Two American Heroes Honored in the “The 11th Order: Six Seconds to Live”

Two Marine Heroes

LCpl. Jordan Haerter and CPL. Jonathan Yale

Dan Daly, Smedley Butler, John Basilone, Chesty Puller, Brad Kasal are just a few legendary Marines. While there are numerous other noted Marines, there are two devil dogs who should be mentioned with these legends for their heroic dedication to duty. Unfortunately, most Americans will never know or appreciate the extraordinary heroism of two Marines in Ramadi on April 22, 2008. Their journey to immortality began with the Marine Corps tradition of standing on the yellow footprints at MCRD Parris Island. A Marine Drill Instructor would have told them how “Tens of thousands of Marines began outstanding service to our country on the very footprints where you are standing. You will carry on their proud tradition.” Jonathan Yale and Jordan Haerter would carry on those proud traditions.

Jonathan Yale from Burkeville, Virginia would enlist in the Marine Corps on July 24, 2006 and attend Boot Camp at Parris Island. He would earn his Eagle, Globe and Anchor as a member of Second Battalion and graduate on October 20, 2006. He would deploy to Anbar Province where he would participate in over 150 mounted and dismounted patrols.

Jordan Haerter grew up in Sag Harbor, New York and enlisted in the Marine Corps after graduating from Pierson High School. He would graduate from Boot Camp at Paris Island on December 1, 2006. He would deploy with his unit to Ramadi, Iraq in March 2008.

On the morning of April 22, 2008, Corporal Jonathan Yale and Lance Corporal Jordan Haerter were standing guard duty at Post Echo, the entry point to Joint Security Station Nasser in Ramadi. Two Marines from different parts of America doing their duty, guarding the outpost housing 50 Marines and 100 Iraqi Police Officers. A suicide bomber in a water tanker truck came from the farm road and accelerated seeking to crash into the Joint Security Station. A terrorist with 2,000 pounds of explosives speeding towards the Marines and their Iraqi Police allies.

As General John Kelly said, “with steel in their backs” the two Marines instinctively raised their weapons and engaged the threat. In six seconds, the two Marines never flinched, moved to cover or sought to save themselves. LCpl. Haerter raised his M4 and with precision fired into the cab of the truck. Cpl. Yale engaged the threat with an M249 SAW. An Iraqi Police officer stated “I was able to see a Mercedes water tanker the color was light blue, and the water tank itself was white. It was entering at a high rate of speed, and as it was entering the Marine guards at the gate started firing at its direction.”
While some Iraqi police officers fired on the threat, others sought cover and moved past the Marines firing seeking safety.

The suicide bomber failed to breach the compound. The truck bomb came to a complete stop just in front of Post Echo and then detonated. An Iraqi police officer in his statement about the two Marines said, Sir, in the name of God, no sane man would have stood there and done what they did.” An Iraqi police officer stated that “if the Marines had not stood their ground to their death the truck would have wiped out the JSS and everyone in it.”

President Reagan once said, “Some people spend an entire lifetime wondering if they made a difference in the world. But the Marines don’t have that problem.” Corporal Yale and Lance Corporal Haerter made a difference through their courageous acts of heroism. Their decisions and actions all within six seconds saved 150 individuals. The yellow footprints at Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island got much larger for the thousands of future Marines being told” Get off the bus and on the yellow footprints.” Marine Drill Instructors should now bark out to new recruits “get on the footprints where once stood Cpl. Yale and LCpl. Haerter-two American heroes.” For these two American heroes in six seconds have upheld the finest traditions of the Marine Corps and our nation.

Director Joshua DeFour has made a short realistic film about these two Marines. The premiere of “The 11th Order: Six Seconds to Live” takes places tomorrow May 19th at Hogg Memorial Auditorium, Austin, Texas. One can also reserve a copy of this film at http://www.filmmakerscollab.org/films/the-11th-order

If you can’t get to the premiere, order a copy of this short film and spread the word about two America heroes – Cpl. Jonathan Yale and Lance Corporal Jordan Haerter.

Jonathan Yale, Jordan Haerter, Dan Daly, Smedley Butler, John Basilone, Chesty Puller, Brad Kasal and numerous others. Our nation is forever in their debt.

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Terror in Mogadishu: Al-Shabaab Out For Death and Blood

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In 2016, Al-Shabaab was named the deadliest terrorist group in Africa having killed more than 4, 000 people that year. This year seems no different in Somalia. Recently the U.S. State Department in an updated warning on Somalia stated that “There is a particular terrorist threat in places where large crowds gather and Westerners frequent, including airports and seaports, government buildings, hotels, restaurants, and shopping areas.

Al-Shabaab continues to attack hotels, government leaders, and anywhere large crowds might assemble. On Saturday, October 28, 2017, five Al-Shabaab terrorists attacked the Nasahablod hotel in the Hamarweyne District of Mogadishu. A suicide bomber in a truck pulled up to the front gate of the hotel and pretended his vehicle was broken down. When the suicide bomber detonated the other attackers stormed the hotel wearing National Intelligence and Security Agency (NISA) uniforms shooting all they came in contact with. One terrorist detonated a suicide bomber vest as the other terrorists threw grenades and made their way inside the hotel which they held until the next morning. The terrorist killed 27 and injured over 30 individuals.

This is not the first time this hotel has been attacked.  In June, four gunmen wearing military uniforms stormed the hotel once again taking hostages and throwing hand grenades. A suicide bomber detonated his vest at the entry gate.  The terrorists killed 14 and wounded 11 during this attack. Two weeks before this attack Al-Shabaab terrorists stormed the Ambassador Hotel killing 15 including two members of the Parliament. Today in Mogadishu a ban was announced on tankers and overloaded trucks in the city. But this won’t stop Al-Shabaab attacks. Yesterday in Rasadaay, Al-Shabaab fighters forced the African Union Forces (AMISOM) to withdraw.

The number and magnitude of these attacks in Mogadishu threaten the Somalia government led by President Mohamed Abdullahi. Colonialism, civil war, corruption, Islamic ideology and terrorism have robbed the Somalia people of peace and prosperity over the last 30 years. On Monday the Trump administration said it would contribute an initial $60 million to help five nations (Niger, Mali, Chad, Burkina Faso and Mauritania) in Africa’s Sahel region as it builds and trains a cross-border counterterrorism force. While the Sahel region is critical to defeating terrorists in the crossroads of Africa we can’t forget about the regional threat posed by the Al-Shabaab. The United States needs to double its efforts and take the leadership in getting regional partners to redouble their efforts to finally end the threat to the region posed by al-Shabaab terrorists. Six months ago, America lost a warrior sent into this dangerous land. Senior Chief Petty Officer Kyle Milliken, a dedicated son, husband, father and Navy SEAL was killed during an operation west of Mogadishu. As a Somali proverb states “When a snake is in the house, one need not discuss the matter at length.” The Al-Shabaab snake needs to be eliminated. Otherwise this area will continue to be a problem for the region.

Sunday, Bloody Sunday Again

Going to a park is often a fun adventure for children and an outlet for parents seeking to get their children out of the house. One such park was named to recognize a noted National Poet and the “Spiritual Father of Pakistan,” Dr. Mohamed Iqbal. The Gulshan-e-Iqbal (Garden of Iqbal) Park is a 67 acre park in the urban sprawl of Lahore, Pakistan. On Easter Sunday some families gathered in the park to celebrate Easter, others gathered with family just to enjoy a fun day at the park. With a lake, play areas, park rides at “Fun Land” and even a petting zoo, the park should have been a safe haven for families enjoying the green space and fun activities. Yet Easter Sunday would become Sunday, bloody Sunday again.

Jamat-ul-Ahrar (JA), which can be described as an associated group with the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) sent a suicide bomber, Salahuddin Khorasani to target and kill Christians celebrating Easter. Salahuddin Khorasani “carried out the attack on the eve of Christian festival Easter on March 27, 2016 as per his will. He has gifted his life to Allah.” The suicide bomber detonated his vest near the exit from the park near the children’s swings killing 72 and injuring over 300 individuals.

This is not the first attack against Christian targets by the Jamat-ul-Ahrar. On September 23, 2013, they conducted a suicide bombing at the All Saints Church in Peshawar. In March 2015, Jamat-ul-Ahrar sent two suicide bombers who detonated at St. John’s Catholic Church and at Christ Church in Lahore.

Today in the Garden of Iqbal Park there is a sign placed near where the suicide bomber detonated his device saying “Terrorism has no religion.” The Pakistan Government needs to do more to protect Christians in Pakistan. It comes as no surprise that terrorist groups in Pakistan have been targeting Christians. Just like the lyrics of U2’s song Sunday, Bloody Sunday once again we have families in Lahore feeling despair in their hearts with the deaths and injuries of loved ones because terrorists targeted Christians in Pakistan. Unfortunately Bono’s lyrics ring true once again.

. . . There’s many lost, but tell me who has won
The trench is dug within our hearts
And mothers, children, brothers, sisters torn apart
Sunday, Bloody Sunday.

But while the song is written about “The Troubles” even Ireland had a Good Friday Agreement that ended the troubles and brought peace to the conflict.

Containers of the Brussels Suicide Bombers

Right after the September 11th attacks, I was part of a team that conducted some terrorism training for all personnel at Logan Airport in Boston, Massachusetts. The Terrorism Research Center’s (TRC) Aviation Security team would later conduct our Global Threats to Aviation at a number of airports across the United States. Participants in the training were taught to understand that the while airports have secured areas terrorist attacks could be launched or conducted in the pre-secured areas as well as teaching how terrorists have attack the aviation segment of transportation.

I always think back to the first flight I made out of BWI Airport after September 11th. On that day, BWI Airport had heavy security at all the security checkpoints manned by private security, law enforcement and even National Guard troops. But what bothered me as I lined up with hundreds of travelers backed up awaiting our turn to show our identification and have our carry-on bags checked was that in this area security was almost nonexistent. I say nonexistent hoping that there were some undercover officers screening travelers but as I looked around there were none. Every once and a while an unarmed private security officer would make the rounds telling everyone to move forward in the long line. Law enforcement officers and security personnel need to screen people arriving, parking, and being dropped off in taxis and other forms of transportation at the airports. But this effort requires additional personnel and airports are all about profits and keeping the flying customers happy.

One of the lessons TRC imparts in our training is that terrorists used different types of containers and deception to lull security into a false sense of security. Over 2500 years ago Sun Tzu wrote in the Art of War that “all war is deception.” The terrorists who attacked the Brussels airport and the Maelbeek Metro Station used deception. After being dropped off at the airport by a taxi cab the terrorist got three luggage push carts. Ibrahim El Bakraoui and Najim Laachraoui loaded their heavy luggage (bombs) on the cart looking like any other traveler. Using deception was a key part of their plan. The only abnormal thing was that the two suicide bombers had a black glove on their left hands. We have seen suicide bombers disguise their bombs in numerous types of containers. Luggage, backpacks, cassette radios, shoe bomb, underwear bomb, camera bomb, printer bomb, sports drink bomb (Liquid Explosives) bicycle bombs, watermelon bomb, car bombs, truck bombs, and even a birdcage bomb are all examples of how terrorists have used deception. The global threat to aviation continues and ISIS now reminds us once again that deception is a key element in launching these attacks. Luggage is just one of many “containers” that suicide bombers can use to execute a suicide bombing.

Insider Threat at Mogadishu Airport: A Suicide Bomber on Daallo Airlines Flight 3159

As the dawn sun climbed over the skies of Mogadishu on February 2, 2016, one man prepared for his last flight. The man, a teacher at an Islamic School had left his wife and children behind in his hometown of Borama, Somalia.  He had abandoned his family for a journey he hoped would take him to the highest levels of paradise.  Three hours after sunrise the suicide bomber made his way inside Aden Ade International Airport in Mogadishu, Somalia.  The airport terminal opened one year earlier still had that new airport feel.  The suicide bomber carried a black bag draped over his right shoulder sans the bomb.  He would get the bomb once he cleared through airport security. He made his way towards the powder blue counters of Turkish Airlines only to learn that his scheduled flight to Djibouti was cancelled.  Abdullahi Abdisalam Borleh and 69 other passengers were redirected to Daallo Airlines where they had been rescheduled on Daallo flight 3159.  After getting his boarding pass and seat assignment Borleh made his way through security.

The insider threat to airport security continues to be one of the greatest threats to aviation. The bombing on Daallo flight 3159 is the direct result of an insider threat.  Al-Shabaab terrorists were able to find a way to conceal a bomb inside a laptop and have an insider move the device around airport security.  Concealing the bomb and using an insider are two distinct methods terrorists have used to attack aviation.  In the CCTV video it appears that the security man in the orange visibility vest is escorting and screening ahead of the man who carried the laptop. The terrorist discovered a way to compromise airport security once again using an individual with knowledge of the airport security measures and how to move around them.

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The CCTV picture (upper right) shows two men, one a security person in an orange visibility vest escorting the man with the laptop containing the bomb.  Borleh, the suicide bomber can be seen in the picture (upper left) making his way after passing through security to be handed the laptop. Just as the man in the white shirt hands off the laptop to Borleh the man escorting him in the orange vest appears to be talking on a cell phone. The handoff is done quickly and the men continue on their way with the man in the vest and white hat in a screening position ahead of the second man. While CCTV captured the handoff of the laptop bomb it also shows that CCTV can’t prevent these types of insider threats.

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Once Borleh, the suicide bomber was armed with the laptop bomb he boarded the Airbus A321 and made his way to row 16. Once there Borleh traded his aisle seats with the person sitting in the window seat. Being seated in a window seat meant that the laptop bomb could be placed next to the wall with the aim to destroy the aircraft. Just about 15 minutes into the flight as the aircraft climbed to its cruising altitude Borleh detonated his bomb. The bomb created a hole in the wall of the aircraft sucking the bomber out and filling the aircraft with smoke. Captain Vlatko Vodopivec and his crew were able to descend and make an emergency landing back at the airport. Thankfully the aircraft had only climbed to about 11,000 feet. If the aircraft had reached its cruising altitude it would have been catastrophic. Thirty miles north of Mogadishu in the town of Balad police recovered the body of the bomber, the only fatality.

In the Dabiq magazine, Issue 12 entitled “Just Terror” highlights once again how terrorists have compromised the security at an airport. ISIS in the article stated that it had “discovered a way to compromise the security of Sharm el-Sheikh International Airport.” ISIS was able to smuggle a bomb onboard a Russian Aircraft in September 2015.

On “30 September 2015,” after years of supporting the Nusayrī tāghūt in the war against the Muslims of Shām, Russia decided to participate directly with its own air force in the war. It was a rash decision of arrogance from Russia, as if it held that its wars against the Muslims of al-Qawqāz were not enough offence. And so after having discovered a way to compromise the security at the Sharm el-Sheikh International Airport and resolving to bring down a plane belonging to a nation in the American-led Western coalition against the Islamic State, the target was changed to a Russian plane. A bomb was smuggled onto the airplane, leading to the deaths of 219 Russians and 5 other crusaders only a month after Russia’s thoughtless decision.

                                                                                               -Dabiq, Issue 12, page 3-

Terrorist are always seeking to discover ways to compromise security during their casing, surveillance and targeting prior to the execution of an attack. As in the attack on the Russian Metrojet on October 31, 2015 or the most recent attack on Daallo Airlines terrorist seek out or create vulnerabilities in aviation security and exploit them.  Al-Shabaab used a laptop device in a 2013 attack at the Maka Hotel in Mogadishu. This is not the first time we have seen terrorist conceal a bomb in another container. Nor will it be the last attempt terrorists use to down an airplane with a concealed bomb on board.

On December 21, 1988, Libyan terrorists concealed a bomb in a Toshiba radio cassette player to bring down Pan Am 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland killing 270 people. Al Qaeda was able to conceal a bomb in a video camera with two men posing as journalists. On September 9, 2001 the two so-called journalists were able to detonate the device killing Ahmed Shah Massoud, the leader of the Northern Alliance.  Richard Reid, an Al-Qaeda terrorist attempted to detonate an improvised explosive device that had been hidden in Reid’s shoes.  Richard Reid has attempted to ignite his shoe bombs on December 22, 2001, while flying on American Airlines flight 63 from Paris to Miami. Reid was thwarted by flight attendants and passengers who were able to subdue him and get the show bomb away from him.

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British police arrested a number of individuals in 2006 who were involved with a plot to bring down a number of transatlantic flights concealing the device in a sports drink bottle.  Using liquid explosives colored with Tang and injected into sports drink bottles the terrorists would be able to conceal the true nature of the explosives.  The terrorists would board numerous transatlantic flights and put the devices together using a disposable camera and light bulb to ignite the explosives.  Concealing a bomb to avoid detection has been one track terrorists have been working on for some time.  And no one does it better than Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula’s master bomb maker Ibrahim Hassan al-Siri.  Al-Siri’s devices have been built to pass through airport style metal detectors and visual security to reach the target. Al-Siri created an underwear bomb and sent Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab to blow up an aircraft with an underwear bomb.  Abdulmutallab boarded Northwest Flight 253 on Christmas Day flying from Amsterdam to Detroit armed with the device concealed in his underwear. When he attempted to detonate his underwear bomb the device failed instead catching fire and he was quickly subdued.

In October 2010,  Al-Siri concealed explosive devices in printer cartridges and sent them to the United States. The two explosive devices shipped from Yemen were discovered in England and Dubai after an informant provided detailed information. One month later Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) in “Inspire Magazine” outlined the details of the printer cartridge plot which they named “Operation Hemorrhage.”  Whether or not Ibrahim Hassan al-Siri has shared his numerous techniques for concealing bombs with the Somalia terrorist group Al-Shabaab doesn’t really matter.  Al-Shabaab signaled that it has become a regional threat by launching this attack against aviation.  We will continue to see terrorist groups attempt to conceal explosive devices in numerous types of containers in order to defeat security measures.  Ever since Abu Jihad built and put the first altimeter bomb on a Swiss Air flight and killed 47 people in 1970 the world has been put on notice that terrorists are seeking to attack aviation.

Terrorists will also continue to seek “insiders” who can move a bomb or a bomber around security.  The insider threat is the most dangerous threat since it doesn’t matter what type of security one has in place if a “trusted” insider working with terrorists can defeat security measures by using inside knowledge and trust.  Either way we must be more creative and alert in combating these two distinct methods to attack aviation.  For terrorists globally are still trying to attack and destroy aircraft.