Angels In Sadr City

( 9 )


When the 4th Infantry Division from Fort Carson was deployed to Iraq in 2007, the men found themselves in a city known as a safe haven for criminals and terrorists. No other allied forces had dared enter Sadr City to suppress the insurgents. The area of Sadr City is an untamed city inhabited by nearly two and a half million people, some of whom found safety and comfort in the protection offered by the United States Army. Their task was to build a wall to contain the enemy inside the city. How could they wall off ...
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When the 4th Infantry Division from Fort Carson was deployed to Iraq in 2007, the men found themselves in a city known as a safe haven for criminals and terrorists. No other allied forces had dared enter Sadr City to suppress the insurgents. The area of Sadr City is an untamed city inhabited by nearly two and a half million people, some of whom found safety and comfort in the protection offered by the United States Army. Their task was to build a wall to contain the enemy inside the city. How could they wall off an entire city while being shot at by the enemy at the same time?

Discover what the media did not report in its coverage of the War on Terror. This is the true story of the last battle for Baghdad through the eyes of an infantry soldier as he leads his men to accomplish an important strategic initiative against insurmountable odds. Join the soldiers of the "Beaver Platoon" in the battles they fight in the streets of Baghdad and within their own souls. These are the miracles that saved the men of Charlie Company and transformed the life of one of its leaders forever.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781440187759
  • Publisher: iUniverse, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 12/10/2009
  • Pages: 216
  • Sales rank: 1,428,238
  • Product dimensions: 0.49 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 6.00 (d)

Table of Contents


GLOSSARY OF TERMS....................xi
MAIN CHARACTERS....................xv
FOREWORD By A.J Boyes....................xxiii
THE MEN OF CHARLIE COMPANY 1-68 TEAM STEEL....................xxix
CHAPTER 1 WHERE IT ALL BEGAN....................1
February - March 2008....................9
CHAPTER 3 THE BATTLE FOR ROUTE GOLD....................18
DAY 1: March 23rd 2008....................18
DAY 2: March 24th 2008....................25
DAY 3: March 25th 2008....................29
CHAPTER 4 BATTLE FOR SADR CITY....................43
Early April 2008....................43
AEROS INTERSECTION: April 18th, 2008....................47
CHAPTER 5 HORSE....................66
April 20th, 2008....................66
CHAPTER 6 BRAVO INTERSECTION....................74
April 27th, 2008....................74
April 28th, 2008....................78
CHAPTER 7 REUNION WITH AN OLD FRIEND....................85
CHAPTER 8 DELTA INTERSECTION....................94
CHAPTER 9 FORD....................104
ENDURING THE TIMES....................113
AFTER BATTLE OPERATIONS....................122
CHAPTER 11 SUPPORT OF THE FAMILIES....................135
THE PERSONAL TRIAL....................139
CHAPTER 12 A SOLDIER'S THOUGHTS....................144
AFTER ACTION REPORT By: Command Sergeant Major John A.Kurak....................153
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First Chapter


The Final Battle for Baghdad, Iraq

iUniverse, Inc.

Copyright © 2009 Anthony S Farina
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-1-4401-8775-9

Chapter One


I have spent ten years in the United States military, four of which in the Marine Corps, where I trained and deployed tediously with the infantry and later a reconnaissance unit. The Marines brought me the opportunity to visit some 15 countries, along with four major deserts. My last deployment in the Marines is one I will not forget. I was with a small detachment of Marines doing recon patrols around August through September 2001, from an outpost about 15 miles from the infamous Camp Bondsteel in Kosovo. We were conducting a lot of these patrols because there were bad men we had to find in our area and quick routes were needed back to our camp in case of an emergency or just to move secluded with a prisoner.

I remember this tour so well because one day, when I had finished up a 19-hour long recon patrol, I came back to my cot to get some rest. About an hour into sleep, my lieutenant came into the tent and woke us all up yelling that the World Trade Center had been hit.

"Get up! Get up! Out of your cots now!" Lieutenant Regan yelled. "The World Trade Centers have just been hit by terrorists. They are gone!" "But Sir," I said tiredly, "we just came off a nineteen- hourrecon patrol. Can we fight more bad guys later?" "Look, this isn't a time to joke around Corporal Farina," Regan retorted. "This is a serious situation. Now get all the men up and have them stand by while I get more details on what we are doing next."

I was so young and naive at that time that I didn't even know what the World Trade Center was, so I rolled back over and fell back to sleep. Later, when I awoke, I was informed of the enormity of the situation and it all began to sink in slowly. Little did I know that one single act of terrorism is what would bring me to Iraq in 2003 and back again in the winter of 2007, along with the dawn of a new age of warfare. Though there were many great trials in the Marines, I left the Corps in June 2002 with my heart unsatisfied. Something was missing. Not two weeks after my discharge from the Marines did I find myself in the Army seeking out the elite United States Army Special Forces, more commonly known as the Green Berets. The problem was that with the long escalation of claims and preparation, I deployed to Kuwait as part of the invasion force and my plans for the Green Berets had to be delayed.

During my time in Iraq in 2003, I had the pleasure of serving with some of the noblest men I can testify about to date. These men gave their lives to a suicide bomber, the first of the entire war that has gone on now for a little over five years. One of the fondest memories I have of this tour was when I stood my ground during my first ever hostile engagement. There were about eight men on the ground, two Abrams battle tanks and one Bradley fighting vehicle. Our short mission was to block all traffic leaving Baghdad and allow anyone wishing to enter the city to proceed. We were on the main highway that runs through Iraq which is known as "Highway 8."

As the day wound down and our area was set up, I, along with the rest of the men on the ground, started detaining people from vehicles and putting them in holding areas made of concertina wire. I remember seeing a truck coming toward our checkpoint and watching some of the men with me try to flag the truck down and get them to stop. For whatever reason the truck did not stop, and as soon as it crossed a designated line, all of us on the ground were ordered to open fire on the vehicle. The vehicle would soon come to a halt and as we inspected the vehicle, we found the bodies of two teenage boys and a wounded woman. The woman was helped from the vehicle to be given medical attention. While she was being treated and the rest of us were assessing damage, we took fire from a distant tree line about two hundred meters away. Out of nowhere, two RPGs flew through the air and somehow weaved their way through the two main battle tanks. I remember the first one the best because it flew directly over my head and I could literally feel the heat from the rocket.

As all of the men on the ground were taking cover and trying to see where the enemy was attacking us from, another rocket flew overhead and landed in the dirt. This particular rocket landed next to the head of a fellow soldier. I remember looking back at him and him looking at me in disbelief because the rocket just landed, glowed red for a minute, and then lost its color.

More rockets started to come in along with a hail of bullets from all directions. All of us as a group stood our ground and began to maneuver to any cover we could find to gain a good fighting position. As everyone was moving in one direction across the main road, I noticed my friend Kyle Hartley was tangled up in the concertina wire we had used to detain the individuals from the vehicles earlier that night. I immediately ran to help him get out of the mess he was in. He was like a marionette, trying to move in one direction and only partly succeeding while the rest of his body remained trapped by the wire. After a few minutes I was assisted in getting him out of his predicament. During this time, everyone else had found cover and didn't seem to want to move so Kyle, the two other individuals trying to free Kyle, and I became the center of attention for all the enemy to focus on.

Rounds started coming close by, and no sooner did Kyle get free than more RPGs were launched in our direction. After this, all of us who were being fired on maneuvered and found good positions to return fire. Once we were set in, the tanks and the Bradley started engaging the tree line where the firing was coming from. The fight was soon over.

When all had calmed down, I looked over to Kyle and could see that he was OK. I asked him for some water because when I was cutting him loose, I had dropped my canteen and the second one I had was empty. He told me he didn't have but a swallow left of his own supply, but since I came to him in time of need he would happily give me his last drop. This was the first time ever that I had seen the true bond of men in combat. A brother giving his last drop of water to you after risking your life for him is what makes being out there worth it. It's all about the hell and close calls you endure together that make the bond so unbreakable in combat.

Days went by before the first suicide bombing of the entire war. After that, there is a whole other book already written on what happened. Amy E Dimond wrote such a book. It was about what my platoon went through during the invasion. In the book, entitled My Country to Defend, she wrote about how the men in my platoon gave their lives for a much greater cause than what was at hand. The death of one member of the platoon helped to create a new law that would help future immigrants gain citizenship. This one incident would be my drive to join Special Forces the first chance I could get once I got back home. Upon my return from Iraq in late 2003, my heart did not feel like it was missing something; it felt purpose. I trained for three years with Special Forces following the invasion. I trained with the mindset that I would go back to Iraq to avenge the death of my brothers and relieve whatever wildness that was in my heart and calling me so loudly to explore. In my time with SF, I trained for nearly a year as an advanced trauma medic, and later I learned explosives and construction (Yes, the two do go hand in hand.) along with rigorous hours of hand-to-hand combat.

Patrolling and ambush techniques soon became second nature as I spent many long sleepless days and nights studying small unit tactics. Later on during training, the instruction grew more complex and difficult as we were taught about the Persian culture and became very familiar with the native language of Iran, known as Farsi. A man by the name of Sam was our Persian teacher, and being originally from Iran he offered the class priceless knowledge on the depth of the Persian culture. He would spend half the day teaching us the basics of reading and writing Persian and then spend the last few hours teaching in a story-type of format. This is when he would grab the students' attention by bringing all lessons of the day into reality. From him I learned that the story of Conan came from a Persian hero by the name of Roostam. He would also throw in random facts that would take the class by surprise, such as the fact that windmills were actually created in Persia and how old style military tactics used to employ the bow and arrow as advanced weaponry.

The most intriguing story, however, would be that of a man by the name of Hassanasaba. His name is where we get the modern day term "assassin" from. This man trained over three hundred of Persia's elite who did not fear death and lived only for one single purpose and mission: to assassinate. I felt a personal connection to this story because of the training I was going through. I was being trained to be one of America's elite. No matter where I would go or what I would do, this story seemed to touch me in a way that made me see no limits in training or succeeding in a mission. My personal mission was to avenge the death of my friends from the invasion, and knowing this story made me realize that my mission was far from impossible. In time, the mission would be fulfilled.

Sam's method of teaching caught my attention, and I was surprised to find out that most Iranians love Americans. But their government has gone through many revolutions, and the current regime does not like us at all. I was able to contrast this to the people of Iraq, who themselves love us and desire freedom and democracy. However it is that country's government which, in the end, gives its citizens a bad reputation. At the end of this training, I was put through a short survival school, Survival Evasion Resistance and Escape, or SERE. I didn't quite make the cut in the end, and I was forced to pick a regular Army unit. So I decided that with my training not only from the Marines, but from war time experience and Special Forces, I was ready to go back to war. I was ready to avenge the death of my fallen brethren.

I sought out the first unit leaving and headed west to join them. Upon arrival at my new station in Fort Carson, located in Colorado Springs in July 2007, I was given the task to train 15 men straight out of basic training for six months prior to deployment. I thought this was a perfect opportunity: to take men who had no experience and give them everything I knew. I personally trained the men in hand-to-hand combat, advanced medical procedures, counter terrorism techniques, and survival and evasion. Some even attempted to learn Arabic on their own, which showed me the desire these men had to contribute to the mission.

I recall one late Friday afternoon, the men were anticipating going home for the weekend. Everyone was outside waiting for word to be released from the commander, and they began to grow restless. So, since we had trained for many long days in hand-to-hand combat, I told them that while we waited we were all going to have some fun. I instructed the men to get into two equal lines and put their backs to one another. Then, they were instructed to all go to their knees. When I gave the command, they were all to turn around and face their competitor at once and wrestle him to the ground using the techniques they have been taught over the months by yours truly. "Ready, set, go!" I shouted, and no sooner did I shout the word "Go" than all the men were turned around and got into one huge brawl. Bodies were being flipped over, some were being locked in arm bars and screaming for mercy, while some just laughed and messed with the weaker ones.

The brawl was a good way for the men to bond, to test what they had learned, and relieve a bit of stress after a week of long work. After a few minutes, I noticed some blood was starting to spill among a few of the men, and I began to think of how this was going to bond the men in a way that the protective Army would not let them have done in the past. Well, no sooner did I notice the blood then I heard, "Staff Sergeant Farina!" (Uh oh. It was the commander.) "What in the world are you doing out here with your men," he asked with a stern voice that had a mix of shock and curiosity as well. "Well sir," I replied with a grin, "they are just relieving a bit of stress after the work week and at the same time showing me what they have learned." Yeah, that didn't go over too well. I was told to immediately cease the activity and to not let such a thing happen again. I guess in the Army there are just some things a man can't experience until he gets to combat.

So after months of training, which was controlled a little bit more after that Friday's exercise, our unit left the home we knew in Colorado and set out for Iraq. At first I didn't think anything of it, but after being gone for four years, I ended up in the exact same place in the country as I was the first time around, back in Baghdad.

Chapter Two


February - March 2008

3rd Brigade, 4th Infantry Division arrived in Iraq after Thanksgiving in the Fall of 2007. We were located on a former Iraqi Air Force base just north of Baghdad known as Camp Taji. There we staged our equipment, which included all of the items we brought from Colorado along with equipment left by previous units and passed down to us, such as vehicles, gear for searching houses, and identification systems that would help us to identify wanted criminals. At Camp Taji we prepared our men for combat operations by conducting rehearsal training of how we would patrol and react to enemy fire. We lived there for about 45 days before moving to Combat Outpost Ford (or COP Ford for short) in Baghdad. We had just completed the transition process into COP Ford when our company was scheduled to receive new humvee's because the Army was replacing M1114s with new model M1151s.

The M1151s were the new standard, and the Army was working on getting units in theater these vehicles as quickly as possible. One thing I particularly liked about the new version was that it had air conditioning, a luxury I would never have thought possible out here in Iraq. In the invasion of Iraq in 2003, the only type of air conditioning we had was to unzip the windows on the vehicles that were in use. This was definitely a small comfort that made life easier here during the deployment. The vehicles were more modern in terms of technology. They had computer systems that would help greatly with navigation and communication.

Once the unit was set in at COP Ford, the company was going to rotate the three platoons back to Taji for these new vehicles. It would give the crews a break for a day: a chance to get a haircut, eat in a real dining facility, and take a hot shower. It was here that the platoons would have to go to sign for the new vehicles and turn in the old trucks. First Lieutenant Galen Peterson's Blue Platoon was told that he would be the first to get vehicles from Taji and would be having an extra vehicle in the convoy. That vehicle would be the company commander's, and it would be manned by three men from the headquarters' platoon. So Lieutenant Peterson set out for camp Taji with his men and they stayed there for the usual three days to get the old vehicles turned in and the new ones signed for.

After all the initial maintenance was conducted and the vehicles prepped, Peterson was ready to make the trip back to Ford to continue daily operations. On these trips, men would just be watching the area for anything suspicious while talking about home. Someone always had a story about the family or the latest news that was going on. The long trips from one base to another always provided opportunities to crack a good joke and start the major trash talking about one another which always seemed to bond men in the military.

Peterson's convoy was traveling along a major road, which in America would seem like four lanes but in Iraq was only three, and the third vehicle of the five-vehicle convoy was the commander's. The vehicle carried Staff Sergeant Michael Elledge as the truck commander, Sergeant Christopher Simpson as the vehicle's gunner, who would sit in the turret of the vehicle and man the automatic weapon that would serve as the protection for the vehicle, and Specialist Keith Hanson as the vehicle's driver for the trip.

Out of all the men, Sergeant Simpson was closest to the company commander, Captain Todd Looney. He had been the commander's driver for about two years, and they were personally close. Staff Sergeant Elledge was usually the gunner, but in this particular instance they all played different roles. Simpson was not only the commander's driver, but anytime the commander would get out of the vehicle to check out a situation on the ground, Simpson would always be right there at his side as his personal security officer. For the longest time the commander would view these three as his family, for at times it would seem the Army would have them spending more time together than he did with his own family, and that is one factor that made their bond so strong.


Excerpted from ANGELS IN SADR CITY by ANTHONY S FARINA Copyright © 2009 by Anthony S Farina. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 9 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 9 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 3, 2014

    First and foremost, don't rely on one star ratings from jackasse

    First and foremost, don't rely on one star ratings from jackasses who hide behind an "Anonymous" log in name. This is a no punches pulled, straight from the gut, first person account of what it is like to put your life on the line in combat. It helps any of us who have not been in Staff Sergeant Farina's boots understand that the man to your left and right are your motivation for risking death or serious injury to accomplish a mission lest you let your brother-in-arms down. Angels in Sadr City also provides insight into the emotions of an abnormal experience that linger long after the actual events. This should be required reading for EVERY company and field grade officer to help them understand the impact their decisions have on enlisted Soldiers that are tasked with carrying out their orders.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 22, 2011

    A must read for any American

    I have always had a respect for our military forces and what they are willing to sacrifice for our country. However, it never really hit home and still not fully even after I married a soldier. It is really hard to get a soldier to talk about and relive such horrific events in their lives but SSG Farina not only opens up the door to what he has seen but helps you understand what they feel and think. You can't read this book and look at a soldier the same again. They are truly heroes. Thank you SSG Farina for the strength to pen your memories and experiences for a nation to read.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 9, 2011

    Highly Recommended!

    i thought this book was inspiring! Anthony is a hero!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 5, 2010

    Gripping and Real

    He's been there, he's done it. He's a real person who had the courage to take a deep introspective look after-the-fact, and share with everyone his holistic experience. All around great guy that deserves much recognition for trying to help others! You're a hero SSG Farina!!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 1, 2010

    Angels In Sadr City

    This book as been so inspiring for me. I was totally oblivous to what our soliders went through over in Iraq. The book helps me make sense of it all. We may not like war but we have to love those warriors!!!!!! It drives me Crazy to see people bashing the good someone is triing to do!!! When you state things like "It should be used for toliet paper" you are smashing my sons face in crap!!!! It is to ad our world has to live with such jealousy. It would be a far better place without it. Please before you slam the book ressearch where the proceeds are going Anthony is not making a dime on it 20% will be putting Sgt Christophers Simpson cousins through college or be going to his foundation. So really think about what you say. It may help you feel better but in the long run you look like the tolet paper!!!!!!
    Proud Mother of Sgt Christopher Simpson KIA 3/17/08
    Proud Mother of Richard Simpson USMC 04-09
    Kate McLaughlin

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 2, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Enlightening view

    The writer did a good job with this book regardless of a few minor errors. I was intrigued to discover that the profits of this book are going to the families of soldiers who sacrificed in combat. Though this is an account from a personal perspective, backed-up by a statistics section at the end, I believe there is something for everyone to learn from in this story. The book not only talks about the emotions of combat but the reality a soldier faces when returning home and dealing with addiction issues. Good job SSG Farina, I will suggest this to everyone I know and keep up the charitable work!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 7, 2014

    This book is not worth the money. The author is full of himself.

    This book is not worth the money. The author is full of himself. I served in the same war........   This author twists things to make them his own reality. Skip it! 

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 1, 2010

    An absolutely inspring account

    Anthony Farina's Angels in Sadr City is an absolutely inspiring account of his combat experience in Baghdad. With detailed imgery, he points continually to the great sacrifices of the men in his unit. It is not a book about the politics of the War on Terror. It is not a book about his own heroism. It does describe some battle strategy, which he explains well to civilian readers who may not be familiar with combat maneuvers. Rather, Angels in Sadr City deals with the "spirituality" of war, if you will, which makes it a very unique perspective on combat.

    In his book, Farina describes both the external and internal struggles that soldiers in combat endure. The war, he says, consists not only of the battle in the streets, the visible battle of good versus evil, but also the battle in a soldier's spirit. Farina explains what motivates men in an infantry unit. He describes what it's like to be shot at and delivered from death. He lets us share his sorrow at the death of his comrades. In short, Farina invites us into his own soul as his unit fights both in the streets and in their spirits.

    The way Farina describes his own experience with post-traumatic stress is an inspiration to anyone who suffers from sorrow, loss, depression, addiction, or stress-induced conditions. The book can be helpful to other soldiers, their families, or anyone with these experiences.

    I highly recommend this book to anyone looking for an inspirational story about conquering against the odds.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 26, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Worst 15 minutes of self glory that I have ever read.

    I read Angels in Sadr City, it took about 45 minutes to read the whole book, and that is 45 minutes of my life that I will never get back. As a scholar it was poorly written and doesn't show any of the true facts of the war. It is one man who can't stop talking about himself long enough to make side notes about fallen soldiers. The facts that he presents in this book are truely skewed. I have studied history for the last 30 years of my life and served in the military myself, and can say that I am truely apalled. Please save your money on this book, because I would be willing to send mine to you for free.
    SSG Farina, next time you choose to write a book, I would take a little more time preparing, and would find someone to proof read it for you.

    Best of Luck...

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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