Special Operations: Avoiding Friendly Fire in Iraq


31, 2006:
One of the many dangers encountered on the road in Iraq are friendly
special operations (commando) forces. These guys tend to drive around in
civilian vehicles, wearing civilian clothes. Lots of potential for friendly
fire here, especially with non-American commandoes. Normally, commandoes will
stay away from American convoys. That's because they know that U.S. troops can be
quick on the trigger if they spot some rough looking civilians driving near
them. When possible, the special operations people will let the regular forces
know there are commandoes in the area. Convoys, in particular, can then be
alerted. In general, American troops moving around on the roads know it is
likely they will encounter commandoes, and are ready to receive a familiar sign
to confirm that fact. For one thing, American commandoes will, to an American,
"look American," even if they are dressed as Iraqis. The commandoes may also
use special (pre-arranged) hand signals, identification panels or other signs
to indicate they are friendlies. So far, no terrorists have managed to pull off
an attack by pretending to be Coalition commandoes. But the risk is there, and
everyone has to be on their toes.


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