JamesCannon wrote:If you can't be safe while a professional is down range, likely between lanes or in an empty lane, while taking aimed shots at low-heart-rate... how do you expect to act under duress in your home, let alone your vehicle, parking lot, store, office, etc?
Regular Guy wrote:JamesCannon wrote:If you can't be safe while a professional is down range, likely between lanes or in an empty lane, while taking aimed shots at low-heart-rate... how do you expect to act under duress in your home, let alone your vehicle, parking lot, store, office, etc?
Since I need to explain this to the smallest factor. At training courses I've been to participants range from noobs to salty. Last fucking thing I want at a training course that I paid hundreds to go to is some noob during a bounding drill hit some fuckhead photographer that is down range and punching one center mass. It would put a damper on things. I've been in front of rifle fire and had people shooting all around me. Not a problem. But at courses where there are noobs it just stupid fucking ego stroking bravado. If I want that I'll watch pro wrestling.
Much ado about nothing. Would I do what he did? Likely not - but then again, I don't know the people on that line and hadn't just spent multiple days training / training with them. Trust can be formed.
You're looking at it from a stand point of knowing nothing about anyone involved in the situation at all, and as if they just up and did this randomly. The reality is likely quite different.
gravediggerfour wrote:If you don’t know what your talking about don’t lead people, especially new people, astray.
I dont see the difference. putting rounds downrange while someone is standing there is putting rounds downrange while someone is standing there. If there was that much risk in it, he wouldnt have done it, and we wouldnt do team relay drills.
12_Gauge_Chimp wrote:I say when Wee Drop visits the US, we make her ride a goat. You know, like those little monkey cowboys they have at some rodeos.
crypto wrote:Doc Torr wrote:Is this James "Where's The Parking Brake?" Yeager, or James "Hide in a Ditch" Yeager? Option two is a really good option, but option one...not so much.
No, its James "Go stand downrange and take pictures while we light up targets" Yeager. Which I dont give a shit about.
I've been downrange of people shooting in team drills before, thats fairly common. I dont see how having a photographer looking back at the firing line is less safe than a second shooter with has back to the first one.
gravediggerfour wrote:If you don’t know what your talking about don’t lead people, especially new people, astray.
Magic Man! wrote:My two cents...
I've taken a number of courses at Tactical Response and have no complaints. For perspective, I've taken a class with a West Point grad with combat experience, he wants to take more classes. Another class I brought along an Air Force Academy grad (A-10 driver), and he felt it was good training. Another class I brought along an AF weapons school grad, he was impressed. These are highly competent people fully able to judge how beneficial training is. You won't find many people who have trained with Tactical Response and don't believe they got their money's worth out of the training.
Yeager makes you think, and that is the source of much of the controversy. There are no sacred cows. The world is a 360 degree range, there aren't any firing lines, safety zones or backstops in a 7-11.
- Magic Man!
EDINBURGH RISK AND SECURITY MANAGEMENT
AFTER ACTION REVIEW
OPERATION APOLLO CONTACT BIAP ROAD 20 APRIL 2005
On 20 April 2005 Edinburgh Risk personnel assigned to Operation APOLLO
(support to the Independent Election Commission of Iraq) were engaged by
enemy forces on Route IRISH (BIAP Road) during the execution of their duties.
Post incident Edinburgh Risk, in keeping with company policy and
operational SOP’s, conducted a full deliberate review conducted by an
external assessor of the incident along with corresponding verbal and
written AAR’s. The assessor for this review was the Group’s USA Managing
Director. He has extensive operational experience in the military and as a
civilian contactor/ operator. Having spent August 2003 to December 2004 in
Baghdad, he is well familiar with the specific challenges posed by the
insurgency in Iraq.
This report is the only official Edinburgh Risk report in regards to the
The overall aim of this report is to identify friendly and enemy action
during the contact in order to extract lessons identified that may be
applicable to current and future operations.
Phase 1 - Pre-mission orders: Prior to the move, during the evening
Order’s Group 19 April 05, a warning order was issued to members of the
APOLLO team who would be conducting a road move to BIAP in order to pick up
operators coming in from rotation. Instructions were issued in accordance
with a standard military warning order with additional discussion conducted
in regards to the teams SOP for dealing with the VBIED/IED threat on Route
IRISH. In order to mitigate the threat of IED/VBIED attack the team was in
the process of instituting a number of SOP’S in regards to the use of new
operational methods to help mitigate the threat. The team reviewed video
footage taken of Route IRISH during previous moves in order to identify
choke points, danger areas and likely areas of enemy attack. The team was
also concerned with blue on blue incidents and stressed the need to be
prepared to identify themselves as required so as to avoid blue on blue
with Coalition or other PSC’s operating on Route IRISH.
Phase Two- Mission Orders: On the morning of 20 April 05 the team task
organized for the days move and met to conduct an Operations Group. The O
Group was conducted utilizing the standard 5 paragraph Op Order
format. All operators were present for the order. The detail leader,
Allan Johnson, conducted the O group utilizing video footage, again, to
identify danger areas and to brief the team’s scheme of maneuver during the
movement. Alternatively Simon Merry and Steph Surett briefed with the
drivers in regards to the route and actions on when approaching danger
areas, coalition or other PSC call signs. Orders were conducted from 1100
hours to 1130 hours. At approximately 1130 hours the team mustered for
their final inspections and departed for BIAP.
Phase Three- Movement: The team was task organized as follows:
Lead/Advance Vehicle consisting of Soft Skin BMW Sedan
James Yeager - Driver
Steph Surette - Vehicle IC
Mark Collen - Rear Gunner (medic)
Center/Main Body B6 Armored Mercedes
Driver- Simon Merry
Vehicle IC- Ian Harris (mission 2 IC)
Rear/Follow Vehicle consisting of Soft Skin BMW Sedan
Driver - Chris Ahmelmen
Vehicle IC – Allan Johnson (overall mission commander)
Rear Gunner - James (Jay) Hunt
The team departed through Gate 12 at approximately 1140 after linking in
with the Ops Room where they dropped off their route and mission card with
Edinburgh Risk Ops. The team also contacted the ROC to check on the status
of Route IRISH and the ROC informed them that the route was open.
Team movement was going according to plan until the team reached RV 5. RV
5 was assigned as the last foot bridge/flyover heading west just prior to
the checkpoint leading into BIAP/VICTORY.
As the team reached RV5, traffic was coming to a halt and the team was
halted just beneath or just outside of RV5 with the main body vehicle
coming to a halt just beneath the foot bridge. The team was halted at
approximately 1155 hrs.
Traffic to the front was halted due to Coalition Forces closing the road in
response to an incident on the road. The team estimates that Coalition
Forces were located 300-400 meters to the front of their position while
halted at RV 5.
During the halt the team reports that there were approximately 10 local
national vehicles to their front which cleared the area by either driving
back down towards traffic and utilizing a slip road to leave the area or by
crossing the median and traveling down the alternate lane of travel.
Al Johnson called for the team to move forward in order to create depth
between the motorcade and local national vehicles to the rear as well as to
take them out from under the foot bridge/fly over which was deemed to be a
threat as it presented a danger area due to the possibility of attack from
The motorcade moved forward approximately 300 meters giving the rear
gunner, Jay Hunt, in the rear vehicle enough clearance to cover the foot
bridge with fire if required whilst also allowing the team to cover and
close the slip road located to the right front of the motorcade so as to
prevent enemy attack from that location.
At this time the three vehicles are spaced at approximately 100 meters
between vehicles with the motorcade occupying an area estimated to be
300-400 meters in length from the front vehicle to the rear vehicle.
During the halt Al Johnson and Ian Harris discuss crossing the median in
order to leave an area where they feel they are exposed. The decision is
made not to cross the median as they are concerned that the vehicles will
not clear the obstacle presented by the median.
While the team was halted Mark Collen identified a suspect vehicle along
the slip road to the right flank, north, of the motorcade at a distance of
approximately 500 meters. He took the vehicle under surveillance utilizing
a scope mounted upon his M4. He observed one local national male in the
vehicle and noted that the vehicle occupant was not paying the call sign
any attention and seemed to be concentrating his attention on local
national traffic halted to the suspect vehicles front. He assessed that
the suspect vehicle was not a threat and informed the team accordingly.
The team remained static for approximately ten minutes while it waited to
see if Coalition Forces would open the road. At approximately 1200-1210 Al
Johnson made the decision to abandon the position and was in the process of
ordering the team to move when the team came under intense automatic
Phase Four- Contact: As stated at approximately 1210 hrs, the APOLLO team
was engaged with heavy automatic weapons fire which originated from north
of their position along the slip road bordering Route IRISH. All three
vehicles sustained damage and casualties during the initial burst of gun
fire. It is assessed that the team was engaged by two or more PKM belt fed
GPMG firing armor piercing ammunition. The armored sedan suffered hits
which would have normally defeated standard ball ammunition. During the
initial burst of gun fire the APOLLO team suffered three casualties which
consisted of Jay Hunt, Chris Ahmlemen, and Steff Surette. Two of the
operators Jay Hunt and Steff Surette were wounded in the hip/groin area and
suffered sever trauma to the femoral artery while Chris Ahmlemen was shot
in the hip and head with the head wound killing him outright.
Upon the initiation of contact the lead vehicle driven by James Yeager
attempted to drive out of the kill zone and was unsuccessful as Yeager had
taken the car out of drive placing it in neutral and setting the emergency
hand brake which prevented him from driving out of the kill zone during the
opening stages of the contact. Upon failing to drive “off the X” Yeager,
Mark Collen and Steff Surette evacuated the vehicle. Steff Surette at this
point was already wounded and was located beside the vehicle in the prone
though he was attempting to remain in the fight. James Yeager fell to the
rear of the vehicle in order to return fire and engage enemy
forces. According to James Yeager he could not identify enemy forces and
thus he attempted to suppress the general vicinity of where he suspected
enemy fire was coming from. After having fired an estimated half a
magazine of ammunition out of his M4 Yeager broke contact from the rear of
his vehicle and maneuvered to the median to the south of the engagement
area. Mark Collen also positioned at the rear of the vehicle identified
enemy forces firing from a white suburban vehicle and engaged the white
suburban with approximately 100 rounds of 5.56 from his M249 Minimi. He
then experienced a stoppage and switched to his M4 with which he continued
to engage the enemy forces located within the white suburban. The white
suburban drove out of sight and at that point Mark Collen provided
immediate medical care to Steff Surette.
Concurrently vehicle two, the armored sedan attempted to first maneuver to
its front in order to provide cover to vehicle one. Simon Merry, driver of
vehicle two, reported that the car was unresponsive as it had suffered
damage during the initial burst of GPMG fire which caused catastrophic
damage to the transmission. Ian Harris, IC of vehicle two, exited the
vehicle as the vehicle was under heavy fire. He then maneuvered to the
front bonnet of vehicle one so as to provide suppressive fire in support of
the team. Ian was able to identify enemy forces located within the white
suburban and fired semi-automatic, well aimed fire into the rear of the
vehicle. Ian reported that his fire seemed to be “bouncing off” the rear
of the vehicle and, upon interviewing other team members who took the
suburban under fire, they believe that the suburban was armored as their
fire had little or no effect on the enemy vehicle. Ian came under severe
enemy fire whilst he attempted to suppress enemy forces but he continued
the attempt to win the firefight. After attempting to move the vehicle
forward in support of vehicle one Simon Merry attempted to move the vehicle
to the rear to provide cover for vehicle three but again, the vehicle was
unresponsive. Simon Merry then exited the vehicle and positioned himself
to the rear of the vehicle in order to provide covering fire to vehicle
three. Simon in accordance with team SOP’S deployed a smoke grenade to the
north of the motorcade in order to mask the callsign.
Vehicle three occupied by Al Johnson, Chris Ahmlemen, and Jay Hunt was
engaged as well during the initial burst of GPMG fire with Chris Ahmelmen,
the driver, being killed - thus the vehicle remained static. Jay Hunt who
was hit in the initial burst attempted to evacuate the vehicle and take
enemy forces under fire but was almost immediately out of the fight due to
the nature of his wounds. Al Johnson the vehicle IC evacuated the vehicle
in order to try and treat Jay Hunt and Chris Ahmlemen. He moved Jay Hunt
to a position of cover behind the left front tire of the vehicle and then
moved to treat Chris Ahmlemen who was by then deceased. He then returned
to treat Jay Hunt who was hit in the femoral artery.
The initial contact lasted 32 seconds in accordance with the video footage
taken from a dash mounted camera in vehicle three. Within that 32 seconds
three operators were combat ineffective due to enemy fire and related
wounds and all three vehicles were disabled either through mechanical
failure and/or driver errors and wounds. All three vehicles were taken
under fire almost simultaneously which leads to the belief that there was
more than one enemy element engaging the motorcade though only one enemy
element was ever identified by the members of the team. The volume of
enemy fire and the consistency and accuracy of that fire in relation to a
callsign that was spread out over three hundred meters indicates either a
very proficient enemy operator or the presence of more than one GPMG during
Enemy forces engaged the motorcade for no more than one minute and ten
seconds at which point they had evacuated the engagement area.
Upon disengagement with enemy forces the team consolidated its position
with Mark Collen and Al Johnson continuing to provide medical treatment to
Jay Hunt and Steff Surette while the rest of the team provided 360 degree
Phase Five- Consolidation: Simon Merry signaled to Coalition Forces (CF)
who were located three hundred meters to their front (west of the contact
area) who responded to the signals by approaching the engagement area
slowly with three Humvees. Concurrently James Yeager left his position at
the median and moved to vehicle three in order to provide close in support
and security to Al Johnson who was still attempting to treat Jay
Hunt. While, at the rear of vehicle three, Yeager engaged a local national
vehicle that was attempting to move into the engagement area from the east
on Route IRISH. Believing this to be a possible VBIED, Yeager fired two
shots into the vehicle at which point the vehicle stopped and did not
attempt to move any closer into the engagement area.
At this point Coalition Forces had reached vehicle one with Ian Harris
providing them an immediate sit-rep as to the situation while asking for CF
support in order to evacuate the casualties. CF took command of the scene
and instructed Ian Harris to police up team members, equipment and vehicles
that were mobile and evacuate the scene. They instructed the team to move
to Camp VICTORY where CF would evacuate the wounded team members to the
Camp VICTORY Aid Station.
Ian Harris rallied the surviving team members and loaded into vehicle’s
one, two and three. Vehicle two was un-serviceable and thus abandoned. Al
Johnson stayed with CF forces and was still treating Jay Hunt along with a
CF medic at this point. Al Johnson was hit in the buttocks during the
engagement but continued to remain behind in order to insure that CF
treated and evacuated the wounded/dead. Ian Harris evacuated the team with
vehicles one and three departing for the CASH at Camp VICTORY.
During the consolidation and preparation for evacuation a call sign from
Olive Security approached the motorcade from the east on Route IRISH
arriving at vehicle three and interfaced with Al Johnson and James
Yeager. Olive offered assistance to the team and, due to the fact that CF
forces had run out of room within their FLA, Olive evacuated the body of
Chris Ahmlemen along with some team equipment. Olive proceeded to Camp
VICTORY meeting Edinburgh Risk call signs at the check point leading into
BIAP/VICTORY and instructed the team to follow them into VICTORY as they
had the body and equipment with them. Al Johnson had been loaded onto the
CF FLA and moved to the CASH at VICTORY via the CF FLA. Olive remained
with the APOLLO team at the CASH and continued their support. At the CASH,
Chris Ahmelmen and Jay Hunt were pronounced dead and Steff Surette was
undergoing treatment during which he died. Al Johnson continued to stay
with the casualties until he was ordered by the military to receive
treatment. The remaining team members consolidated all equipment and
personnel and returned to Edinburgh Risk HQ located within the
International Zone. Support was provided to the remaining members of the
call sign for this move by Edinburgh Risk’s Operation Hermes and continued
support from Olive.
Given the nature of the contact, the violence of action executed by a
capable enemy force and the volume of enemy fire levied upon the team
during the initiation of the contact, the team responded as well as could
be expected under the circumstances. Without doubt, this was a highly
capable and well rehearsed group of insurgents initiating a deliberate ambush.
Retrospectively, the team should not have remained static for a protracted
period of time in a canalized area such as Route IRISH. It is
understandable that the team tried to create depth between themselves and
local national traffic due to the threat of VBIED on the BIAP
road. Inadvertently, this maneuver also resulted in the team unmasking
from the concealment provided by low profile saloon vehicles within the
main body of local traffic. During the debrief the team acknowledged the
fact that they were static in one location for too long a time however they
also state that they were in the process of leaving the area when enemy
contact was initiated – it is possible that the enemy deliberately waited
for this moment to initiate the contact.
Actions during the contact itself were conducted in accordance with the
team SOP. The team attempted to drive out of the kill zone but this action
was precluded due to operator error for vehicle one and mechanical failure
due to enemy fire with vehicles two and three. Upon failing to extract by
vehicle the operators evacuated the vehicles and established a base of fire
in order to suppress enemy forces so as to then be able to break contact as
required. The fact that the team suffered 50 percent casualties in the
initial volley of fire detracted from their ability to sufficiently
suppress the enemy thus also negating their ability to then break
contact. James Yeager in accordance with the team SOP attempted to break
contact in the opening stages of the contact yet fire superiority and or
suppression had at that time not been established. Ian Harris and Mark
Collen, each under heavy enemy fire, were the only two individuals during
the contact who attempted to suppress enemy forces. Simon Merry was
continuing to try to maneuver his vehicle to a position of support to
vehicle one and then two whilst Al Johnson was busily treating multiple
casualties at his location with vehicle three. James Yeager was in a
location at the median where he could not engage enemy forces as he did no
have a line of fire from his location. Ian Harris as team 2 IC provided
leadership to the team through the use of verbal commands and fire control
while the team leader, Al Johnson attended to the wounded personnel from
his vehicle. Ian Harris, with assistance from Coalition Forces and Olive
Security, consolidated the team and evacuated the area.
Many of the lessons identified are well known but it is worth reiterating them:
* If forced to go static on Route IRISH (or any route for that matter)
teams need to act in accordance with SOP and immediately evacuate the area.
* If enemy forces initiate fire it is imperative that the team under
fire first establish fire superiority prior to breaking contact. It is
imperative that team members who have eyes on the enemy call out fire
direction, distance and description so as to alert other team members to
the enemy location. You can not maneuver until you have established an
aggressive base of fire.
* Team Leaders should have no additional duties other than that of team
* Crew Served Weapons must be kept running during the course of the
fight. If one goes down due to a wounded or killed operator then that
weapon must be immediately put back into action by another team member.
* Every move needs to include at a minimum one weapons system utilizing
7.62 NATO in order to defeat enemy forces employing hard and soft skin
PSCs have experienced countless attacks on Route IRISH as well as on other
MSRs within Iraq. PSCs, while having the ability to defend themselves and
their clients to a degree, will only be as successful as the conditions
established by Coalition and Iraqi security forces. The fact that enemy
forces can mass and execute operations in the vicinity of Route IRISH as
well as throughout Iraq is a testament to the current conditions within
Iraq. PSCs, in order to operate successfully, must swim in a sea of
security established by “green army”. If general security is not
established by Coalition and Local National security forces to a degree
that precludes the enemy’s ability to operate in strength across Iraq then
PSC’S and their clients will continue to become a collateral target of an
insurgency that operates with impunity.
Signed on Original
Edinburgh Risk and Security Management
. After what seemed like an eternity, but was a couple of seconds, I grabbed the door handle and began implementation of our ambush S.O.P. for a disabled car in which the first step is getting out of the car. I remembered I was in a stick shift that was in neutral with the emergency brake on as I hit the ground, and the point of no return, and moved to the rear wheel. I not sure how long it takes to empty a 30 round magazine on full auto but I began firing before Stef emptied his gun the first time.
I felt Mark coming out of the rear door so I began the next phase of our S.O.P. which is getting away from the car (getting off the “X”) because people tend to shoot at cars and rifles easily penetrate them. I turned and ran toward the median which was about 40 feet to the edge. I got face down on the edge of the asphalt, took a firing position, and yelled “MOVE!” to Mark.
James Yeager (Me) – I made several tactical errors the biggest being my failure to get the car moving. I fucked that up and there is no excuse. I am taking a PSD driving course as soon as possible. I also feel I should have been moving in to cover vehicle three and Johno as he worked on Jay sooner. I was still trying to carry out our SOP and I got to thinking in that line instead of realizing sooner that we had bogged down and my tactics should change accordingly. If Johno had proper security set up could he have worked on Jay sooner/faster? I dropped the ball.
Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests