The Pentagon announced yesterday that American forces in Iraq will increase from 138,000 to 150,000 to bolster security for the national elections scheduled for January 30, 2005. Sometimes lost in the sea of uniforms are the faces. Sometimes lost in the statistics are the stories. Let me introduce you to Captain Sean Sims, United States Army.
Last month??¢â???¬â???¢s battle for Fallujah was the most intense house-to-house combat operation for American troops since the battle for Hue in Vietnam thirty-six years ago. Abu Mousab al-Zarqawi, field commander for the terrorist organization??¢â???¬â???¢s operating in Iraq, called Fallujah headquarters. U.S Army and Marines, with the help of the Air Force from above, organized to once-and-for-all ??¢â???¬?????drain the swamp.??¢â???¬ Captain Sims from Eddy, Texas, thirty-two years old, father and husband, along with his men in Alpha Company were among those who answered the call.
The night before, Sims??¢â???¬â???¢ battalion commander spoke before the troops gathered in a circle. There is calm and a time for reflection on the eve of combat. ??¢â???¬?????This is as pure a fight of good versus evil as we will probably face in our lifetime,??¢â???¬ said Lieutenant Colonel Pete Newell.
Sims and his men woke early on Saturday to look at maps of Fallujah and to see the city under siege by daylight. During the night, Air Force AC-130 Spectre gunships, spewing tracers from cannons with remarkable precision, pounded the hideouts.
Now, Alpha Company??¢â???¬â???¢s mission was to go house to house, to root out the terrorists, to ultimately rid this Baghdad suburb of al-Zarqawi and his murderers standing between the Iraqi people and freedom. Captain Sims believed in his men, in his mission and in his God. He also believed that leaders should lead, be out in front.
As Sims scanned the bombed-out buildings, enemy sniper fire began and the battle was joined. ??¢â???¬?????Lord, I have to say a special prayer now,??¢â???¬ Sims said quietly.
As Sims and Alpha Company entered a house, a group of insurgents were waiting. At once calm and then bullets blazing. Two soldiers were hit and radio calls were hastily made. Additional American soldiers ran to the scene and shot their way into the house.
Alpha Company and our troops would win the battle convincingly. Yet after the adrenaline subsided, after rifle barrels cooled, there would be no joy. Captain Sims made the ultimate sacrifice to his country. One life, one face, for freedom. America, please meet Captain Sean Sims.