On April 6, 2007, Mike Day was the lead man on a raid against an al Qaeda cell that had been attacking US troops in Iraq’s Anbar province. As Day breached the door, a barrage of gunfire hit his rifle, knocking it out of his hands. He immediately transitioned to his pistol and killed one insurgent as he fell to the ground next to the dead terrorist.
Day’s No. 2 man, an Iraqi scout, had been shot in the chest, sending him back out into the hallway. The third man in, also an Iraqi scout, had been shot in the chest and died in the doorway. The trauma Day endured as a child had prepared his survival instincts for just this type of scenario.
As a second insurgent pulled the pin on a grenade and ran toward the troops in the hallway outside the room, Day shot him. The insurgent dropped dead. The grenade the insurgent was carrying exploded not far from Day, rendering him unconscious and peppering him with shrapnel. None of Day’s fellow US Navy SEALs had seen him enter the room, and he was unable to answer their radio requests.
Joseph “Clark” Schwedler, another SEAL on the mission, had been shot and killed two rooms over from where Day was knocked out. The SEALs and Iraqi scouts were moving off target while the two terrorists in the room where Day lay unconscious were firing on them. Day regained consciousness, saw what was happening, and engaged the terrorists with his pistol.
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