Alex and Special Forces Combat Outpost Pirelli

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Editor’s note: In light of President Barack Obama’s announcement to send Special Forces 12-man Green Beret teams to Iraq to assist with the current crisis, war reporter Alex Quade was there with these same types of Operational Detachment, or “A-Teams”, in Iraq, in the same area that is now controlled by ISIS. Her exclusive reporting, “Special Forces Combat Outpost Pirelli” is worth a re-look at how A-Teams work, the challenges they’re up against, and returning to the very same locations.

PirelliPoster_04-24-14_V4War reporter, Alex Quade, embedded long-term with Operational Detachment Alpha Teams of the Army’s 10th Special Forces Group in Diyala province, Iraq in 2007 and 2008. One of those Green Beret “A- Teams” was ODA-072.

On one mission, Staff Sgt. Rob Pirelli was killed in action. This is Ms. Quade’s tribute to Pirelli, his family, his A-Team and his Special Forces Green Beret brothers.

Quade covered the Special Forces A-Teams and their training at Fort Carson, Colo., and followed up with them and their families through the years, and over several deployments downrange.

Per Special Operations Command embed guidelines: No last names of operators were used; military public affairs officers in Iraq, as well as at Fort Carson reviewed every frame of Quade’s video to ensure no techniques, tactics & procedures are revealed. Also, 10th Special Forces Group Operational Detachment number designations changed after 2007. Most team members retired or moved on. They shared their personal photos. Alex Quade returned to Diyala Province repeatedly to cover U.S. troop movements and progress. Six-years later, she was allowed to share more information and locations, since U.S. forces and bases are no longer there, after the U.S. military departure.

Part I: The House that Rob Built

Part II: Gold Star Family