Fighting from victory

Most of us have read the story of the Israelites crossing the Red Sea. The Israelites were trapped—wedged between forbidding mountain cliffs and an impassable sea. The Egyptian army, a vicious slaying machine, was in the hot pursuit, determined to obliterate them. Still, Moses urged God’s people not to lose hope. “Jehovah will himself fight for you,” he assured them.—Exodus 14:14.

As Christians, our battle is not of the flesh, but a spiritual one. It may appear you are losing it, but always remember the war was won. In our daily lives, we may lose battles over here and over there, but that does not mean we have lost the war.

Providence of God

When God is not at the steering wheel, He is the backseat driver. He is the drillmaster who calls the signals from the desk. His providence is the invisible rudder on our ship.

God is the pilot at the wheel during the night watch. As someone has said, “He makes great doors swing on little hinges.”

God brought together a baby’s cry and a woman’s heart down by the River Nile when Pharaoh’s daughter went to bathe. The Lord pressed little Moses, and he let out a yell. The cry reached the heart of the princess, and God used it to change the destiny of a people. That was providence. That was the hand of God.

God could be using the battle you face to mould you into His firebrand; a rabble-rouser who will turn the world upside down.

A lesson from the Battle of Takur Ghar

And this makes me remember the Battle of Takur Ghar. I recall it because it is unique; its account run like a Hollywood script. Apart from Vietnam, Mogadishu and Fallujah, there has never been another intense fight pitying US Special Forces against insurgents of such intensity. It sounds fantastic than Vietnam, Mogadishu and Fallujah. The battle was scary, but the war was won.

In a nutshell, The Battle of Takur Ghar was a short but intense military action between United States special operations forces (i.e. the Navy SEAL and the Rangers) and Al Qaeda insurgents in March 2002, atop Takur Ghar Mountain, Afghanistan. In honour of the very first death of the fight, Navy SEAL Neil C. Roberts, the fight is also known as the Battle of Roberts Ridge.

The Navy SEAL and the Rangers pass through rigorous military training and what comes out is a pure fighting machine. For example, in the Navy SEAL, only 20% of those who enlist finish.

The month was September, Date 11, the Year 2001, Al Qaeda terrorists had launched attacks against the United States.

Terrorists flew two planes full of innocents into buildings in New York City and one into the Pentagon in Washington, DC. A fourth plane was brought down by brave passengers in Southern Pennsylvania. Almost 3,000 Americans were killed in the attacks.

Situation Critical

Following the attacks, the United States government responded with military force. It was clear that Al Qaeda was involved, and knowing that Al Qaeda and Osama Bin Laden were based in Afghanistan, President George W. Bush gave the Taliban an ultimatum: either they hand over Bin Laden, and his organisation or the United States would strike with absolute force.

The Congress passed legislation authorising the use of force in striking terrorist targets, and when the Taliban did not cooperate in handing over Bin Laden, United States forces began a bombing campaign in Afghanistan in early October 2001, just weeks after the September 11 attacks.

With the assistance from Coalition nations, such as the United Kingdom, NATO forces, and the Northern Alliance, American Air Force and Navy jets bombed vital Taliban and Al Qaeda targets across Afghanistan. Special Forces troops were sent in (Specifically the Navy SEAL and the Rangers), and in November of the same year, the first ground base was established. Enough of the Taliban had been destroyed or driven away by the end of 2001.

The US commanders wanted to clear Taliban and Al Qaeda from the strategic Shahi-Kot Valley, and they launched Operation Anaconda. For reconnaissance (recce) a special force was to be inserted on the crest of a vantage ridge; the Takur Ghar mountain. This would serve as an excellent observation point. Who else can carry out such heart-rending operation if not the Navy SEAL? But before the Navy SEAL is inserted, The AC-130 gunship zoomed past the mountain. It uses television, infra-red and radar sensors to locate ground targets, even at night. It failed to detect human presence on the mountain, and NAVY SEAL were given an okay to land. Unfortunately, the Al Qaeda had dug in, and the Gunship sensors could not pick them.

Al Qaeda had fighters perfectly positioned to fire on helicopters and troops operating in the valley below.

The helicopter carrying the SEALs landed and was instantly struck by a rocket-propelled grenade (RPG). The stricken helicopter took off, but Petty Officer First Class Neil C. Roberts fell out of the open ramp. The helicopter attempted to return and retrieve him, but the damage prevented appropriate control, and also the helicopter was required to crash-land in the valley about 11 kilometres away. Now, one Navy SEAL, Roberts was left alone on the ice-covered mountain surrounded by best of the best of the Al Qaeda. Forensic evidence concluded that Roberts fought vehemently with the battle-hardened Al Qaeda militants, who were heavily armed, for quite some time before he was cut down. Roberts used all the weaponry he had on Al Qaeda combatants, evading them and taking cover behind the rocks.

As a tradition, the Navy SEALS never leave one of their own behinds, so they returned to the top of the mountain and tried to rescue Roberts. However, the team came under direct fire after landing, and one of them was cut down there and then. The team was forced to withdraw from the top and request for reinforcements from Rangers.

The Rangers arrived in two helicopters; one landed at the top and was baptised in the fire too, just as the former two copters for Navy SEAL. The other copter landed at another lower location, and the rangers had to climb the mountain at 45 degrees inclination, facing heavy fire from Al Qaeda.

There ensued a bloody movie-like fight between a handful of US best of the best (Navy SEAL and the Rangers) and battle-hardened hundreds of Al Qaeda militants in whose vocabulary there existed no word such as surrender.

To cut the story short, when the guns fell silent, the US Rangers had overrun the Takur Ghar Top and eliminated the enemies. But this came at a cost, 7 US special force operatives dead and 11 injured.

Finally, Operation Anaconda successfully drove Al Qaeda and Taliban from the valley and surrounding areas. Taliban was overthrown. Osama Bin Laden was cut down some years later.

Take-home

The Taliban was overthrown. There was no way it could win against the powerful US army. This does not mean the US was spared of small defeats here and there. However, they were fighting from victory.

The war against the adversary of the Cross was won many years ago. And this is the best reason why battles should not scare you. You are fighting from victory; you are at a vantage point. God is making a profit of every action in your life. Because you are predestined, called and justified.

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