On Oct. 20, 2016, Staff Sgt. Christopher Lewis and his team set out at 2:30 a.m., driving 15 kilometers south of their camp to link up with their partner force: a cadre of 300 Kurdish peshmerga. Their mission was to clear an unknown number of Islamic State fighters from two villages in the vicinity of Mosul, a city ISIS had held for over two years.
By the time the sun came up, the convoy was already taking harassing fire from the nearest village south of their front line of troops. But once the team arrived at the edge of the first village, “the fire starts becoming extremely effective,” he said.