On Oct. 22, U.S.Special Forces helped the Kurdistan Region Security Council in a counter-terrorism operation that saved the lives of 70 Iraqi held captives in Hawija prison.
The captives were hours away from mass executions conducted by the barbaric terrorist group, the ISIS. After the successful rescue of the 70 hostages, the U.S. coalition aircraft destroyed the ISIS prison camp.
Defense secretary Ash Carter said it was his decision for the U.S.Special Forces to assist the Kurds in the rescue after intelligence confirmed that a mass execution was imminent. The secretary said that the hostages expected to be executed that day, after their morning prayers. Their grave had already been prepared. In rescuing them, the Special Forces and Kurdistan partners have prevented the ISSI from broadcasting another horrific massacre that will supposed to be brandished for the world to see.
One U.S. soldier, Master Sgt. Joshua Wheeler, unfortunately was killed in the operation. Carter said that the US forces were just going to accompany the Kurds but not enter the prison compound. However, the ISIS attacked and Wheeler had to do what he had to do.
When wheeler heard gun fires, he ran to the sound of the guns and he stood up, and all the indications are it was his actions and one of his teammate’s that protected those who were involved in breaching the compound and made the mission successful, Carter told press, adding that he is proud of what the sergeant did.
“Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family and loved ones of Master Sergeant Joshua Wheeler, who will be welcomed home tomorrow by his family, by my wife and myself, “ Carter told press. “The sacrifice and decisive action of this courageous American in support of his comrades reminds us of the dangers that the coalition forces confront in Iraq, but also the — of the important assistance they provide local forces as they lead the fight against a barbaric enemy,” the secretary added.
The Office of The Chancellor of the Kurdistan region Security Council, has also expressed its heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of Wheeler. “We highly value the commitment of every brave Peshmerga and American soldier who made that complex mission possible. They risked their own lives so that others could live and be free. Thank you for your sacrifice,” Chancellor Nechirvan Barzani said in a statement.