172nd getting its feet wet

Stryker Brigade off to heroic start

The third Stryker brigade is getting ready to take over in Mosul for the departing 1st Brigade, 25th Infantry Division.
As insurgents generally try to take advantage of new units still getting their bearings after arriving in-theater, the 172nd is going to need to hit the ground running.

It looks like they have:

MOSUL, Iraq–The lives of Capt. Patrick Williams, Sgt. 1st Class Karl Zaglauer and Staff Sgt. Nick Malich intersected several nights ago in this northern Iraq town during a patrol.

Malich might be dead had he not met the two soldiers from Alaska.

Williams and Zaglauer serve with 172nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team out of Fort Richardson. Malich is attached to the Fort Lewis, Wash., Stryker team that is returning home. As the 172nd prepares to take over, its soldiers have taken “rides” with Fort Lewis Iraq veterans to familiarize themselves with their new duties.

During a recent reconnaissance patrol in eastern Mosul, Zaglauer’s platoon got word that insurgents may have been hiding in a house. Cordoning off the area, soldiers dismounted and entered the house.

“We went through a garage gate and then headed about 50 meters toward the front door,” Zaglauer said. “We entered the house and began to clear the first floor. We then heard movement both upstairs and downstairs.”

An Iraqi woman and her were children in the basement. The insurgents were upstairs.

Then came the first grenade.

“I heard a metallic clink, and I knew they had dropped a grenade down the stairs,” Zaglauer said.

Zaglauer and his men were able to get out of the way of the grenade blast.

“We restacked and prepared to go up the stairs, then a second and third grenade, plus small-arms fire poured down the stairs,” he said. “We managed to get out of the way of that, too.”

Using their M-4s, the soldiers returned to the stairs and opened fire. It was at this time that Zaglauer learned that two men outside the house were down.

One was only lightly wounded, but SSgt Malich was in bad shape:

Realizing that Malich did not have long to live if the bleeding continued, Williams took a knife and cut a 4-inch incision at the exit wound site.

“I then slid my hand up into the wound, found the artery and applied pressure against his chest cavity,” he said. “That controlled the bleeding.”

In the meantime, Zaglauer and his men began to exit the house.

“We knew that we had to get a litter in there to get that guy out,” he said.

They got him out, but there were still insurgents to deal with.

As he and his men fell back, the Strykers’ .50-caliber machine guns opened up on the house with suppressive fire. Using that as cover, a litter team recovered Williams and the two wounded soldiers and got them back to a Stryker.

Air support appeared and attacked the top floor of the house.

“That pretty much ended the night for those guys upstairs,” Zaglauer said. “And the woman and children downstairs were not hurt.”

Arctic Wolves getting the job done.

UPDATE: And speaking of Stryker brigades and wet feet, members of the 56th Stryker Brigade combat Team (Pennsylvania National Guard) are in New Orleans distributing food, water, and other aid. The 56th won’t actually receive its Strykers for a couple of years.


  1. HOOAH! Outstanding article. It’s good to see accounts like this getting published. Of course, you’ll never see it it rags like the NYT…the news is too favorable towards the military.