first published on June 22, 2017 by Sean
A recently released cell phone video of an ISIS SVBIED attack on Iraqi forces horrifically shows how quickly fate can change for the infantryman on the frontlines. One minute you’re scolding a buddy for sticking a camera in your face, the next minute, most of your leg is blown off.
Beginning with a rather laxed sense of urgency, Iraqi security forces purportedly operating in the northwestern province of Nineveh attempt to secure a neighborhood and trade limited fire with unseen ISIS fighters. Taking cover behind a battle-scarred building in the otherwise flat terrain, the cell phone wielding Iraqi stands by as his fellow troops slowly clear the surrounding houses.
Appearing to leap frog supporting positions as they progress, they blast the ISIS defenses with an RPG shortly before an assault team advances on the next target building. A few moments later, the audible tone of the video takes a dramatic turn from fairly relaxed, to panicked and visceral. A few gun shots ring out just prior to a massive explosion, detonating just a short distance away in a slowly rising mushroom cloud.
The Iraqi’s scatter and take cover wherever they can; debris begins to rain down and thick dust engulfs the immediate vicinity. Excited shouts ring out as the troops sound off, noticeable relieved at their close brush with death. This relief instantly drains from the men as frantic screams emerge from the smoke and a fellow soldier turns the corner dragging a casualty.
The growing dread is palpable, shouts become shrieks uttered at the rapid rate when they approach their wounded buddy. Laying on his back with his right leg amputated just above the knee, is one of the soldiers who had been hanging around just a few minutes prior. He calmly removes his helmet and the unnerved audience assists in getting the rest of his gear off. A comrade finally scoops him up and hurriedly evacuates him while he noticeable slips into shock – then the bickering begins.
Life for an infantryman depends on an exceptionally thin margin and doing everything right is no guarantee of survival. The addictive exhilaration of near death encounters experienced during battle, are horrifically balanced by a friend’s bloody pleas for a medic. This video may lack the exciting dash of some others out there, but it’s a brutally perfect example of the grim realities of life on the front lines – and another vivid reminder to always carry a tourniquet.
Graphic Content Warning: This video contains graphic content that may be unsuitable for some viewers.