Philip Harris ConflictDaily.com 13 March 2017
In October of 2015, about 4 miles north of Hawija, Iraq, ISIS held a prison and was thought to be readying all their hostages to be executed. In 2015 the U.S. had many different special forces teams on the ground assisting local Kurdish (SDF being built 2015) with their anti ISIS operations.
While being on ground with these local forces, the American commandos trained, advised tactics and supported the fighters in their quest of driving ISIS out of Iraq. Because these American operators were on the ground they received a tip from some locals in northern Iraq that ISIS was holding about 70 people hostage in a prison near Hawija, Iraq.
That tip was close enough and was valued to be a high priority for the Kurds who wanted to raid the ISIS held prison. After the American and Kurdish command’s completed their plan they set out to capture the prison from ISIS.
Upon arriving at the prison the Americans and Kurds rushed the entrances to the prison but were bombarded with blasts of machine gun fire and explosions from inside and nearby the prison. They had lost the element of surprise. In the confusion of losing the element of surprise a U.S. soldier named Joshua Wheeler rushed out of his advising position towards the rear of the formation into the from to re-seize the initiative that was slowed because of enemy gun fire.
Master Sergeant Wheeler has been credited from defense officials with saving the operation and making it a success. When the initiative was lost on the raid, Master Sergeant Wheeler, leading by example rushed to the front to breach into the ISIS prison. He was killed while re-seizing the initiative that had been shattered seconds before. Master Sergeant Wheeler received a Purple Heart for his actions that night.
That raid was accredited to saving about 70 peoples lives from their terror stay at an ISIS prison moments before they were all scheduled to be executed. We must never forget the morals of Master Sergeant Wheeler and his quick thinking that saved many of his comrades and many civilian lives.