On September 16th, 2007 I was an up-gunner in a turret apart of Raven 22 a Department of State, Tactical Support Team that was responding to a Team in which their venue was attacked with a VBIED (Vehicle Born Improvised Explosive Device aka Car-Bomb). There were multiple Tactical Support Teams in which one would be a primary, supporting the PSD Teams out in the Red Zone and another appointed which was on standby to spin up as needed. On this particular day Raven 23 was our Secondary as we (Raven 22) were the primary.
This is a Day that would live in infamy with the Blackwater name and would ultimately keep Blackwater from winning anymore contracts in Iraq.
Before I get into the events of that day, I want to go back 7 days to September 9th because in my opinion that is when it all started.
September 9th, DOS PSD Teams were on venue at Adamant City Hall in Baghdad when a Grenade was thrown over the wall which erupted into a complex attack. 2 PSD Teams were involved along with 3 TST (Tactical Support Teams) that arrived as a QRF (Quick Reaction Element) in support of the PSD Teams.
September 10th, A Medium lift DOS Helicopter was shot down enroute to Baghad from Al Hillah. 1 TST Team was loaded up on other Medium Lift helicopters to be inserted on scene and 2 other TST teams were sent in by ground in which the HELO inserted Team came under intense fire by bad guys in which they were supported by US Military Forces.
September 12th, a TST Raven 26 was moving throughout the City in support of PSD Teams so they could provide adequate response time in case the PSD Team came under attack. During that time the TST team was hit with an EFP (Explosively Formed Projectile) in which the secondary and tertiary TST Teams were spun up to respond. Not long after this another PSD was coming back from BIAP (Baghdad International Airport). This team coming from the other side of the City was assigned a CAT Team (Counter Assault Team typically an up-armored HMMV often referred to as the Gun truck that trails the motorcade). Route Irish is notoriously dangerous and the PSD Team put the pedal to the floor to run "Irish" as quickly as possible. As the PSD Team moved faster, an up-armored HMMV started to max out and started drifting further back from the motorcade. As the motorcade realized, they were losing their CAT, they slowed allowing the CAT to catch up. By doing so, they happened to slow down in front of a blown out building in which bad guys were laying in wait for a target of opportunity. Bad guys opened fire on the PSD Team not realizing the CAT Team was fast approaching with the turret now rotating over to engage with its M240 and with windows down and M249's and M4's out the windows to the right, everything was focused on their fast approaching 2 o'clock in which they laid hate and discontent on all the bad guys that were trying to attack the members of that PSD Team.
September 16th, TST Raven 22 was on Primary in which heading back to home base for lunch a car bomb went off. Radio traffic immediately identified it as a venue one of the DOS PSD teams in which they were calling for support. Raven 22, "Flipped a Bitch" as often referred to as making a U-Turn and was headed that way. Raven 22 made arrival within 200 meters of the venue within about 8 minutes. The PSD Team asked us to stay off venue and that they would come to us, as the burning carcass of the vehicle was right out the front gate. The Team made their way to us in which we put them in the middle of our 4 vehicle APC Motorcade. As we made our way back to the Green Zone, we began taking fire. At the time Raven 23 pushed out from the Green Zone to lock down the nearest traffic circle to get us through it. Moments later Raven 23 called out "Contact", and "Vehicle Down", in which you could hear the heavy contact over the radio traffic. Us, having a Protectee in our protection now, we had to circumnavigate around the firefight which put us out onto route "Irish". As soon as we saw the Green Zone in sight, the PSD team broke off and we came in from behind to flank Raven 23 to assist. By the time we had arrived, Raven 23 had hooked a tow line up to their downed vehicle and were able to tow it out under fire.
When we arrived, me being in a turret of a Saxon, which was the highest point in a motorcade, I could see Iraqi's taking up defensive firing positions on us. I saw NO bodies laying around dead as described in testimony. I only saw Iraqi Police looking to engage us. In fact, we were actually confused as to if this was in fact where the attack had actually taken place. Before long, they separated our forces, by dividing us with a water buffalo truck, all while we were preparing to bust through their barricades because we thought we were in the wrong spot and that our Brothers were still in a fight. We then began a standoff with Iraqi Police which lasted probably no more than an hour but seemed to last 4.
Things lulled out, with the support of Apache Gunships overhead and Big Army arriving, which in the end only made things worse due to a hot mouthed US Army Officer.
Regardless as to what you have read in the media, this is what I witnessed and observed. People will say what they want, but it is my belief that thees 4 were political fall guys. They were convicted unjustly and I can't wait for the appeal so they will be free.
We did police our own, and I have heard first hand someone say something as stupid as "I just want to go out and kill someone!" As soon as these people were identified, they were gone. Mercenary, Cowboys, whatever you wanted to call Blackwater... They saved a lot of lives. All Patriots, And many of who are still serving their Country in one way or another.
And when you say Blackwater, make sure you are encompassing every Security Contractor overseas, because that is how it was perceived. Anyone did anything bad, they were referred to as Blackwater. Other Companies advised their employees, if you are stopped for anything, tell them you are Blackwater.
Blackwater wasn't a bad company, just the fall guy for a political agenda in which you can see today how that is working out for everyone. Iraq is a failed State as I see it. We gave too much autonomy to a dictator driven Nation. New Government, Democratic? No.. Just as corrupt as the previous, however the new dictator has a new title... Prime Minister, and the US wanted to save face and solidify their power by backing the imprisonment of 4 that should not be in prison.