Photos of servicemen in Iraq, some wounded, some carrying wounded, opened the Noble Foundation’s Profiles and Perspectives presentation in the Charles B. Goddard Center Tuesday night.
The guest speaker, U.S. Army Lt. Col. Steve Russell (Ret.), commanded the 1st Battalion, 22nd Infantry “Regulars” and conducted combat in Tikrit, Iraq, from the spring of 2003 to the spring of 2004. His unit was central to the hunt and capture of Saddam Hussein.
On Dec. 13, 2003, Russell got a call to get all his forces ready, that this might be the big one. Just after 8 p.m., all forces were set.
Two men tried to flee the area to divert forces away. A foot mat was noticed near a patio and when they pulled the foot mat away, they could tell someone was down in a hole.
“He was startled when they pulled him up,” Russell said. “He said, ‘I am President Saddam Hussein and I’m willing to negotiate.’ One of our soldiers that was there said, ‘President Bush sends his regards.’”
Anytime the soldiers captured an important person, they did not linger. They put a cover over Hussein’s head and he was flown off in a helicopter. Russell was ordered not to tell any of the soldiers who they had captured.
“Dec. 13, 2003, will always be one of the proudest days of my life,” Russell said. “I thank God for giving us the victory that night.”
During a question-and-answer period that followed his presentation, Russell told the audience members they could get news about Iraq on his Web site at www.vets4victory.com. He encouraged everyone to support soldiers in Iraq as long as it takes to get the job done.
“If America truly wants to support her soldiers, then let them win,” Russell said.
The Noble Foundation’s 2008-09 Profiles and Perspectives season will be announced in late summer. To suggest a future speaker, contact Mary Kate Wilson at (580) 224-6246 or mkwilson@noble.org.
Sheila J. Robinson, 221-6536
sheila.robinson@ardmoreite.com