HAWIJA, IRAQ - There are plenty of video games and movies out there that simulate war zones and battle scenes, but very rarely do we get to see a real soldier's point-of-view during a secret raid.
New video from the Regional Government of Iraqi Kurdistan shows the U.S. raid on an ISIS compound in Iraq on October 22. The joint operation with Kurdish fighters set out to rescue hostages believed to be in danger of execution.
"We knew the hostages would soon be murdered," said Col. Steve Warren, "We knew this because we saw freshly dug graves."
The soldiers thought they were there to rescue Kurds from an ISIS jail, but it was dozens of terrified Iraqis who staggered out. Once inside the compound, the soldiers discovered an office draped with the ISIS flag, and even more cells. The soldiers gave each captive a quick pat-down, making sure they weren't the enemy in disguise. In all, they rescued 70 from certain death.
The mission ends with the destruction of the compound. United States Central Command released video showing coalition aircraft blowing the prison to smithereens.
At some point during the raid, a member of the elite Delta Force was killed. Master Sergeant Joshua Wheeler, a Roland, Oklahoma native and veteran of 14 tours of Afghanistan and Iraq, was the first combat death in that country since November 2011. He was 39 years old.
The mission marks the first time U.S. soldiers engaged ISIS fighters on the ground in Iraq since the U.S. sent troops back there last year.