coalition troops were amassed in the Kuwaiti desert poised for comeback.
We are that military action that you are about military action.
Among them the army's third infantry division including its second combat brigade commanded by colonel David Perkins.
Normal action for anything that may come your way the world is leaning on you.
There are essentially three American ball.
There was the third of division the first marine and her first airport.
General franks basically as a two pronged attack the army in the west greens and he's.
Going to invest back construction it was a good strategy for thinking that -- applicable left and -- knock out what was.
Never in the history.
Of warfare at any country fielded a unit.
Does well trained and is romance is brigade combat teams.
-- -- On my orders.
Coalition forces have begun striking selected targets of military importance.
Putting -- 8:30 PM in Baghdad.
Marine regimental combat team was five and seven of the tip of the spear for the push into Iraq.
And regimental combat team.
We actually have -- -- -- unfortunate little over 7000.
Marines sailors soldiers and British soldiers.
We first met then colonel Joseph done -- in march of 03.
When he was leaving -- leans in combat.
Initially come across where we were -- -- -- So we actually went eight hours and hours or regret those old apartment -- the destroy them.
He talked -- the soldiers before.
They would tell you this thing they hear those weapons of mass destruction.
-- -- Coalition troops were provided with perfect distance and equipment to shield them from chemical and biological agents was that -- something could -- Not only could we find that we did right.
It was extraordinarily cumbersome.
Difficult very difficult to move -- they'll communicate at that point we still view that it was a significant chemical threat.
During the invasion I wars stories producer -- Jenkins and I were initially embedded with HMM true sixty.
Agent -- 268.
-- the red dragons was marine medium helicopter squadron and flying -- support -- unfortunately it's.
Our first mission was right after the ground work -- When he won march 01 on the red dragons are part of the largest next time you were born assault -- his.
Employment -- and take -- Their mission -- British royal Marines feet behind enemy lines.
I was in -- won't believe bird float by squadron commander Jerry Chris.
-- was in dashed to.
We were probably halfway.
Along the route and then all of a sudden.
Worth -- look up.
You mind if I heard him come over the frequency power power power pull out immediately after that -- -- the corner of -- Thank you for.
But unlike game.
-- -- this huge 46 the united exploded into a fireball.
I remember thinking everybody's -- Some of the greatest people that -- -- be associated with us.
Terrific group of Marines.
Four US Marines and eight royal marine commandos were dead.
And I wonder.
Was grip on that work.
We proceeded -- -- -- up -- -- what did it and it ended -- shutting down.
I found out later rod that the -- support -- because certain oil wells have been lit up there was it drifting smoke wherever.
It was crossing.
Remaining -- return to their desert base.
And agonizing three hours later I learned grip wasn't on the down -- It was an emotional thing because he was glad I'd survived.
As dawn broke and 21 marked the third infantry.
The divisions Abrams tanks Bradley fighting vehicles and 20000 soldiers thundered across the desert.
We are still maybe kilometer half shy of the Iraqi water -- the electric fence right here.
One of more than 700 journalists embedded with coalition troops Fox News correspondent Greg Kelly -- -- third -- Look at that.
-- -- that American culture capturing -- -- We are actually.
Those high adventure -- overhang now a sergeant major and third ID was ready to take on -- army.
A -- Republican guards and Freddie.
When we got -- -- -- -- -- find that kind of set the stage for the rest -- -- -- into Baghdad.
First contact was putting for -- -- someone's.
Fighting alongside her name was Pennsylvania native Jason -- there was very significant systems there was about a telling plus there.
Predominantly seen haven't seen and takes days and -- And the enemy yeah.
The Marines met fierce resistance that I'm not -- -- Meanwhile brain breaks in the third -- Busch north fighting blistering battles.
The holy Shia cities of the job profile.
Five years later we found staff sergeant Jason when you -- -- probably serving his third tour in Iraq those early days of the war or Sears in his memory.
Tell me what that experience was like all the way to thing.
The very nerve -- you were.
Excited -- scared -- the same time.
After only ten days -- -- third ID was just sixty miles from Baghdad.
Up his humvee Gunner for notre was on the front line of the battle.
With no people that was armor we're gonna have Obama on the east and in you have doors -- my home these that was totally different programs.
Coming up third -- thunder runs into Baghdad.
Don't go away.
-- -- Don't believe them.
Saddam Hussein and his Information Minister known as Baghdad Bob.
We're living in denial.
-- out of -- everywhere in the country.
So I since the start of hostilities coalition aircraft have been striking targets and inside Iraq.
On the ground was -- an army units were closing inside Baghdad and another surrender.
Captain Jason -- remembers.
We ran a significant enemy contact.
There -- a lot of soldiers taking these are -- he's fired at us.
We got into the airport first light.
-- April 2003.
Fighting on the outskirts of Baghdad.
Then for Sargent Kim Campbell was -- Bravo company eleventh engineers.
During the battle to take Saddam international airport -- serve with sergeant first class Paul Smith whose platoon was constructing a POW holding area.
In the process of -- in his when he made that contact.
Specialist John -- Sargent Matthew -- were also there.
And they spotted it did to governor of Saddam his -- -- dollars.
Through you can hear AK 47 rounds -- In the distance you can see are speaking actually flying over the head of us sergeant Smith was -- the tipped -- exposed to enemy fire and he is firing.
It is but -- in his position.
That is just delivered.
It wasn't out characteristics war.
-- mortally wounded.
Paul Smith saved the lives of scores of Americans.
For his actions above and beyond the call of duty he was awarded the medal of honor.
The first in the war on terror Paul Smith in his life in order to protect his.
This is clearly be decisive fight.
Off the ground war.
Earlier that same -- Fox News cameras captured colonel David Perkins -- its soldiers as they prepare for visually and possibly.
-- results deep into Baghdad.
All of them run run.
-- never been out.
This complex brain.
In one it was intended as a than -- -- that would be essentially.
Saddam Hussein and his circle of him.
Perkins -- a -- of M one tanks and Bradley fighting vehicles break into the heart of Saddam's capital.
The thunder runs were an enormous.
News quickest route to Baghdad -- a little bit right -- that'll live at the -- and he -- -- Anytime but more importantly.
-- logic -- which was one big smash mouth.
-- of the center of Baghdad and convince even Baghdad.
It was a.
Like 8 April it was mission accomplished for the third ID -- one Saddam international airport objective to.
The regime district in Baghdad.
Meanwhile Jim Mattis ordered his Marines go heavy Connecticut all the way to Baghdad.
Closing in from the east was -- was lieutenant colonel Paul -- -- -- -- -- modern.
Tanks artillery and aircraft -- -- -- for us to move as quickly as possible and literally revenues was built over -- through.
They are -- that we generated continue to -- your -- -- would affect.
-- -- -- -- -- -- Shall invest goes an F eighteen pilot serving as a Forward Air controller -- -- We got the order to move in the Baghdad on April ninth.
9 April proved to be an historic day.
You are seeing history in the making right now US forces have -- into the heart of Baghdad the Iraqi People tore down a giant statue of Saddam.
Like that stubborn dictator himself -- resistance to the very end.
Iraqi People were exhilarated.
The prospect of freedom.
Iraqis are actually writing a hobby horse -- ahead of Saddam Hussein.
-- that statute.
Baghdad his -- -- liberation loses its lost.
That's next on -- story.
-- April 2003.
Baghdad finished Saddam.
But the fighting was an over.
The Marines are 65 still had to seize the fiercely defended Presidential Palace on the banks of the factors was one of the more challenging -- -- -- flight.
Five years later major -- -- recounts the bravery of young Marines.
-- Saddam's palace from Panamanians.
And you see young man.
That maybe a year or two before just got -- driver's license and now they're out there fighting fearlessly.
That -- changed man forever we had about a hundred a 150 -- pretty determined vote.
In and around that area and Ecstasy rings have been wounded -- balance.
-- -- red dragons were called -- to evacuate scores of wounded Marines submissions.
For me you know -- of why -- this -- that mission that was.
What was most difficult for.
-- was citing issues younger officers.
Would probably half or quarter of you're supplying an -- that I had.
Because I've not -- But war stories -- and restless young pilots more than themselves at the palace.
Under withering fire with -- she's being thrown over the wall they weren't lately.
Basically either by the cells with -- -- fifty caliber machine for protection.
And all the while they're taking every single -- that's will be out of the hole.
That was a tremendous.
Accomplishment to -- for.
At one point we landed.
Close to -- casual is preloaded embrace the board that -- -- Carrying a note that you scribbled on the sleeve open and Maria -- marks an important note said Kessler and his.
The grisly sex colonel -- effort sir -- send more -- of all types.
Respect fleas fast it was Michael -- I'm thinking to myself okay I'm right to a colonel the regimental commander I -- -- -- respect was I can't when I get the note knows what to swallow because I knew that.
In in a certain way what -- is really doing was telling me everything's okay.
-- you came back one more time on that now run right.
Pretty badly wounded I didn't even realize it was you -- was.
-- -- -- of what they'll have the Foreman there risking his own life just take care of me something else you never forget.
And industries -- thousands of Iraqi People given us a thumbs up saying thank you it was one of the most exhilarating moments from life.
-- very very powerful and that moment that felt like we -- them something.
The first marine division and US army's third infantry division in Baghdad.
Part of Iraq was worried.
The way -- holder's performance.
There are only worsens they just did everything they were supposed to do it well second brigade combat team -- these two palaces in Baghdad.
-- Nothing but the best course.
People just going crazy taking anything that wasn't.
The streets were filled with you know hundreds and thousands of people wants to rid of repression was lifted.
You know energy people was directed towards going after they felt where there's the effect of the images of food.
Was simply -- cost the American people to begin to question me.
That wisdom of the war.
Little -- was stopped by coalition forces officials in Washington at their first taste of what was the call.
Stuff happens freedom's untidy -- people are free to make mistakes and commit crimes and do bad things.
Like fifteen people Saddam's hometown of Tikrit was under US marine control.
Over your point.
Next day I road with a fifth Marines and -- -- forty miles north of Baghdad.
When you get consumer -- that mission changed from one.
One of occupation it's -- absolutely we recognized immediately that the the -- -- changed and we are able to walk around some no helmets or flak jackets people this.
Unfortunately the president flies out the USS Abraham Lincoln -- on the flight that gets out of -- who embraced by the sailors.
My fellow Americans.
Major combat operations and -- -- Big mistake in retrospect it was probably a mistake.
Munitions from various countries.
Jordan -- Bahrain -- All different -- When Central Command decided that the fourth infantry division would replace the Marines north of Baghdad.
War stories accompanied lieutenant colonel Larry peppered Jackson's battalion.
As they move into the city of page.
There they took control of an unprotected Iraqi Army depot one of nearly a hundred around the country.
Ordinance stolen from -- like this would help armed terrorists for years to come.
-- that's an American nations as world.
The -- fast liberation was an unprecedented success but when al-Qaeda took -- in Iraq.
All hell broke loose that's next on war stories.
With the fall of Saddam's dictatorship Iraq in chaos that desperate people's -- -- -- say it disappeared.
-- instrument of power that dreaded bath party was on the run their faces plastered around the world and most wanted posters and a deck of cards.
Number of times were received more than Saddam Hussein himself -- -- traveling Mario.
We were supposed -- the war plan include provisions.
For occupy -- senior military leaders clearly understood that the war -- -- Baghdad.
What was missing.
Was understanding of the magnitude.
Pretty much had lost all of their -- governance many institutions that you normally expect to fine.
And functioning society were were were gone.
The first -- -- post war reconstruction was retired army lieutenant general Jay Garner.
He was replaced on six may 2003 by Paul Bremer is senior administrator of the Coalition Provisional Authority.
It is my responsibility to help.
The Iraqi People turn Iraq into a stable.
-- Peaceful and prosperous country he immediately issued a controversial -- -- revocation order.
Back -- party members what that they school pictures or doctors or bureaucrats.
-- The bill and of course what that left was the -- The result.
One week later and -- -- -- EPA issued an even more contentious edict.
The dissolution of the Iraqi Army.
Angry young man armed with AK 47.
Our teams told to go home with bill money.
In the ensuing years Paul Bremer is explained his decisions.
I did not -- the army the army would be mobilized by itself didn't exist.
For the first few months after coalition forces liberated Iraq there was hope the country could be quickly stabilized.
We did not summer 2000 through some of -- -- In November 2003 war stories was once again embedded with the kind of -- -- Jackson in the fourth IP.
Like coalition troops elsewhere in Iraq -- -- had to secure vast stores of ordinance.
-- this controlled that destroyed hundreds of thousands of what Saddam accumulated.
The country was a walk.
What you're seeing now is that a lot of Iraqis -- armed some of the stuck in June.
-- coalition forces it was disaffected young man.
Would coalesce around -- A regional leader arm themselves and for paid -- The -- did this.
Sources a lot of guys were former public -- -- knew how to set up.
And ambushed and you that a complex tax.
Despite ominous signs there were successes.
By the end of 2003 the deck of cards was thinning.
And 22 July Uday and who say were killed by US troops in Mosul after they refused to surrender and on 14 December.
Ladies and gentlemen.
Removing -- watch this thing.
That if we just find and kill or capture Saddam movers and who say.
All the -- you -- that you deal with tribal societies.
That are decentralized.
Have been going at -- -- -- Colonel Joseph Don for commanded -- -- five during the invasion returned to Iraq in the fall of 03.
When we return and we recognize the nature of the fight changed and that wasn't growing church and worse if news.
This is a -- -- province Iraq's largest the predominantly Sunni cities of Fallujah thirty miles away ramadi the capital.
All the way to help time on the Syrian border this became a battleground for the future of Iraq.
We did not expect any hot style population to -- yes we got there.
Lieutenant colonel Paul Kennedy returned to Iraq -- commanding officer second battalion fourth Marines.
Attached to the army's brigade combat team -- in ramadi.
Kennedy and his Marines and felt the wrath of the lead content the general feeling pressed.
You know and by the time that was a big apprehension that they'll be left out of affairs and government and resources.
Marine sergeant Luke Cassidy was -- ramadi had become that program insurgent -- taking place because of reasons largely untested.
It's still -- 2004.
Soldiers I think they thought because we've taken a lighter approached him.
Trolling -- knocking on doors apparently people very courteous that it felt we'd be an easy mark.
Reacting very violently.
Very strong violent reactions.
-- -- Report its centralized place across greatly.
We could win the conflict.
With the US effort there's been absolutely.
Their ranks decimated by the Americans.
Sunni terrorists resorted to planting improvised explosive devices IED's.
These roadside bombs became the scourge of US troops.
You don't know who you're enemy as.
You're driving on the road.
-- a group of people.
Thanks in no idea blows we got there -- were normally single small caliber artillery shells.
The bonds got more lethal it.
They started using if you -- nineties when his party's.
We didn't expect anything they got bigger and better times.
That became part of complex ambushes and we had multiple heart disease multiple.
The insurgency waged by disaffected Saddam loyalists.
Was now exploited by a new and more sinister enemy.
That's went -- I -- And took over the reins of leadership that's when insurgency turned diabolical things that we all had no fear.
Insurgency rise US troops confront an adversary that requires new tactics my views and weapons.
The war's bloodiest days are next on -- school.
By 2004 the battlefield in Iraq had changed dramatically.
We have gone from fighting high intensity conflict and our fight an insurgency.
Took a lot of training a lot of change of mind that only got -- we had no harm.
Soldiers and Marines like sergeant -- actually in the second battalion fourth Marines applied American ingenuity as a staff.
Whose idea it was this additional -- that's what.
Companies commanders idea that some of the -- got -- injured from a high -- so they decided to extend the -- India side arming it against the -- a little more protections.
And at -- they don't yet fairly well that is particularly that -- -- -- And as.
The threat begin to grow in the city that we received.
About fifty apartment.
And talk to and most union leaders -- Then they would be doing as much civic action.
Full blown military operations we elected him around and you might -- So.
Even though they don't have a lot of background that would help us with the adapted to it pretty well that is the greatest thing that the Americans vote yeah.
-- Not his ability to engage the enemy but his ability create trust.
-- It's amazing to see them absolutely.
Tender at the same time.
When al-Qaeda in Iraq.
-- -- -- led by Jordanian born Abu Musab Al Zarqawi used terror to prevent Americans and Iraqis from rebuilding the country.
You're just left a school -- revitalization project.
An improvised explosive device exploded and left front wheel well my vehicle.
By September 2004 he can that he was one of hundreds of American casualties to ITT's.
Broken both my lower part of -- so violent it -- in half you know shrapnel injuries and all of the body before.
Like many on the battlefield sergeant Cassidy survive thanks -- the courage and skill of army medics and -- Orman.
As we begin the long process of recovering his Brothers in arms were -- on the terrorist stronghold.
We're hoping -- our crowd was going to be.
Seven of them.
Kept them -- John fascism of 50000.
Soldiers and Marines who battled in the Fallujah during operation phantom who.
My firepower we just put in that tank rounds -- From the GB and you know on our stripes are confident lot of firepower.
But there those are -- slipped away the terrorists were driven from the city so -- good job.
Shortly after the city was secured relives what -- make it arrived in Fallujah as a combat correspondent.
We -- in the bank.
Getting everything Saturday getting everything back.
-- chased out of Fallujah and al-Qaeda terrorists continued into the country from Syria.
To cut these rat lines green regimental combat team who launched operation matador in May 2000 -- Winning and -- that operation there.
Came into the public affairs office I was skeptical he.
And I think he just -- -- US forces had and that area too much and has pretty lawless.
-- reservist Lance corporal mark -- was part of third battalion second Marines.
A man -- motives are.
As we made our way.
Just I -- house by house.
Congress we have closed -- him.
Nor was coming in around.
And we were ignored me slant everything and to -- to move the date of today and it.
Changed your life forever for me and me.
Lose -- 101000.
-- drive in fact.
And we are -- objective I was on security song like my optimistic about it.
Tracked on the hatch opened up and it's -- I felt that he's out of track.
It's nice I was on fire.
It was all black.
Occasional -- some bright -- and fire.
That we definitely weekend -- -- -- Let's start our second stop governmental -- -- look at my sleeves.
Time and -- I knew I was on fire.
I enrolled in -- the world and got to the point where.
I knew I was going to and -- But I think people can -- -- -- -- gravity and -- Carry the office.
And Leon later and worked our way.
And they -- accountability and they always drop me.
-- I thought I was going to get -- -- myself and I decided it was safer to stay with him again.
Both -- in Macon were evacuated to Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio Texas.
They were among the 53 Americans killed and wounded.
In operation medical.
We gather here at a memorial service.
In honor our fallen comrades.
We look at all people here I -- I.
Want to be here tonight and honor these men.
Proves the saying is true do you senses blood today -- Jumping up front these.
Are fallen Brothers.
And we're here to honor their sacrifice.
The last time I was here -- body nor American could be on the streets without body armor and a helmet.
What changed and why when war stories contain.
The process of building a secure and self governing Iraq is not just the work of Americans -- the coalition partner.
The Iraqis themselves have stepped up -- -- -- to join their security -- Increased security is improved prospects for democracy.
And 15 December 2005.
The Iraqis held their first.
Multi party of legislative elections and who would be a high turnout I knew that Iraqi People wanted to do some of them better themselves.
And turned out they did.
Nearly 70% of eligible voters cast ballots in a lot of bar where Sunni violence had been -- -- was a new sense of unity.
In many ways al-Qaeda over played.
Q why it was trying to enforce -- very strict form.
Islam and the Iraqis we are finally got up and -- -- -- -- -- something about it.
-- -- -- It all began with a -- Sunni sheik Abu Sattar Abu -- He called -- people to fight al-Qaeda and worked with the Americans to build a better Iraq al-Qaeda offered them.
The worst case scenario the chief of police and said to us that the front of the Taliban and al-Qaeda connection that.
No cave in Afghanistan it's gonna tell them -- -- -- And September 2007 Sheikh Sattar was murdered by a roadside bomb but the movement he began his worst.
More stories return dialogue -- -- in December the city had been transformed.
Foreign terrorists and al-Qaeda will never have a sanctuary here in ramadi again.
Really attacks -- all.
Against coalition forces and civilians.
Have dropped from 35 -- -- for less than war.
We are part of the surge.
The surge of additional American troops began in January 2007 that many in the third -- he would have to make a third year long deployment to Iraq.
With the search brought in wars 20000 more American soldiers that was terrific.
But what brought in more importantly.
Listen the guy in charge -- Petraeus with the new stretch.
How effectively can run a counterinsurgency campaign at least.
When you first came into this here.
It was -- bad neighborhood.
No record please -- -- -- orbital bone structure.
About 300 al-Qaeda fighters and a population.
They do not trust us because they thought we were gonna leave quickly.
Pathetic little -- AG commands first but -- thirtieth infantry.
His soldiers worked closely with what they called the concerned local citizens movement.
The concern is his program -- model awful what happens Anbar Province which takes off -- we knew coming in and early June we -- -- and organizational.
Like that tomato they set up checkpoints -- -- sort of ours -- secure their own streets like are racking neighborhood -- and neither has been ordered.
And it's pretty clear it is creating an environment in Iraq that's secure and stable and far.
In December 2007 war stories what -- major general Rick Lynch CG -- third ID see out things that changed in this area of operation.
We've always says he and stayed here.
Is in Iraq at peace with its neighbors and ally -- the -- on -- Those here -- a great job they are making the deficit we see it every day where I think the search.
Has been successful.
It is that we have put the force -- Well -- -- quarter.
We have to exploit the small window of opportunity.
It's actually one of their lives they are with a -- -- the way.
More war stories from Iraq.
Just ahead don't go away.
In the five years since Operation Iraqi Freedom began.
Tens of thousands of American men and women have returned through multiple tours of duty.
I'm so it's -- do.
My responsibilities -- On his third tour of duty sergeant Jeremy who served with -- sergeant Paul Smith was killed in action.
Why do they re enlist and volunteers that these -- a lot of their blood sweat and they go back because they're afraid that some there -- will be left.
Doubt guys trust them slept on strike if I can go to Iraq right now.
Since the explosion there and make -- -- endured over thirty surgeries.
He also married his girlfriend.
And had a -- An event as a father my children will be cure its.
Want to know why I looked land I have there's just this.
I would hope that they understand what.
-- -- this one person what I did and who's trying to -- people.
After being hit by the IED -- Cassidy was fitted for a prosthetic leg at Walter Reed and have to step idea.
And is today a police officer in Pittsburgh.
Her body heals up insolvent mind -- you can.
They were just has been as tough as their fathers and grandfathers and -- -- legacy and tradition.
Despite five years of brutal battle in Iraq the courage and tenacity of America's soldiers sailors airmen Guardsmen and Marines is unsurpassed.
Those who served and sacrificed.
Have given people in the land between the rivers reason to hope for the future.
Theirs is a war story that deserves to people.
I'm Oliver North.
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