On December 13th, 2003 at approximately 8:26 PM local time, elements of the 4th Infantry Division and Special Operating Forces raided a farm compound just north of the town of Ad Dawr, on the Tigris River, about 15 kilometer south of Tikrit, capturing Former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein. At Least 600 troops were involved in the raid, which resulted in the capture of Hussein and two men, armed with Ak-47s. Hussein was found hiding in a 6 x 8 foot crawl space below an outbuilding, armed with a pistol and carrying ($750,000 USD). Saddam Hussein was then transported by helicopter enroute to a secure, undisclosed location without incident.
Operation "Red Dawn" was launched after gaining actionable intelligence identifying two likely locations near the town of Ad Dwar. The First Brigade Combat team of the 4th ID was assigned the mission to capture or kill Saddam Hussein.
Camp Arrow / FOB Arrow / FOB Wilson
The 4th Infantry Division conducted operations in the area of Tikrit since the unit arrived in Iraq in March 2003. The 4-42 Field Artillery had been based in Adwar [Ad Dawr] (about 30 minutes south of Tikrit) since June 2003. Adwar is a small city (population 30,000) in central Iraq about 10 miles south of Tikrit, and about 80 miles north-north-west of Baghdad. By December 2003 the 4th Battalion 42nd Field Artillery's operation has become the norm for Task Force Arrow. While the 4-42 Field Artillery battalion conducts these operations, it is important to note that with the additional responsibilities such as raids, checkpoints, and patrols, the battalion continues to provide accurate and lethal artillery fires in support of First Brigade. On 13 December 2003 Former President Hussein, was taken into custody at a small mud-walled compound outside the village of Adwar, Iraq. US soldiers trained candidates for the Iraqi Civil Defense Corp at Camp Arrow in Tikrit.
The living conditions at FOB Arrow are beyond what anyone expected. Most soldiers expected to live off of their vehicles and eat only MREs. FOB Wilson is outfitted with several building that provides ample housing for soldiers. Most rooms have air conditioning and the base is fortunate to also have a running water supply for showers and hygiene. There are also facilities that support a weight room, a barbershop, an Iraqi Café with local foods, an Iraqi Shop with local items, a mini AAFES shoppette, a large DFAC, televisions with AFN, a phone center and an internet café. All of which are greatly appreciated by the soldiers.
FOB Arrow has since changed its name to FOB Wilson in honor of the squadron's two-timed Medal of Honor recipient. With the transfer of authority came a new name for the base. FOB Arrow was renamed Wilson Base, named for cavalry Sgt. William Wilson, who was awarded the Medal of Honor twice during the Indian Wars. Sgt. Wilson is one of only five men to achieve this distinction.
Though the locations have new names, the mission of A Troop, 1-4 CAV remains the same: maintaining a stable environment to help the Iraqi people build a Democratic government. A Troop continues to accomplish this mission by working closely with the Iraqi Civil Defense Corps and Iraqi National Police, patrolling the area and ensuring a safe and secure region.
Charlie Troop, 1-4 CAV was extremely active in April 2004. Each platoon has their respective missions and they are able to cover an area once occupied by an entire battalion and one brigade reconnaissance troop. They concentrated on going to areas that have not had a lot of U.S. Army presence in the past few months. The platoons got on the ground and talking to the local population, the local sheiks, teachers and police chiefs. This was being done to better understand what they can do to make their lives better and what can they do for the US Army to help find the people in their area who would cause problems or do us harm. These operations have been very helpful in building the bonds necessary with cooperation and co-existence with Coalition Forces and the local Iraqis in our area.
These meetings with the locals produced immediate results with a busy week of local informants supplying intelligence on rocket launch sites, weapons and rockets caches. Some even leading soldiers to them personally. These sites uncovered numerous caches ranging from mortars, PE-4 explosives, wire for detonation cord, mortar tubes, rocket skids and rockets.
Charlie Troop finally settled down into their quarters. These facilities would probably be the envy of any combat unit in Iraq if they knew what they have set up at FOB Wilson. The building that houses the majority of the troop has running water, hot showers, washers and dryers, and every room has twenty-four hour electric lighting and air conditioners. The DFAC has stopped serving T-rations and started serving hot meals for breakfast and dinner meals. The MWR facility houses a wide variety of recreation, communication and products for sale. For lunch, the Iraqi Café is open from 1100 hours to 1600 hours and serves such meals as chicken or beef kabobs, chicken nuggets, hot wings and locally made beef pockets. The barbershop is open from 1000 hours to 1530 hours. There is an Iraqi Store that sells such items as televisions, large rugs, old regime souvenirs, DVD players, candy and sodas. Rivaling the Iraqi Store is the mini AAFES shoppette with a majority of the products found in a usual shoppette. If a product is not present, a soldier can request it to be gotten on the next supply run to restock the store. Probably the greatest assets in the MWR facility are the twenty computer stations with Internet capability for ordering stuff online, email and instant messaging. Right next to the Internet Café are the digital phones that allow soldiers to place calls anywhere around the world twenty-four hours a day.
March 13th felt like Christmas for the soldiers. It was the first day of receiving mail since leaving Germany so long ago. It was kept in storage and piled up while it waited for us to arrive at our destination. The coming of mail was a most welcomed morale booster. Now that the mail system is set up, soldiers have been receiving and writing to their loved ones regularly as LOGPAC takes and brings the mail every other day.
Charlie Troop sat all their soldiers down in the DFAC for a fair drawing where soldiers pulled a piece of paper out of a box that had a number written on it. That number was the order of precedence for R & R leave. On April 12th, the troop began sending soldiers on 4 day passes to Qatar, a country that is a coalition ally in the Middle East with U.S. bases where soldiers can take passes for relaxation outside of a combat zone.
Maps and Imagery of Ad Dawr
Click on the small image to view a larger version
Ad Dawr is located approximately 15 kilometers south of Tikrit on the Tigris river.
Ad Dawr as of 27 February 2003 (Source: DigitalGlobe)
Overview of the Objective Area. After searching two possible locations for Saddam Hussein, named Wolverine 1 and 2, coalition forces cordoned off and searched the surrounding area, finding Hussien in a third location. (Source:DigitalGlobe)
Overview of the Objective Area. (Source:Space Imaging)
Site of Saddam Hussein's capture. (Source:DigitalGlobe)
Site of Saddam Hussein's capture. (Source:Space Imaging)