Bodyguards in Iraq
By Nathan Seabrook: Part 1 of 4
The war in Iraq was both a wake up call and rapid transition of how the nature of CP/PSD operations were to evolve. Changes in SOP’s, tactics, weapons and movement operations were to rapidly transition because of the ever changing and fluid tactics used by insurgent and criminal groups throughout Iraq.
This four part article will look at some of the changes that CP/PSD teams used in Iraq in order to successfully and safely accomplish their missions and operations.
In early 2004 many security firms operating in Iraq were using weapon platforms that had been traditionally associated and used in CP/PSD operations, It was not uncommon to see CP/PSD teams armed with MP5’s, MP5K’s , pistols and the Beretta model 12S (SMG).
The days of “European CP” type operations thought, would quickly come to an end.
During 2003 as the insurgency gained steam and momentum a number of high profile attacks against private security companies in and around Baghdad would change the thinking on what type of weapon platforms were to be carried during operations.
Many of these early attacks in 2004 were initiated from various distances of anywhere between 150 to 300 meters. The attacks were initially small arms ambushes that included stationary and mobile (vehicle) attacks but soon evolved into combined IED (Improvised Explosive Devices) and small arms contacts. When teams were hit, they in some cases did not have weapon platforms that had the range or stopping power to deal with the threat. The deadly realization soon hit home that heaver weapon platforms would be needed in order to counter the threats.
Within months of the 2004 attacks, teams were soon being armed with heaver weapon platforms that included, M-4’s, AKM’s, M249 SAW’s, M240B’s, PKM’s and RPK’s. The MP5’s and Beretta model 12s were still used but were in many cases used as a back up weapon for drivers. The transition from sub guns to full size automatic rifles and light and medium machine guns now gave the PSD/CP teams a fighting chance to accomplish their mission.
In the fall of 2004 PSD teams from the now defunct company know as DEH Global were completing a movement from a water treatment facility outside of Baghdad and was returning to their base camp. When the team was about 25 minutes to the gates of their base camp, the three vehicle formation was ambushed by between 25 to 30 insurgents armed with AK-47’s from stationary firing points.
The team was immediately hit from three sides; the rear, left side and front, but the PSD team was able to return accurate deadly fire from a MAG 58 medium machine gun manned by a former Army Ranger and fight their way off the “X”. The team escaped the ambush without loss of life to the principal or team members, but did deal a serious blow to the insurgents, an after action report from the US military in charge of that battle space reported that 10 to 15 insurgents had been killed and a number more wounded. Had the PSD team not had the additional firepower and range of the MAG 58, the outcome most likely would have been deadly to the team and their principal.