Perspective: Elusive insurgent evades surprise air raid
Members of the 10th Mountain Division in Iraq
FEDEWAH, Iraq: Moon-lit grass rippled and thrashed over the landing zone as Pfc. Tim Cottingham dialed open his seat belt and jumped from the belly of a pounding Black Hawk.
Weighed down by body armor, ammunition, an M-4 Carbine and a freshly oiled M-14 rifle, the 21-year-old Lockwood, Mo., native felt his boots sink ankle-deep in wet earth. He slogged ahead several paces before slamming himself down into a prone firing position.
As the rest of Cottingham’s chalk dove into the beating grass, the helicopter gunned its engines, lifted itself into the night sky and faded from view. The soldiers of 2nd Platoon, Company C crouched in silence, surrounded by cool, still grass.
Their objective lay just 200 yards ahead.
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