(Turns out they weren’t SOF. See the last update below)
Just ran across an intriguing photo. Found it on a Facebook profile. The caption reads:
“A break with Iraqi Special Forces Operation Spear OIF 3”. It brings up some interesting things:
First, it shows Iraqi troops working alongside 3/2 in June 2005 during Op Spear. I wasn’t aware that 3/2 was operating with Iraqi troops that early. I thought that came later, in Aug/Sep. So, more to learn on that score…
Second, the caption says these guys (in the chocolate chip uniforms) are “Iraqi Special Forces”, not regular troops or Iraqi National Guard (ING). If that’s correct, I wonder what the operational relationship was. Did they just happen to be holed up in the same house when the photo was taken? Did Kilo Co. have some SOF element embedded with them for Operation Spear? And if so, there would likely have been US SOF with them. Who would that have been? (see update below).
There’s a whole parallel history of SOF operations in the Al-Qaim area, concurrent with Marine operations. And there is actually quite a bit of publicly available info on this. But does this photo represent a small piece of that? I’ll be rooting around to find out more.
Update (9jan17): OK, here’s some confirmation. Found a photo and caption in the book “Hearts and Mines: With the Marines in al-Anbar, a Story of Psychological Operations”. Another photo showing “Iraqi Special Forces”, operating with the Marines.
U.S. Marines assigned to 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, patrol the streets with Iraqi Special Forces soldiers, while conducting offensive operations in the city of Karabila, Iraq, during Operation Spear, June 17, 2005. (USMC photo).
Update (13jan17): Looks like this was incorrect. I’ve had a couple of 3/2 sources tell me the guys they worked with were just regular Iraqi troops, not Special Forces. The acronym commonly used was Iraqi Security Forces (ISF), which can easily get transmuted into ‘Iraqi Special Forces’. So, another example of guys who were on the ground setting things straight.