BAGHDAD, Iraq – It has only been a day since an assailant took the lives of an Iraqi Counter-Terrorism Force sergeant and corporal during an operation to serve an evidence-driven warrant issued by the Criminal Investigative Court of Karkh.
The atmosphere was potent with emotions and passion was running high among the Iraqi Special Operations Force soldiers as they mourned the loss of their fallen comrades during a silent memorial service held in the Iraqi capital July 28.
“The families of the fallen Iraqi soldiers are in our thoughts and prayers,” said Lt. Col. James M. Higgins, an officer with Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force – Arabian Peninsula who attended the memorial service. “They paid the ultimate price for their nation. We will always remember them and the sacrifice they, and so many of our men, have made for Iraq.”
With prayers echoing from a loud speaker, attendees walked down a pathway expressing their condolences with a handshake before taking their seats. Leaders from the Counter-Terrorism Command, Counter-Terrorism Bureau, Special Operations Task Force – Central, along with approximately 500 others, paid tribute to the fallen soldiers.
Underneath a draped Iraqi and ICTF flag, sat the combat gear used by the fallen soldiers during their last mission. Two helmets rest atop rifles standing above tan suits of armor displayed as a testament to the heroism of these fallen soldiers.
Silence. Not a single word was spoken for more than an hour in honor of the fallen heroes. At the conclusion of the ceremony, the guests gathered around the static display.
“My heart goes out to their families,” someone whispered, paying their respects as smoke from incense evaporated into the air. Both U.S. and Iraqi Soldiers one by one said their farewells.
“The U.S. stands ready to assist the men of the Iraqi Special Operations Forces to defend this country,” Higgins said. “Our actions together will serve as a living memorial to these fallen heroes of Iraq.”