Theodore's World: Take Down:The 3rd Infantry Division's Twenty-One Day Assault on Baghdad

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April 26, 2007

Take Down:The 3rd Infantry Division's Twenty-One Day Assault on Baghdad

This is a new book coming out, the book covers the 3rd ID's part in OIF:

Take Down: The 3rd Infantry Division's Twenty-One Day Assault on Baghdad by Jim Lacey (Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 2007)
War Chronicle

Here's a quote from the Introduction...

It was a few thousand soldiers like Sergeant Johnson at the tip of the spear that made the 3rd ID the most awesome weapon of war America has ever placed on the battlefield. They were men who proved absolutely ruthless in fight, but a moment later would start helping enemy wounded, even at great personal risk.

This story from Sergeant Johnson's experience around As Samawah gives insight into the character of the men who fight America's wars. In his own words:

We were in an overwatch position after the battle of As Samawah. I was watching through the thermals and I see this Iraqi attempting to sneak up on us in the dark. He gets about seventy-five meters away when all of a sudden this bull comes out of nowhere and demolishes the guy. Really lays him out and thrashes him. The whole platoon is watching and is in absolute hysterics.

Then somehow the guy manages to stab the bull and it bellows and runs away. Using his rifle as a crutch he then starts back towards my vehicle! He then falls down and begins to crawl towards us.

When he is about thirty-five meters away he aims the rifle at us so we killed him with the coax. His rifle was a really nice .303 British so I kept it for a while. Later in the war I was shooting RPG guys from two hundred plus meters away. When that .303 hit them they stayed down for good.

Anyway later that night the bull came back and stomped on this guy for hours. He would gore him, throw him up in the air, and then stomp on him some more. The next day the guy was about three inches thick! We later protected the bull the whole time he was there. We conducted first aid for his wounds and gave him all the water and vegetables we could find. We also protected him from other Iraqis and other soldiers.

This was the 3rd ID's war, and this is their story....Tens of thousands of Iraqis fought with fanatical, even suicidal, intensity. They were met by dedicated, hard-fighting American soldiers. Sergeant Johnson's story is typical of the hundreds of engagements the 3rd ID fought before it finally stormed into Baghdad.

It is a story of twenty-one days of brutal fighting, a story that until now has remained largely untold. Mostly it is the story of American soldiers who killed in order to do what America asked them to do, but as one officer stated, "My men could not wait to stop killing and start helping people."

It is a special breed of man that can fight America's wars one day and turn to repairing schoolhouses the next.

Posted by Wild Thing at April 26, 2007 12:44 AM


I have read several accounts of the 3rd ID and their assault across Iraq. I also watched the accounts by embedded reporters during OIF. The 3rd ID did a superb job. Audie Murphy would be proud of his old unit.

I think all the men and women involved in the war in Iraq have performed superbly. I especially appreciate the regular Army units which don't get the recognition of the elite units like the 10th Mountain, 82nd or 101st Airborne or the Marines. I think any US Army unit like the 3rd, 4th, 25th and 24th IDs, the Armored Cavalry Regiments and other divisions and brigades are as good as any unit in the World. If they just have good leadership, and they do, and they are not micro-managed by the politicians and they are given a proper mission these "regular" line units will perform superbly.

I have to give recognition also to the Reserve and National Guard units that round out or supplement the Regular Army units. These fine folks have accepted their deployments, taken their casualties and stood firm beside their full-time comrades.

I am so very proud of my United States Army. We fought hard and well in Vietnam, and the all volunteer Army is setting new high standards and living up to tradition today.

Posted by: TomR at April 26, 2007 06:23 AM

Well said TomR. Thank you WT, as usual this is a superb post.

Posted by: Jack at April 26, 2007 11:08 AM

Tom I agree so much. I hope someone writes about them too. The Reserve and National Guard and the Army have done such an awesome job. I am so proud of all of them.

Posted by: Wild Thing at April 26, 2007 11:18 PM

Thank you Jack.

Posted by: Wild Thing at April 26, 2007 11:19 PM