This came across the email machine from Alex Quade - just in time for Memorial Day weekend; Alex's way of saying thanks to all who've served our nation. This story about a 10th Special Forces Group Operational Detachment "Alpha" in combat required years of blood-sweat-and-tears . . . and fighting to get it finally told - S.L.
War reporter Alex Quade covering 10th Special Forces Group. (Photo courtesy Alex Quade)
A disclaimer: Freelance War Reporter Alex Quade embedded long-term with Operational Detachment Alpha Teams of the 10th Special Forces Group in Diyala province, Iraq in 2007 and 2008. One of those “A- Teams” was ODA-072. Quade covered their pre-mission training at Fort Carson, Colorado and followed up with them and their families through the years. Per Special Operations Command embed guidelines: no last names of operators were used; military public affairs officers in Iraq, as well as at Fort Carson reviewed every frame of Quade’s video to ensure no techniques, tactics & procedures are revealed. Also, 10th Special Forces Group Operational Detachment number designations changed after 2007. Most Team members retired or moved on. They shared their personal photos. Alex Quade returned to Diyala Province repeatedly to cover U.S. troop movements and progress. 6-years later, she is allowed to share more information and locations, since U.S. forces and bases are no longer there, after the U.S. military departure
‘The House That Rob Built’: Special Forces Combat Outpost Pirelli, Part 1
When the U.S. military officially departed Iraq due to the Status of Forces Agreement deadline, a little known part of the handover included leaving behind secret Special Forces’ “Team houses” — or “safe houses” — hidden around the country.
One Team house was built by Green Beret Staff Sergeant Robert R. Pirelli and his Operational Detachment Alpha -072, or “A-Team.” Pirelli, of the Army’s 10th Special Forces Group, built the combat outpost near the tiny village of Tibij in a remote part of Diyala Province, not far from the Iranian border, in 2007.
“It’s the worst danger I’ve seen in three tours in Iraq,” Army Major Derek Jones warned this reporter before heading out to embed with each of his A-Teams, spread across Diyala Province in June 2007. Jones was the commander of a 10th Special Forces Group company.
“We refer to the area as ‘the heart of darkness’. It’s truly the heart of al-Qaeda controlled territory right now,” Jones stated. “There’s heavily-mined roads, large amounts of al-Qaeda reinforcements within kilometers of each other.”
When he and his Green Berets arrived in Diyala in March, it was an al-Qaeda safe haven and the most violent province in Iraq.
“The surge was on in Baghdad, pushing a lot of al-Qaeda up into Diyala,” Major Jones explained. Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq, “was killed in Diyala [in a targeted American F-16 bombing in 2006,] so it’s always been important to al-Qaeda.”
“That’s the situation we walked into. Inside of Baqubah was nearly a free-fire zone when you drove through there,” Major Jones briefed.
The Iranians were there, too.
Read the rest of Part 1 HERE . . . Part 2 will air online on Monday/Memorial Day - mucho sunshine - Alex.
Thank YOU Alex for all your hard work and sacrifice, to honor these brave men.