U.S. Special Forces stationed in the Iraqi Ain al-Asad military airbase recounted the events that led up to the Iranian retaliatory attack on the 8th of January – which included the launch of 16 ballistic missiles toward Iraqi bases housing U.S.-led coalition forces, after the United States killed the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Quds Force commander, Major General Qassem Soleimani.
“Prior to the attacks we had a couple of hours notification. We didn’t know exactly what type of threat but we just got a notification of a threat. We didn’t have any knowledge at that point that it would be a missile attack but we were prepped in advance to be ready for a strike of some sort,” U.S. Staff Sergeant Tommie Caldwell said. U.S. Military Officer Larry Jackson further recalled “On that particular night I wouldn’t say that there was anything in particularly different, however the threat level was more increased and there was more alert. So, what we basically had done was we dispersed our forces out just in case there was a large and direct threat and then we also strategically placed out personnel.”
According to Officer Jackson, the magnitude of the Iranian attack came as a surprise to the American forces, he said that in “my sixteen years in the army I’ve never seen one of that magnitude coming from an opposition force.”
It is important to note that while the Iranian attack caused significant damage to Western military infrastructure, thankfully, no injuries were reported.