The Battle of Takur Ghar, or Roberts Ridge, as it’s more affectionately called by members of the US military, occurred on March 3-4th 2002. Takur Ghar translates from Pashto as “Tall Mountain”. The battle became the most memorable part of a much larger operation called Anaconda.
The battle started when Navy SEAL, Petty Officer First Class Neil Roberts fell from a MH-47E Chinook, on an attempted landing to an unknowingly hot LZ, when he lost his footing due to a combination of RPG blast and spilled hydraulic fluid of the mangled aircraft. Razor 03, the call sign of the Chinook was eventually forced to land putting a gap of 4 miles and several thousand feet between Roberts and the rest of his team.
With knowing little more than conflicting orders and mixed situation reports, the QRF, a small force of Rangers and Air Force PJs, were headed into an extremely hostile LZ and would spend the day fighting for their lives. Some of them would pay the ultimate sacrifice to live by the sworn oath to never leave a fallen comrade.
On 6 January 2002, COLONEL Mulholland’s JSOTF-N was ordered to conduct a sensitive site exploitation mission in the Gardez-Khost region, where it was estimated that up to a thousand foreign fighters were located. In late January, ODA 594 attempted to conduct a ground reconnaissance of the Shahi-Kowt valley, only to turn back after their Afghan security forces warned them of a major enemy concentration there1
Based on the intelligence he had gained, Mulholland decided that he did not have a large enough force to accomplish the mission. He recommended that conventional U.S. forces assume the mission, supported by both his own Task Force Dagger and another Task Force, K-Bar (...
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...y the small arms of the US forces.
In the end, the professionalism and expertise of all the operators involved in operation Anaconda had prevailed and the mission would be considered a success. Mulholland assessed the performance of his men. “We put these small groups of highly trained, very dedicated professional unconventional warriors…into an alien country…and destroyed al-Qaeda and the Taliban in his backyard, in his stronghold.”23
Briscoe, Charles H., Richard L. Kimper, James A. Schroder & Kalev I. Sepp, Weapons of choice: US Army Special Operations Forces in Afghanistan. Fort Levenworth: Combat Studies Institute, 2003.
Dick Camp, Boots on the Ground Minneapolis: MBI Publishing Company and Zenith Press, 2011.
Leigh Neville, Takur Ghar: The SEALs and Rangers on Roberts Ridge. Long Island City: Osprey Publishing, 2013
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