It was a HALO jump.
High-altitude, low opening, according to the UK’s Daily Mail.
A secret night-time covert insertion against the Islamic State in Iraq. Business as usual, when you’re in the killing business.
Cruising at around 18,000 feet, supplementary oxygen would be involved in the drop, along with night vision goggles.
In the HALO technique, the parachutist opens the parachute at a low altitude after free-falling for a period of time, the Mail reported.
SAS special forces from the UK, and America’s famed Delta Force did one final check of their chutes and packs before the drop.
It was go time.
The jump — which involves a freefall at around 120 mph — went as expected, but then … something went terribly wrong, the Mail reported.
It’s possible one of the jumpers may have been studying the navigation board strapped to his chest, or maybe it was disorientation, we don’t really know.
But we know what happened next.
An SAS commando slammed into a Delta Force compatriot at high speed in the darkness. Plunging to the ground, their lines became entangled, the Mail reported.
There was little time to correct things — the rocky ground of desolate Iraq was looming large. Both hit the ground hard, causing severe injuries to their backs and limbs.
Deep in enemy jihadist territory, and despite their agony from the crash, the two kept their cool — calmly radioing for help.
Minutes later, dozens of heavily armed SAS and Delta Force troops scrambled onto CH-47 Chinook helicopters at a secret base.
Injured, and unable to move, the two commandos endured “a nerve wracking wait,” the Mail reported.
On arrival, the Quick Reaction Force formed a solid perimeter around the injured soldiers — training their weapons on the surrounding hillside for any movement of Islamic State insurgents.
The incident happened late last month near Baiji, about 130 miles north of Baghdad. It came as allied forces launched a new offensive against IS strongholds.
According to the Mail, the injured pair required oxygen on the helicopter flight back to their base.
Meanwhile, the crash site was “cleansed” for any allied equipment and their parachutes were recovered. The pair were flown to a US military hospital in Ramstein, Germany for treatment.
An intelligence gathering operation by British and US special forces resumed after the dramatic accident, the Mail reported.
Days later, RAF Typhoon jets targeted IS cave complexes in a mountain range nearby. Bombs destroyed entrances to the caves.
UK forces are said to be increasing their “mission tempo” against IS after a Covid-induced lull.
However, it is estimated that British operations still killed more than 100 fighters, including UK-born jihadists, in the first half of 2020.
Special Air Service (SAS) are an elite British military force organized and trained for special operations, surveillance, and counterterrorism, according to Britannica.com.
The SAS recruits from across the UK’s armed forces, though mainly from the army and principally from the Parachute Regiment.
Built on the quality of its personnel and its “Who Dares Wins” philosophy, the selection process tests military skills, fitness, endurance, initiative and willpower.
America’s elite Delta Force is primarily a tier-one counter-terrorist unit, specifically directed to kill or capture high value units (HVU) or dismantle terrorist cells, Military.com reported.
It remains extremely flexible and can engage in direct action missions, hostage rescues and covert missions working directly with the CIA, as well as high ranking protective services of our senior leaders during visits in wartorn countries.
The highly secretive force, nicknamed “The Unit,” is under operational control of the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC).