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Tonight -- war stories.
44 days and nights of combat in Operation Iraqi Freedom.
War stories is there with -- first marine expeditionary force and later with the army's fourth infantry division.
From the front lines dramatic pictures we could kill you until now.
From gunship attacks on enemy armor.
For the rescue -- wounded troops from I don't see it.
And a special edition of war story.
Good evening I'm Oliver North and welcome to this special edition of war stories.
This is part of the -- that's an ocean of wind whipped -- and got.
And for the soldiers sailors airmen Marines and Guardsmen and Operation Iraqi Freedom this track list does.
Has become an unforgiving adversary in the fierce -- to liberate -- people.
From there and I wasn't worrying that this battlefield for fox news with the first expeditionary force and the fourth infantry division.
I love the opportunity of being with the people who -- -- history.
As a young lieutenant in Vietnam.
I remember going young man dying on the heels of that some of them while responding to my work.
Mercifully Operation Iraqi Freedom -- as far fewer casualties than most other possible case.
But the end of April when combat operations ceased -- stability security operations began.
Central Command announced that a 132 Americans have made the ultimate sacrifice.
The border in 95 for.
This is our wartime chronicle some of the extraordinary American soldiers sailors airmen Guardsmen and Marines.
Once again -- -- Sometimes die for the freedom of others.
It was the second time we faced a familiar and -- act.
This time the regime of Saddam Hussein was swept from Iraq like it's from a picnic table.
But on the eve of battle that cost of victory was unknown.
It was a -- -- in the -- peninsula so it on the -- -- seven oil wells and acrid smoke mixed with blowing sand.
I've been embedded -- -- and 260.
-- medium helicopter squadron known as the red dragons.
Before sunrise and they won four of these Marines would be dead.
Remember when it's exciting and expect connect.
Their mission but chief tactical surprise two hours before the first bombs drop in Baghdad.
So -- pick it up and that.
And again next step up and down.
-- -- The US jobs are poised for the largest fuel borne assault in history.
Take British royal Marines of fourteen commando feet behind enemy lines.
Primary -- CH 46 unites the venerable 35 year old workhorse of the Marine Corps.
I'm in the lead we're told by squad commander lieutenant colonel -- So when -- minutes into the operation.
What I'd like camera dash three CH 46 explodes into a fireball.
Eight well marine commandos and for US Marines -- -- Half hour later.
Whether causes the mission to be aboard.
-- Was it wise to that mission.
Absolutely and it is part of played it well it did not go we get.
Did this -- lost some good stories that wolverines in the the royal Marines were able to still get it done the next day.
And it -- activists that was something should.
After daybreak the red dragons begin their primary mission in Operation Iraqi Freedom as a back.
Providing air ambulances from the battlefield to wounded marine.
CH 46 out of the twelve footers slamming the birds and to -- highly trained navy medical form.
This is -- hospital and Tom Barry -- Jason -- With fierce fighting under way and as reopening the Marines.
And injured enemy combatants and civilians were evacuated to an army shock trauma hospital set up just outside the town.
Late today a marine corp would -- -- and we shrapnel or stomach had to be brought aboard the -- stabilize.
But this got in the way of getting -- that -- -- -- medical it's called a short.
A -- flow from hell towering over 101000 feet was a swirling orange cloud of winding grip which came -- sixty miles an hour.
Despite the Lotus way to more than twelve times the birds were tossed around like an unbalanced global war -- Pilot -- an -- berg was forced to set the chopper down near the front lines -- weakness in storm out.
But it wasn't safe the enemy was too close and -- that wouldn't fly had to be moved.
-- -- -- With perimeter protection provided by M sixteens and fifty caliber machine guns.
-- told the aircraft miles to a more secure area.
Inside the -- -- -- navy corpsman.
-- wounded marine hang tough for more than thirty hours.
-- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- The storm -- -- but the -- is out of commission.
Its engines -- would -- Passing -- response to a radio call for help.
And the wounded marine is a vacuum eventually all the way to Ramstein Germany for surgery.
For the pilot captain afterward it was a mission he'll never forget.
Funding for the enemy who played attack squadron 67.
And two birds go down that Iraqi.
Stay with us for more war stories Iraq.
That's -- order.
-- -- -- Baghdad is being bombed around the clock -- cruise missiles and strike aircraft carriers in the Persian gulf.
On the ground the Marines have crossed the Euphrates and tigris rivers.
They're -- and in Baghdad from the east.
Sort of -- and the commanding officer of -- -- five.
The tip of us here how big is -- -- and that -- At various times it did it range between about 6500 and almost 8000 throughout the war.
-- didn't quite armored cars.
-- it's three -- amateurs or it was a great thing.
We're Wrigley Field forward argument recently -- better known as the far.
Mean that the Major League Baseball parks this is one of more than twenty that would set up in Iraq.
-- -- aircraft refueling rearm close to the front.
His combat units of move up to thirty or more miles today the Favre had a LeapFrog forward just to keep -- One of the challenges is that you were moving so fast some say you -- -- supplies.
I would say it we didn't help run the supplies we certainly -- them to the -- when it but play like serving things like fuel water challenge those things.
We were able to keep the pace and keep movements I don't think we ever stop.
Which ran out of supplies -- which we have more maneuverable local level because porch.
At various points -- you encourage some very stiff resistance from regular Iraqi Army units and -- Republican guards.
And then the -- This described to me what you think of of those as as an enemy force.
I actually think we -- probably 45 different.
Finished -- when.
Very tough to the world by it was one significant action -- -- -- -- this -- to -- about a hundred newspapers of which.
Along highway one.
You know we had some individuals.
-- it's a little bit longer but the little training that it was it was not the level it -- victories.
That's where that's where the difference in many cases I think they -- the Willis standards right.
These are individual acts of graver by the enemy that never wants to receive combined arms integrated do.
And it's significant contact some of the irregulars.
Which in retrospect perhaps.
So good evening -- really death squads Saddam Hussein.
Some regular army perhaps Republicans -- -- leadership but by and large mostly.
People thrown hastily into.
You know if that is -- -- As they move they had to know where the enemy was brutal Bob writes the commander of marine on an aerial vehicles like that were true.
Things -- to fly an airplane.
And yet the remarkably successful at gathering intelligence.
-- an area.
-- -- live only launched.
Wrigley this is an expeditionary.
Arming and refuel it.
None around 35 flight hours -- about.
Just to help.
This is about a six British.
It is pretty rough -- It's very helpful.
Listen -- your guys spotted them enemy tanks.
-- We spot and -- exact spot and it bad guys about it.
Little vehicle into the heart and soul of this thing.
The camera which the engines engine is -- He cycle snowmobile and -- That's available and I expect him.
9000 dollar aircraft was piloted like -- remote controlled airplanes.
Real time visual intelligence being down to the marine ground combat command.
They're slow they're noisy.
And vulnerable to ground fire.
-- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- Here originally drew sixty -- fingers take -- and -- them.
And a hunter killer mission.
This mission production Republican guards and their or.
From the morning of April 6 I wrote that -- Recon mission just north of Baghdad.
-- -- -- -- -- -- -- Not serious enough to bring us down but their dash warrant was forced to land because it -- a fuel line.
-- pilot described what happened.
-- -- Three hours -- the lead virtually -- People -- fly offer for the repair.
The threat of chemical weapons -- -- This equipment can be worked for 45 days without being intimidated at 24 hours -- contaminated.
So he's basically at the mercy of how long -- The troops are prepared would mop suits and two million dollar rolling nuclear biological chemical laboratory.
For the Marines also rely on Gerald DNC.
-- That's on war story.
The threat of Saddam using biological or chemical weapons in the second gulf war was very real.
This -- of tens of thousands of his own people in 1991.
Is one of the most egregious example of his brutality.
This is a chart on the how to prevent and treat can put their.
-- the seven the bunkers.
An area around right here.
What are the things that everyone prepared for him and thought was a distinct -- -- was the use of chemical or biological weapons against -- will.
You're -- Marines were in.
-- -- For days.
It was was that equipment necessary and is that equipment so -- could -- Not only could -- we did.
Thought it for a couple weeks -- a couple of weeks more.
And our troops were equipped with state of the art mop suits and chemical -- here.
Ward -- -- Ferguson how long can be where this equipment.
So this equipment can be -- for 45 days without being contaminated -- 44 hours and contaminated pork.
There's a voice -- -- this that if he needs to give orders as a staff sergeant what he can beat her.
-- -- That's what in the front -- more than that on the side of facility she's come equipment such as telephone and held radios.
Source or -- would you uncomfortable also.
In addition at a cost of two million dollars each it was a rolling nuclear biological and chemical reconnaissance system.
A three man crew was able to detect and identify chemical and radiological contamination on the battlefield.
As far as three and a half miles away but the fifth Marines also put their faith in something else.
This is Geraldine -- -- picked up for a dollar on the streets of Kuwait.
When we first got here the chickens we got word healthy -- -- -- except for the one that.
-- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- From Mobile, Alabama Lance corporal Barry -- And -- -- look at it.
Where else everybody to vehicles domestic.
A few and -- later Geraldine is a lean mean Powell marine.
We use it's it.
Chicken determine there's terrorism here.
If there's nerve agent they're more susceptible humans and -- first which indicates that we need to go in the -- for which -- -- -- At a gas mask on NBC.
Also joining Geraldine in the battlefield -- to pigeons.
-- -- salt.
What's the best thing city.
Yet and that's what the -- April 10 fifth Marines are moving out again -- Geraldine in -- What are the things that is.
The mission one of the missions -- used to shoot so it was -- couldn't use his weapons of mass destruction.
None have yet been there -- Suspicions so these products -- surprised.
What did -- militarized society was places -- -- so I think it wouldn't surprise -- -- Some of these things that it -- Virtually every public building every -- every grow on trees.
Was filled with boxes and boxes and -- Weapons what.
But the fifth -- didn't find any weapons of mass destruction they did learn who's been selling all kinds of other weaponry to Saddam.
Some and -- personnel using niners.
Got that personnel -- and.
Quite -- there won't -- small devices.
-- -- -- -- -- -- Northern us and prudent and personal friends.
Up next the fifth Marines take over one of Saddam's Presidential Palace.
And the red -- evacuate more than seventy wounded Marines under.
Guys are absolutely.
Most courageous that I ever seen.
CH 46 guys are doing -- -- The bloody fight for a Presidential Palace.
That -- near Baghdad.
Don't believe them.
Doubt no way that this is -- little group.
-- Iraqi Army was on the run.
US army's third infantry division was attacking the city from the -- -- target to Saddam international airport.
But the same time the fifth Marines were fighting their way -- from the east along the Tigris River and the poverty we saw was appalling.
-- -- -- I think it's a good look at this series there's -- the last preserve people's houses.
Look at this I know is it that they did it about the this that this -- the city garbage don't look at this.
-- -- -- -- One -- all of the protesters are.
That that never broke.
For people like.
Rolling up to a site that we've encountered over and over.
Saddam converted schools public buildings even mosques in the weapons depots arsenals.
-- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- These Iraqi prisoners of war were captured by the fifth Marines within days most of them would be returned to their families.
And April 10 -- given to 68 -- the casualty evacuation mission.
The hottest -- -- I've ever been in Saddam's Presidential Palace in Baghdad.
That's captain John -- and every -- He's the Forward Air controller for first battalion fifth Marines and his job today -- helicopters into the -- landing zone.
-- CH 46 guys in the third marine air -- -- absolute heroes.
-- they would come in under heavy enemy fire.
While the enemy was not only trying to hit him with machine gun but as well -- -- -- of the -- as they were taking off again.
It's a bloody day and night.
73 he did release of the evacuate.
We were en route to take guys Saddam's palace in downtown Baghdad just east of the Tigris River.
As we proceeded down out of northern part of Baghdad into the Central Park we -- under significant enemy fire involved that I teams and the special Republican guards.
By about 4 o'clock in the morning we arrived at the actual ballots.
Knock down the palace -- And I came down there to -- -- -- Saddam's house but Uday -- house.
Which -- north and south within the house side confines.
Morning we came out of Baghdad.
One of our -- place.
I've -- raises should balance.
And it was a blazing guns cars smoke.
The way and so we had about a hundred a 150 you have pre determined -- In -- around that area that was certainly some of the toughest fight.
As we land at Saddam's backyard at the palace captain -- -- races aboard the CH 46 and pins you know.
Requesting an emergency resupply of -- -- -- -- on board the helicopter to tell the air crew the pilots that were flying the birds.
That on the next Ron I want them to bring me back a lot of ammo as much they could carry and I noticed that there is a distinguished looking.
-- and that -- recognize from somewhere in the past.
Somewhere and he's I looked nice after that he was Oliver North and he gave me the thumbs up.
So what I did as I reached into my pocket and that -- got a camera wrap my arms around Oliver North and not snapped a real quick photo.
And then -- you know high five and I raced back out of the helicopter to get back in the battle.
That note you put my hand has ordered sentence colonel -- for -- sort of it -- also -- sprint all you can.
-- -- -- Six hours into the -- captain -- who himself was wounded and had to be effectively.
It was my 33 birthday got such a good start your 33 birthday actually I was hit in the right direction.
A piece of fragmentation from a rocket propelled grenade got caught between -- bone and muscle.
And now ironically I have to take my hat off to the -- these guys are absolutely phenomenal.
He was able to get that fragmentation out of my -- right there on the scene.
Patch me up and -- allowed me to stay in the fight for several more hours before I had to get medevac out.
I've been told that based on what he did that day captain John -- always been recommended.
For a heroic decoration.
Reflecting his courage that the Presidential Palace landings of.
Helicopters like this -- crucial for mobility in the does sometimes didn't make our cameras were there.
That's next on -- story.
No military forces this.
So we're going so far so fast so.
Pathetic -- -- Monday is an officer of the third battalion fifth Marines.
I don't think the Iraqi Army was.
-- I think it could have been had -- been better -- I think for weeks -- -- Combined arms back.
Ground -- sporting arms.
Possibly force them to break earlier.
And they expect.
But that's a big way that you guys back -- -- still.
Artillery and mortar did -- did and I have the.
This assault amphibious vehicle was more of more than 700 miles from the Iraqi border but that's.
And -- the outskirts of Baghdad.
This is probably one of the toughest neighborhoods in this whole country.
Soldiers soldiers put the ball.
Those are good and they're all -- here you and it.
-- they're they're.
We'll go forward here.
Yeah -- -- -- -- overnight it will get better.
But among the smiling faces there's still those who want.
As the area was secure Africans were revealed it.
We did play date with the -- court for the last three weeks and we've become very good or bad they've become very.
And they're flying birds that are older than certainly.
And it's got its act I think I'm probably old older than here for a everybody else's problem like.
Did that ever become an issue.
Only when they wanted to.
You were wounded in this war still in 99%.
Chance -- survive.
And that's because.
Of the remarkable medevac and -- of that system that was set up.
-- -- wounded marine or soldier was picked up from the battlefield he was treated aboard the helicopter -- -- -- army shock trauma center.
Move forward right behind where the battle was taking place army doctors and medics took them from the helicopters directing the search.
And then after doing immediate work to save lives sent them out but that -- put them -- the Kuwait sixty US army helicopter.
-- -- a high speed back to Kuwait.
Just yards from -- there in the Marines still took casualties requiring navy corpsman and Marines to evacuate and treat their wounded.
And sometimes even -- Most Iraqi soldiers were very young but some -- not.
The chief of staff of the special Republican guard and his driver were killed when they refused to stop at a marine check.
And if that's not what it -- and what appears.
To have about.
Bottom on the side of the -- -- -- Ten miles away from Baghdad.
That I get from the people around here about the -- to -- at the occupied space -- -- while.
We want to investigate the general's quarters.
Marines found little besides propane tanks the villagers said there were a lot of weapons in the area.
What would you think when you saw all of those things through investments that goes for all those vehicles.
Relatively few of those but -- Did more than that at least initial engagement.
The one have never seen a place more militarized and correct it just shows incredible -- -- was -- whose country.
But there was no rhyme or reason to the location of they were not in positions where.
You would expect to see an organized with the defense they were really think protection against expected aviation campaign.
Supposedly don't -- -- ground.
The explosive ordnance disposal units at a dangerous mission.
This is an H one cobra flying all explore.
And this is a -- that was literally blown out of the sky and April 14.
My secondary explosions and an Iraqi munitions depot and.
-- -- -- -- -- -- -- They don't think.
-- it -- that in the birds.
First it was big went.
There's no other way you way more.
If in fact it looked like it happened here.
These pilots didn't believe in miracles before this crash.
They surely had to afterwards.
Coming up we join the army's fourth infantry division as they take control of Saddam's -- in his home town different.
I think the best for -- -- The Iraqis are actually writing a hobby horse on the head of Saddam Hussein.
On April ninth the Iraqi people with the help of the US Marines finally top.
It makes you wonder why the branch and although.
Country could -- Don't be a better place -- That's nicest thing that older -- -- person.
Who sees that operations both -- bully pulpit -- -- Effort to establish law -- lose.
Combatant civilians -- -- We got indications that us bases were going to change would -- that.
We -- gonna go from one type of operate.
And -- collecting -- Baghdad and Saddam's hometown Tikrit and friendly hands are fox team was reassigned.
And we joined the army.
And it's no easy mission assigned to the fourth infantry.
-- probably -- error.
It landed in North Africa in 1940 -- have fought across the things that you thought that Norman.
And these young men behind me and -- the legacy of this great student division originally planned at a -- from the war when Turkey refused access to US troops to.
Fourth I think it was left in the Mediterranean and able to be actively engaged in the first days of the war.
Undeterred it's 30000 troops and 141000.
Books and sail through the Suez Canal.
And then into Iraq.
-- target wars in Iraq Tikrit samarra Saddam's ancestral home.
It was considered the last place Iraq where Hussein loyalists might hold out miracle so -- always room.
Pettigrew -- Jackson's third the same 66 -- forthrightly.
It's one of the most technologically advanced divisions in the whole army who also.
It was digitize that -- digital -- the -- -- yes we do have a neat stuff.
And I think that the younger soldiers really get a kick out.
I came from -- -- -- much much like.
A service that you came from with the old maps and -- And for me is a great tool would not want to go to war without the -- -- to another -- equipment that would.
It's not all.
Computers and high tech.
After more than eighty hours of driving the convoy we arrived in Tikrit.
And drove right to Saddam's palace.
-- -- -- opulent residents have been abandoned like always other palaces the rooms -- -- hasty retreat.
Saddam's palaces were universally ostentatious.
And tacky it was marble.
What appeared to be secondhand store -- -- -- brand -- television and a fifteen year old Michael Dylan Walsh China and marble and gold.
And then knock off -- -- from Romania.
Remarkable thing about Saddam's palaces that they overlook some of the most beautiful -- and all of Iraq.
Just outside of all of them you'd find homes without electricity.
Running water -- and yet proved that it wouldn't be suffering this people.
-- -- the profits of oil from his own personal fortune.
The army turned it into the headquarters for the first will be the fourth infantry division.
Nothing but the best for -- -- that's the unit responsible for security and sustainment operations.
But for Nvidia and another Saddam loyalists -- still in the area.
Then it was commander of the first brigade of the fourth ID security to written in this part of Iraq -- Saddam Hussein.
But our soldiers -- up to the rest -- I think it's a little bit tough because now you don't know who in the majors and he is dressed like the normal civilian person -- So you really have -- regard we have been vigilant in terms of are you your future missions you have to be Smart about how you do it and folks just have to keep their game.
Game face on and keep their their eyes and ears open.
Two nights ago we just conducted.
Patrol and we came on Iraqis loading trucks with ammunition they fired -- -- Return fire ended up killing approximately fourteen Iraqis.
Yeah those drops -- no such an American nations as world.
All over the country found stockpiles of weapons and ammunition.
And warehouses filled with the -- this is the ammo depot north of Tikrit.
And it is -- about 27 kilometers square.
It is -- and ammunition from almost every country and there's some stuff fairly good shape.
Beautiful wallet this you know.
The condition of boxes.
That -- men's room.
Paris -- but it about 400 small arms cache -- And it gets about 200.
Bunkers and approximately 500 -- stand on instruction.
-- -- various types.
Artillery and -- out.
About the -- -- there are some must a messy seventh it's announced identified in some of the metal buildings.
We've identified those secure those.
Can tell us what good journalists and identified.
Jordan and Bahrain and -- there.
All different types.
Keeping these weapons at the hands of the -- -- terrorists became the number one priority.
The toughest double ball was still ahead -- civil affairs who will win the -- in the minds of the of the Iraqi civilians.
America sold here.
And it doesn't matter how long it takes.
With a 66 armored regiment and there Abrams tank.
And Operation Iraqi Freedom more war stories are just ahead.
Bill -- the late great Pulitzer Prize winning World War II cartoonist.
Once wrote that -- is when you know -- -- -- So what is here with Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Iraq is not yet at -- American troops are still being shot at from the shadows -- remnants of equivalency.
The Islamic extremists have and -- Iraq vowing -- vigilance remains the watts.
Some -- the 229000.
Americans from all fifty states and the 49 members of our Coalition of the Willing.
A salute for their service and sacrifice.
Theirs is a war story that deserves to people.
For fox news' Oliver North.
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