Lieutenant Colonel (Ret.) Mark Grdovic shared stories about his time in Iraq with Task Force Viking while assigned to the 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne) in 2003. While conventional and special operations forces were pushing northward from the south and west of Iraq towards Baghdad, the 10th SFG(A) infiltrated Northern Iraq to open up a northern front against the forces of Saddam Hussein.
The 10th Special Forces Group formed the nucleus of Task Force Viking – more officially known as Joint Special Operations Task Force -North (JSOTF-N). Also assigned to JSOTF-N was an element of the Special Boat Service (UK SBS). The mission was to disrupt Iraqi forces in Northern Iraq.
A significant portion of Iraq’s military forces were deployed north of Baghdad and a front opened up in the north would tie down some of these forces and prevent their movement south to reinforce against the attacks coming from the south. Much of those forces were protecting oil reserves located between Kirkuk and Mosul. Saddam Hussein was worried about losing Kirkuk and Mosul and he had two Republican Guard divisions along with other divisions to protect the region. Part of Task Force Viking’s mission was to prevent the Republican Guard divisions from deploying south of Baghdad.
The presentation includes important aspects of the detailed planning that took place prior to the invasion, the insertion of a pilot team prior to the invasion, working with the Central Intelligence Agency, coordination with the Kurdish resistance, Turkey’s role, Romania’s role, the “Ugly Baby” infiltration, and more. A lot of the coordination that took place prior to the invasion saw a lot of twists and turns – and Grdovic presents an entertaining version of these events.
Mark Grdovic’s presentation took place at the Special Forces Association Convention held in the Colorado Springs area near Fort Carson in October 2022. The convention was held to honor, remember, and recognize Green Berets and enablers with multiple special events, panels of speakers, and Special Forces Medal of Honor guests.
Special Forces Association Convention 2022 Task Force Viking LTC (Ret) Grdovic, 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne), DVIDS, posted October 28, 2022, one hour and 15 minutes.