Sunday, February 12, 2006

Example of all ranges of combat

Most of us tough martial artists think of the ranges of combat in terms of, "Uh, kicking, then punching, then trapping, and then, grappling," or as esoteric as, "Green (long range kicking/punching), Yellow (knees/short punches), or Red (infighting such as elbows and grappling)." We should think of it in more this manner, because it can be applied to street crimes (carjackings, muggings), and to regular or tactical police work.

If you've never read Michael Yon's online magazine (, it's worth exploring. He's a former soldier (special forces), with no formal journalism or photography training, who embedded himself with a U.S. combat brigade in the thick of the action in Iraq. He has been nominated for a Pulitzer for his up-close, first person journaling of the actions of the units he's been with, and the Iraqi civilians and combatants (terrorists all, Iraqi and foreign).

This account is of an ambush of the unit he's with, and as you read, notice how they progress from vehicles (a combat range) to rifle, then close quarters (pistol/shotgun), then hand-to-hand. Also notice the reaction of the men who've never experienced combat, and how they froze. This just shows you what our brave men and women can face. How can we apply these lessons? Read on ...

... Prosser ran around the corner, passed the two young soldiers who were
crouched low, then by me and right to the shop, where he started firing at men inside.

A man came forward, trying to shoot Kurilla with a pistol, apparently realizing his only escape was by fighting his way out, or dying in the process. Kurilla was aiming at the doorway waiting for him to come out. Had Prosser not come at that precise moment, who knows what the outcome might have been.

Prosser shot the man at least four times with his M4 rifle. But the American M4 rifles are weak - after Prosser landed three nearly point blank shots in the man’s abdomen, splattering a testicle with a fourth, the man just staggered back, regrouped and tried to shoot Prosser.

Then Prosser’s M4 went “black” (no more bullets). A shooter inside was also having problems with his pistol, but there was no time to reload. Prosser threw down his empty M4, ran into the shop and tackled the man.

Though I have the photo, I do not remember the moment that Prosser went “black” and ran into the shop. Apparently I turned my head, but kept my finger on the shutter button. When I looked back again, I saw the very bloody leg of CSM Prosser inside the shop. It was not moving. He appeared to be shot down and dead.

I looked back at the two soldiers who were with me outside, and screamed what amounted to “Attack Attack Attack!” I stood up and was yelling at them. Actually, what I shouted was an unprintable string of curses, while Kurilla was also yelling at them to get in there, his M4 trained on the entrance. But the guys were not attacking.

I saw Prosser’s M4 on the ground, Where did that come from?

I picked up Prosser’s M4. It was empty. I saw only Prosser’s bloody leg lying still, just inside the darkened doorway, because most of his body was hidden behind a stack of sheet metal.

“Give me some ammo! Give me a magazine!” I yelled, and the young 2nd lieutenant handed over a full 30-round magazine. I jacked it in, released the bolt and hit the forward assist. I had only one magazine, so checked that the selector was on semi-automatic.

I ran back to the corner of the shop and looked at LTC Kurilla who was bleeding, and saw CSM Prosser’s extremely bloody leg inside the shop, the rest of him was still obscured from view. I was going to run into the shop and shoot every man with a gun. And I was scared to death.

... When the bullet hit that canister, Prosser—who I thought might be dead because of all the blood on his leg—was actually fighting hand-to-hand on the ground. Wrapped in a ground fight, Prosser could not pull out his service pistol strapped on his right leg, or get to his knife on his left, because the terrorist—who turned out to be a serious terrorist—had grabbed Prosser’s helmet and pulled it over his eyes and twisted it.

Prosser had beaten the terrorist in the head three times with his fist and was gripping his throat, choking him. But Prosser’s gloves were slippery with blood so he couldn’t hold on well. At the same time, the terrorist was trying to bite Prosser’s wrist, but instead he bit onto the face of Prosser’s watch. (Prosser wears his watch with the face turned inward.) The terrorist had a mouthful of watch but he somehow also managed to punch Prosser in the face. When I shot the propane canister, Prosser had nearly strangled the guy, but my shots made Prosser think bad guys were coming, so he released the terrorist’s throat and snatched out the pistol from his holster, just as SSG Konkol, Lewis, Devereaux and Muse swarmed the shop. But the shots and the propane fiasco also had brought the terrorist back to life, so Prosser quickly reholstered his pistol and subdued him by smashing his face into the concrete.


SBertolino said...

What a story. That stuff is happening to our guys everyday. Reinforces the fact that our daily inconveniences are meaningless and petty.

SBertolino said...

What a story. That stuff is happening to our guys everyday. Reinforces the fact that our daily inconveniences are meaningless and petty.

SBertolino said...

What a story. That stuff is happening to our guys everyday. Reinforces the fact that our daily inconveniences are meaningless and petty.