Capturing Saddam Hussein | VideoChris Williams | 11/13/2012
There were only a hand full of soldiers involved in the capture, and one of them was in Williston last night.
Are some of the things you might say after hearing the story of how the U.S. Army captured Saddam Hussein. Lt. Col. Steve Russell talked about that mission last night at the Trinity Christian Banquet.
"We were one of the central units that were involved in the hunt and capture. Beginning as early as may 2003, right up to December 13, when he was captured," he said.
The troops had been capturing members of Saddam`s inner circle for about eight months, when one of them eventually led forces to a farm in Tikirt, Iraq. After some encouragement from soldiers, the man kicked a mat on the ground. When troops pulled it up they found who they were looking for.
They pulled Hussein out of the hole, but he wasn`t done yet. He asked to negotiate a deal with the troops, but the only response he received was
"President Bush sends his regards."
Forces called Bush to let him know they found Hussein, and then they had time to reflect on what happened.
"It was just unbelievable. Much like people felt when they were here at home and heard the news. It was a similar reaction even when we were involved with doing it ourselves," Russell added.
The story hit home for some in the audience.
"This is a great country, he reaffirmed that in my heart tonight," said Williston resident Stewart Vachal.
For others, it gave them a very real picture at what service men and women do.
"It changed our view on what happened out there, and how much they sacrificed. That was a pretty big realization for how much they do for us," said Trinity Christian Sr. Class President Issac Bumgardner.
Russell says It took several close calls and failed missions to find Hussein. At one point they were in his house, but just missed him. That`s why Russell also talks about never giving up.
"If I had led my task force to a point where it looked like we were making progress with Saddam`s capture, then all of the units involved, we just decided well we`ve been on a number of these raids, and I don`t guess we`re ever going to get him. We would have been one raid short, boy that would have been a mistake. I think a lot of times we take ourselves out of the fight."
Russell says it`s now more important than ever to not give up on the country.