Painter Stuart Brown’s Depiction of Dog and Breech is Hauntingly Predictive.
The news is abuzz with memes and stories about the Belgian Malinois military dog attached to a secretive U.S. Army special operations unit that raided the compound of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader and founder of the Islamic State (ISIS), when he committed suicide by explosive vest on Saturday in Syria.
Interestingly, well before this past weekend’s raid in Syria, acclaimed British military illustrator Stuart Brown painted an image hauntingly predictive of the media narrative of this past weekend’s raid.
Brown’s painting, “Into The Breech”, depicts members of the U.S. Army’s elite 75th Ranger Regiment, armed with current 7.62mm SCAR-H rifles, 5.56mm M-4s and a military dog remarkably similar in appearance to the Belgian Malinois dog being seen in media today. The Ranger team is assaulting through a “breach” or hole blown in the wall of a terrorist compound during a raid. A Ranger Sniper Team is seen in the illustration providing security over-watch while AH-6 and MH-6 helicopters of the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (160th SOAR), the “Night Stalkers” provide air support.
While the painting itself is remarkable in accuracy and its depiction of dynamic action, this is common throughout Stuart Brown’s artistic interpretations of military events. What is truly remarkable about Brown’s painting “Into The Breech”, is that it was created years ago, well before this past weekend’s raid!
Of course, since the painting depicts a common mission template for a Ranger assault, there are some key differences between Brown’s predictive painting and the details emerging from the actual assault. From what we can glean from media sources and literature on Army Special Forces operations that combine members of the 75th Ranger Regiment with the Army’s SFOD-D, or “Special Forces Operational Detachment-D”, often referred to in mainstream media as “Delta”, SFOD-D actually conducted the entry and assault into Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s compound. Members of the Army’s elite light infantry assault unit, the 74th Ranger Regiment, likely provided perimeter security and assault support during the operation by securing the surrounding environs of the target building and engaging opposing forces attempting to repel the raiding force.
According to new details emerging from Washington about the raid, the operation began on the ground in northwest Syria at 5:01 p.m. ET Saturday. The source for the new information has been cited as a “Senior defense official”.
At least one source, CNN, reported that “8 helicopters and as many as 100 troops” were used in the raid. The CNN animation of the raid showed what appears to be some version of the twin-rotor CH-47 Chinook helicopter. Because the Army’s elite 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment is confirmed to have been involved in the raid by previous official sources and reports, it could be suggested that the aircraft used to transport the assault and security teams were the highly modified special operations variant of the CH-47, the MH-47G Chinook used by the Night Stalkers. By the way, back in 2011, in the aftermath of the Osama Bin Laden raid, our editor David Cenciotti wrote a piece that did not completely rule out the possibility that the Night Stalkers operated some “stealth” or “silent” Chinooks too.
Other media reports including CNN went on to say, “During the two hours they were on the ground, U.S. forces collected extensive intelligence, that must now be analyzed.”
Baghdadi’s death was communicated by the special operations forces when they declared “jackpot” at 7:15 p.m. ET in the U.S. Contrary to the claim that the images of the U.S. President and military leaders from the Pentagon watching the raid via remote video as it happened in the White House situation room were staged, top U.S. military leadership at the Pentagon level has said the images are authentic, and originated during the raid itself.
As for the emerging media star of the raid, the Belgian Malinois dog injured in the assault when, according to reports, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi detonated his suicide vest in a tunnel under compound while he was surrounded by four children, little is known except for the breed and the photo that has been widely published of the dog.
According the American Kennel Club’s published information on the breed, “Belgian Malinois are squarely built, proud, and alert herders standing 22 to 26 inches. Strong and well-muscled, but more elegant than bulky, there’s an honest, no-frills look about them, as befit dogs built to work hard for their feed. A breed hallmark is the proud carriage of the head. Coat colors range from a rich fawn to mahogany. The black ears and mask accentuate bright, questioning eyes the color of dark Belgian chocolate.”
The AKC information about the breed goes on to say, “If you have ever seen a Mal perform an obedience routine, you know firsthand what a smart and eager breed this is. Problems set in, though, when this people-oriented dog is underemployed and neglected. Exercise, and plenty of it, preferably side by side with their adored owner, is key to Mal happiness.”