|Creation date||March 25, 2015|
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Three days before Operation Viper Strike the first FRAGOS dropped for the guys at RAPTAC or RAPTOR Tactical Applications and Operations. The original AO suddenly became unavailable, and while a new AO was located, maps and months of pre planning had to be reorganized. No sweat for guys that do change-of-plans for a living.
Operation Viper Strike was a 24 hour Op set in the mountains of Western North Carolina and pit several different US units against a small and fast Taliban force and possibly 3 potentially villages. While the only answer to the Taliban was force, the villagers could be swayed to provide intelligence to US or Taliban forces depending on the ever changing political climate...and which team bribed the village with the most candy or cash.
Saturday morning started off cold and damp but soon heated up. US Forces moving through the valley had just finished up a morning patrol and were return to their FOB when explosions and gun fire filled the air. The loud explosions of theatrical IEDs, pyrotechnics and blank fire weapons reverberated off the Western North Carolina Mountains. Although my squad was not present, having just settled into our penthouse FOB on the top of a mountain on the far end of the AO, the battle's intensity could be felt from a half mile away.
The story was different that morning for the Taliban, as the first several hours of the morning were used by several different cells to gather intelligence on the Villagers, US Forces and a potential US Special Forces Unit that was disguised as Afghan natives. Taliban fighters replaced rifles and battle kits with soft covers and walking sticks in order to bland in with the villagers. My particular Cell, which included 3 members of Stampede Airsoft (Troy, Chele, and Mario) relocated our kits along various footpaths around the Valley while we scouted out the patrol routes of the US Forces.
The afternoon came and action began to heat up as Taliban forces reacted to the intelligence they had gathered that morning. Battles ensued, and soon the Taliban were striking the US Forces using IEDs and hit and run tactics knowing that the US never left a man (or woman) behind. Many times US Forces would be hit by and IED and then find themselves under another attack when their rescuers showed up. This continued throughout the afternoon and into the night.
Technology brought the US Forces to the next level, as many utilized night vision goggles on a mostly moonless night. Even though they were not as effective as they would have been during some moon light, it was still the tactical advantage they needed over the Taliban to force the change in momentum. Soon the night gave way to morning and the US Forces were again reeling from hit and run tactics and IED strikes. The final hours of the Op saw US Forces feverishly attempting to take a village on the side of the mountain to no avail.
In the end, there were no winners or losers...just finishers and some quitters. How can you spot a finisher? The coveted golden RAPTAC patch worn by anyone who has braved out a 24 hour Op at the hands of RAPTAC!
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