This is Real-Life Footage of a Night Stalker “Snatch ‘n Grab” Mission in Iraq

When you think of the words “heliborne” “vehicle” and “takedown”, you’re probably reminded of that scene in Black Hawk Down when a bunch of Delta Force operators aboard MH-6 Little Birds and a MH-60 Black Hawk halt a convoy of Toyota SUVs carrying a Somali politician, Osman Atto, using the Little Birds and a strategically-placed shot by a Delta marksman to force the lead vehicle to stop.

In Ridley Scott’s quest for accuracy and realism in the movie, he enlisted the help of a number of former Night Stalkers, helicopter pilots of the US Army’s 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment, in crafting all aviation-related scenes; a number of those pilots actually wound up flying the Black Hawks and Little Birds for the movie itself. Interestingly enough, though most movies do take some degree of dramatic license, where they change around a few things here and there to make the movie more interesting and exciting for its viewers, this particular scene (in its execution) was right on the mark, as is evidenced by the following footage of US Army Night Stalkers assisting in a vehicle takedown in Iraq, during Operation Iraqi Freedom.

In the video, which was apparently taken from another American military aircraft nearby, a pair of 160th SOAR MH-6 Little Birds with a small contingent of operators track and trail a sedan, carrying a high value target (HVT), during a “snatch ‘n grab”-type mission. In a matter of seconds, one MH-6 accelerates ahead of the vehicle and pivots on its center axis, spinning to face the car while blocking off the road in the process. A pair of operators unclip themselves and hurtle forward from the benches attached to either side of the lead MH-6, their guns drawn, while another Little Bird lands behind the car, its own set of operators moving towards the sedan to surround the HVT and pull him out. More special ops soldiers flood the scene, securing the area, while other Little Birds (which presumably hauled the other soldiers on-site) lift off and fly away into a holding pattern. They don’t stay on the ground, as they’re easy targets for insurgents with small arms and rocket propelled grenades (RPGs). The video was taken south of Fallujah, though the exact date of this snatch ‘n grab op is unclear.

Also, in case you haven’t seen Black Hawk Down, this is the scene I referenced earlier (0-45 second mark):


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