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  1. #1
    Super Moderator Cliff Hargrave's Avatar
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    Default hand-to-hand combat in Iraq

    Washington Times Article
    http://www.washingtontimes.com/world...5511-7092r.htm




    NAJAF, Iraq — One of his friends was dead, 12 others lay wounded and the four soldiers still left standing were surrounded and out of ammunition. So Salvadoran Cpl. Samuel Toloza said a prayer, whipped out his knife and charged the Iraqi gunmen.
    In one of the only known instances of hand-to-hand combat in the Iraq conflict, Cpl. Toloza stabbed several attackers swarming around a comrade. The stunned assailants backed away momentarily, just as a relief column came to the unit's rescue.
    "We never considered surrender. I was trained to fight until the end," said the 25-year-old corporal, one of 380 soldiers from El Salvador whose heroism is being cited just as other members of the multinational force in Iraq are facing criticism.
    Secretary of State Colin L. Powell said recently that the Central American unit has "gained a fantastic reputation among the coalition" and expressed hope that the Salvadorans will stay beyond their scheduled departure.
    Phil Kosnett, who leads the Coalition Provisional Authority office in this holy Shi'ite city, says he owes his life to Salvadorans who repelled a well-executed insurgent attack on his three-car convoy in March. He has nominated six of them for the U.S. Army's Bronze Star medal.
    "You hear this snotty phrase 'coalition of the billing' for some of the smaller contingents," said Mr. Kosnett, referring to the apparent eagerness of some nations to charge their Iraq operations to Washington. "The El Sals? No way. These guys are punching way above their weight. They're probably the bravest and most professional troops I've every worked with."
    The Salvadorans are eager to stress their role as peacekeepers rather than warriors, perhaps with an eye toward public opinion back home. Masked protesters last week seized the cathedral in the capital, San Salvador, demanding that President-elect Tony Saca pull the troops out of Iraq.
    Mr. Saca, who takes office June 1, has said that he will leave the unit in Iraq until August as had been planned, despite the early departure of Spanish troops, under whom the Salvadorans were serving. The other three Central American contingents — from the Dominican Republic, Nicaragua and Honduras — have returned home or are scheduled to do so soon.
    "We didn't come here to fire a single shot. Our rifles were just part of our equipment and uniforms. But we were prepared to repel an attack," said Col. Hugo Omar Orellana Calidonio, a 27-year-old who commands the Cuscatlan Battalion.
    The troops, El Salvador's first peacekeepers abroad, have conducted a range of humanitarian missions in Najaf. They have provided books, electricity, playground equipment and other supplies to destitute schools and have helped farmers with irrigation works and fertilizer supplies.
    "Our country came out of a similar situation as in Iraq 12 years ago, so people in El Salvador can understand what is happening here," said Col. Calidonio, referring to the civil war between the U.S.-backed government and leftist guerrillas that left about 75,000 dead. The military was held responsible for widespread abuses.
    "We came here to help and we were helping. Our relationship with the people was excellent. They were happy with what we were doing," Col. Calidonio said.
    Then came April 4, when armed followers of Sheik Muqtada al-Sadr, a radical Shi'ite cleric, seized virtual control of the city and staged attacks on two camps — Baker and Golf — near bases on the fringes of Najaf occupied by the Salvadoran and Spanish units.
    When Cpl. Toloza and 16 other soldiers arrived that morning at a low-walled compound of the Iraqi Civil Defense Corps, about a mile from their camp, they found that its 350 occupants had melted away. They also found themselves trapped by Sheik al-Sadr's Mahdi Army.
    Lt. Col. Francisco Flores, the battalion's operations officer, said the surrounded soldiers held their fire for nearly a half-hour, fearful of inflicting civilian casualties, even as 10 of their number were wounded by rocket-propelled grenades and bullets from assault rifles and machine guns.
    After several hours of combat, the besieged unit ran out of ammunition, having come with only 300 rounds for each of their M-16 rifles. Pvt. Natividad Mendez, Cpl. Toloza's friend for three years, lay dead, shot twice probably by a sniper. Two more were wounded as the close-quarters fighting intensified.
    "I thought, 'This is the end.' But, at the same time, I asked the Lord to protect and save me," Cpl. Toloza recalled.
    The wounded were placed on a truck while Cpl. Toloza and the three other soldiers moved on the ground, trying to make their way back to the base. They were soon confronted with Sheik al-Sadr's fighters, about 10 of whom tried to seize one of the soldiers.
    "My immediate reaction was that I had to defend my friend, and the only thing I had in my hands was a knife," Cpl. Toloza said.
    As reinforcements arrived to save Cpl. Toloza's unit, the two camps were under attack, with the Salvadorans and a small U.S. contingent of soldiers and civilian security personnel trying to protect the perimeter and retake an adjoining seven-story hospital captured by the insurgents.
    The Spaniards didn't fight and only after a long delay agreed to send armored vehicles to help evacuate the wounded. Col. Flores said he cannot question the Spanish decisions that day, but added that the Spaniards "could have helped us sooner."
    U.S. troops have replaced the Spaniards. Salvadoran officers, many of whom were trained at military schools in the United States, say they're pleased to be working with the Americans.
    Last edited by Cliff Hargrave; 05-07-2004 at 20:49.
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  2. #2
    Senior Member John Bennett's Avatar
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    Good read. I don't think I would have shown the same level of restraint those Salvadorians did regarding concern for "civilian" casualties. The older I get, the more I like being alive.


    "When Cpl. Toloza and 16 other soldiers arrived that morning at a low-walled compound of the Iraqi Civil Defense Corps, about a mile from their camp, they found that its 350 occupants had melted away."

    "Iraqi Civil Defense Corps". Hmmmm. I hear ARVN echos.

  3. #3
    Junior Member Blue Dragon's Avatar
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    hello

    "In one of the only known instances of hand-to-hand combat in the Iraq conflict, Cpl. Toloza stabbed several attackers swarming around a comrade. The stunned assailants backed away momentarily, just as a relief column came to the unit's rescue. "


    Hi i aint no soilder and aint been to war but i will one day and i aint no idoit sorry dont take this offensivly anyone. But i only read until there reason being are you trying to say out of them them several attackers not one a full magazine? yet they all know in a few minutes american soilders and armor is going to be running over the place.
    personally i think its easy to cover that knife with blood and then tell a few soilder to make some story up.
    if i am wrong im wrong thats just my view i dont belive things like that. I just cant see that happening im sure either the soilders or the militants would do each out before something like that happens.
    Personally i think its propaganda sorry but thats my view you can take it how you like but i just dont see that happening i know everything happens in war e.g, 9 tone bombs being droped on houses , poeple torturing each other. rape and all kinds of other dirtyness.
    but i just cant see hand to hand combat in iraq not agaisnt a handful of miltants.
    if it was with a country with a good decent miltary i could say it migth but not iraq agasint america that makes me wonder if the story is true or alot of b*llsh*t.

    thanks

  4. #4
    Senior Member wab25's Avatar
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    I think you are wrong. I think the story happened pretty much how it was reported. Why are you so threatened by some solder who protects his buddies? He might be a hero in the eyes of some people? What would be the harm if this story were true? Why are people so fast to down play any great act performed a US or Allied solder? I guess I don't understand.

    In times of war, many people have been known to do a lot more than what this solder did. He should be commended for his act of bravery. I hope he is one of those up for a bronze star. He earned it. If I ever have to go to war, I hope to have a buddy like him next to me. I hope that I could be that kind of buddy to the next guy.
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  5. #5
    Junior Member Blue Dragon's Avatar
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    Why are you so threatened by some solder who protects his buddies? He might be a hero in the eyes of some people? What would be the harm if this story were true? Why are people so fast to down play any great act performed a US or Allied solder? I guess I don't understand.

    well first of all i aint threatened of a soilder who protects his buddies what i said is i dont think its true. And if you read again i even said if it is true then im wrong.
    And yes he migth be a hero to some poeple if it is true then his a brave guy.
    There is know harm i never even said anything like that your just putting words into my mouth now.
    "down play any great act performed a US or Allied solder"
    my intention aint to downplay anything i said before it could be true but i wouldnt belive it. talking about down playing i think if you where to come from where i was you would see how much our heros get down played and even called things like tyrants and barberains.
    i hope you understand me now.

    thanks

  6. #6
    Senior Member wab25's Avatar
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    ==============
    i think its easy to cover that knife with blood and then tell a few soilder to make some story up.

    Personally i think its propaganda ...

    ....i just dont see that happening .....

    i just cant see hand to hand combat in iraq not agaisnt a handful of miltants.

    if it was with a country with a good decent miltary i could say it migth but not iraq agasint america that makes me wonder if the story is true or alot of b*llsh*t.
    =============

    Sure sounds like you a) don't believe it happened and b) don't want anyone else to believe it either. Every time I hear a story of a solder acting bravely, people jump on the band wagon and talk of how it was made up, how there is no way that could happen or they personally attack the solder. ( I know you did not attack the solder ) Had the story been that the solder may have once in his life used a derogatory term in reference to an Iraqi, there would be calls for his immediate discharge, and legal ramifications and reperations to be made.... all on a lot less information.

    The facts are, that 4 guys were uninjured, and were all there. That gives this guys story 3 uninjured witnesses. There were also 12 injured witnesses there as well. That makes a totel of 15 witnesses. He had the knife, with the blood on it. A relief column showed up just after he attacked them. While they probably didn't see him attack with the knife, they probably saw him just after the attack, knife in hand and the bad guys still standing there, holding their wounds. Remember, it was the relief column that made the bad guys retreat. They were only hurt and surprised by his attack. He would have been killed if not for the relief column. He had the motive, the opportunity and the means, as well as 15 witnesses to the actual act and a bunch of people who showed up interupting the act. That should be enough to convict him of an act of bravery worthy of a medal. What would it take to convince you that it is true?
    William Bohan
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  7. #7
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    Some people believe the lunar landing is a fake Hollywood production. Yet, they believe alien abduction is real though. lol.

  8. #8
    Junior Member Blue Dragon's Avatar
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    look why are you going on as if i said ""No this story is not true"" what i am saying i dont belive it, and i as i said and am saying again so you understand me if it is true then the guy is a brave guy personally i dont care where someone is from weather they are american, iraqi or whatever that dont consern me i dont say ah this story is a lie because it comes out the mouth of a american or pueto rican i never did.
    and also as i see you have pasted all the negative things.
    I would understand the reason you going hard on me maybe because of course your american and you think im just saying this because i have some personal hate agaisnt you guys well that aint the case and wont be.
    If it was i would just say.

    and you jump onto politics now \/

    Had the story been that the solder may have once in his life used a derogatory term in reference to an Iraqi, there would be calls for his immediate discharge, and legal ramifications and reperations to be made.... all on a lot less information.

    from what i understand from that your trying to say if this soilder had done something very bad or offensive or on them lines to a iraqi he would be discharged or punished in whatever way.
    (tell me if im wrong)

    well if that the case please dont go on to that someone would be blind if they didnt see want happen in abu garib prison i dont want to go into detail about how the men and women there where treaten like animals by some sadistic soilders. are you trying to tell me all the photos of turtore and bundling naked iraqis guys ontop of each other was just limited to a few soilders and that until it leaked into the media no on actually new this well i think they knew it. and its suprising that them soilders get charged with such a minimum sentence what i dont like my friend is poeple shouting out the "geneva geneva treaty" when it comes to there soilders. and treating there captives in such a inhumane way.
    if i was to ask you, you would say to me them guys out there are doing what is rigth you would back the hard approach the usa is taking on iraq and some other countrys. and on top of that you would migth even blind fold every inhumane act them allied and US soilders do there. but call the iraqis and so on all kinds of names for executing someone weather its a soilder or a civilain.
    also you cant denie the hate that gets pumped into them allied and american soilders agaisnt such poeple as the iraqis etc thats what leads them into shooting civilians going around in bikes. now before i go onto all the rape and other photos i see on my national tv which you migth not i could say to you do some reserch before talking about discharge if there is a reason why poeple hate america or any allied nation you should look at what causes that hate. dropping bombs on weddings and houses could be one of them. branding a muslim, arab or asian etc etc Terrorist could be one of them. i dont see why the IRA and KKK and similar racist and terrorist groups aint all branded christain terorist or what ever i dont think they should anyway.
    in origin i am turkish i will tell you why i said that i dont belive it. i here from poeple who know alot about this and i find out alot wheather its ******** or truth let me decide on that. i aint a *** hole teenager who doesnt even know where iraq is but says ah lets nuke them i know theres alot of poeple in usa that say that. i follow alot of things up and especailly this miltary stuff.. now coming to why i said that and why i am spectic about what i read.
    i think if you where to be one of us and see everyday on western media (alot of them) one sided views on poeple from my regien and then going to school or whatever and poeple making coments like terrorist to you maybe because you think whats happen in certain places isnt nice then im sure you migth thinking of hating every american or western.
    my country is allies with america some things happen which really piss me off maybe 2 - 3 weeks ago 4 turkish service men died in mosul in cross fire(from both side) they all died figthing to the last man they died just a death a turkish soilder would like brave and for the cuase. anyway they died rigth next to a american base not even 5 mins away now if your govt can give us garantees that they will hold and show us that they can dont give the world alot of b*llsh*t like the reason they invaded iraq treat poeple rigth. unlike the examples we see in gatamalo and abu garib then i could say straigh away hey that what happen wow about that soilders case and not even think about it.
    i got nothing agaisnt that soilder as you know the reason i wrote all this is becuase you simply talking about the discharge as if hey look man if are soilder where to do this and that they would get punished by our own govt.

    (not to any1 in particular) \/
    anyway as i said i got nothing agasnt anyone if you think i do then thats your understanding.

    thanks

  9. #9
    Junior Member entorma's Avatar
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    thank you for the good read sir.
    kung fu is like a bonzi tree.though the branches of the tree spread far and wide they still share the same
    roots...

  10. #10
    Junior Member DelTacoNinja's Avatar
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    Default H2H in wartime.

    Quote Originally Posted by Blue Dragon
    ...Hi i aint no soilder and aint been to war but i will one day and i aint no idoit sorry dont take this offensivly anyone. But i only read until there reason being are you trying to say out of them them several attackers not one a full magazine? yet they all know in a few minutes american soilders and armor is going to be running over the place.
    personally i think its easy to cover that knife with blood and then tell a few soilder to make some story up. ........
    but i just cant see hand to hand combat in iraq not agaisnt a handful of miltants.
    if it was with a country with a good decent miltary i could say it migth but not iraq agasint america that makes me wonder if the story is true or alot of b*llsh*t.

    thanks

    Ummm... I don't even know what to say. Ever hear of a soldier by the name of Audrey Murphey? He was the most decorated soldier in American history. EVER. He served in WWII and later starred in many movies. His acts of bravery and his penchant for overcoming OUTSTANDING odds against him made him a legend. There were SEVERAL cases where he actually fended off near LEGIONS of armed attackers, both with automatic weapon and WITHOUT. He killed something like 30 ARMED enemy soldiers with a BAYONET. He did things like this FREQUENTLY. And ya know what? Before the Army accepted him, he had already been turned down by the Marines, the Air Force, AND the freakin' Navy!!! He was a runt! You would be downright AMAZED at what one small individual can do when the adrenaline is flowing and the confusion of the battlefield sets in.

    At Fort Bragg, I spent my final months in service doing alot of outprocessing paperwork in central HQ for the Special Forces Training Brigade, because that is where I was being outprocessed from. The halls were adorned with plaques and stories of soldiers who gave their lives, and many who also survived, defending against MANY more attackers than I am reading about in this story. AND alot of those were injured! In fact, I remember reading of some guys who took bullets to the chest, neck and stomach, and yet who STILL managed to fend off the enemy! These things happen my friend, and you have NO reason to doubt it.
    --------------------
    Justin Walker

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