None Left Behind: The 10th Mountain Division and the Triangle of Death
Charles W. Sasser
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The 10th Mountain Division is known as the most deployed unit in the U.S. Army. Today the War on Terror has drawn it to Afghanistan and Iraq. To Lieutenant Colonel Mike Infanti’s unit fell the pacification of a hellish hotbed of terrorism south of Baghdad dubbed “The Triangle of Death.” Of the more than three thousand Americans killed since the start of the war, over one thousand were in this region.
Colonel Infanti assigned Delta Company to the most dangerous sector of the Triangle, a five-mile stretch of road that paralleled the Euphrates River in a series of blind s-curves where death stalked the Americans day and night. Delta knew they were virtually assured of getting hit on a daily basis. Each day and night became something to be dreaded and feared, exacting a heavy psychological toll on soldiers stressed to the limits of their mental and physical endurance.
In the predawn of May 12, 2007, two Humvees occupied by seven soldiers and an Iraqi translator were ambushed by insurgents. When the smoke cleared, four soldiers and the translator were dead and three were missing, presumably seized by the enemy. For over a year, Delta searched for their missing comrades, never giving up hope. Their creed of battle: None Left Behind
patrol bases. Eventually, there were even warm showers supplied by two hundred-gallon drums assembled on the flat roofs of the houses where the water could be heated by the sun. Gasoline-powered generators provided energy for lights and computers—and eventually for air conditioning to cool off the bunkrooms and make life in the desert almost bearable. This luxury, however, did not arrive until the beginning of summer in 2007. In World War II or Korea, as in most wars, the advance of an infantry
sight. Instead, a trio of Baghdads wearing shemaghs and disdashas, the traditional robes of Arab men, were hotfooting it north down the middle of the road. One held his skirts bunched up around his knees and was really pumping. None were armed, none were carrying digging tools. From the looks of things, they were a bunch of amateurs who had inadvertently set off the bomb they were planting. Only luck kept it from blowing their heads off. They looked back over their shoulders and saw the hummer
like I was outside myself. You know what I mean? I was here, right here, looking down at myself on the ground. Chiva, I didn’t have my legs. Both of them were blown off and I was dying. I don’t know what to do about it. I can’t tell Amie, Chiva. I’m never going home again, but I can’t tell her that.” Lares didn’t know what to say. They had been through this together before—nights when Messer couldn’t sleep because of nightmares and climbed up to the roof to sit, rub his Prayer card, and stare at
skinned and boiled sheep heads attracted swarms of greenhead flies. Plucked dead chickens and skinned goat carcasses hanging from racks drew even more flies. “How do you suppose they cook that stuff?” PFC Alfredo “Chiva” Lares wondered. He was a solidly built Latino from California who wanted to be a cop when he got out of the army. “Nasty fucking stuff, ain’t it?” his buddy PFC Robert Pool said. “Maybe they season it with flies.” Most of the Iraqi men wore Western clothing accessorized by
confident that the military is doing everything it can to find the missing soldiers,” President George W. Bush said during a press conference. “We’re using all the intelligence and all the troops we can to find them. It’s a top priority of our people there in Iraq.” Anzak and Jimenez, with their senses of irreverent humor and propensity for wisecracks, would undoubtedly have had a few witty comments to make had they known the President of The United States was talking about them. Hey, Alex. You