For the uninitiated, Operation Jawbreaker is the code name for the mission that put the first U.S. boots on the ground in Afghanistan following the attacks of September 11, 2001. A mere 15 days after the hijacked planes ripped through the fabric of American life, a seven-man team landed behind enemy lines in Afghanistan. They rode an agency-owned Mi-17, a Soviet-designed chopper known for its ruggedness. It would need to be.
CIA Releases Operation Jawbreaker Images
“9/19/01: Eight days after 9/11, CIA officers pick up $3 million cash in three cardboard boxes. This money would enable the Northern Alliance (NA) commanders to pay their troops and convince other tribes to rally to the NA rather than fight them,” said the CIA photo caption via Twitter.
And off they went.
9/20/01: The first full day of travel for team JAWBREAKER. It would take them six days in total to arrive in Afghanistan. Once there, they would no longer be able to rely on modern modes of transportation to navigate the steep Afghan hills and valleys. #15Days pic.twitter.com/8ia2EYz539
— CIA (@CIA) September 20, 2019
A pair of operators man the rear hatch. On the left, an agent carries a M249 SAW with 200-round drum of linked ammunition. On the right, the man carries an M4 carbine equipped with an M203 Grenade Launcher. He carries what appears to be coupled 30-round magazines, with various optics and accessories bolted on. Each man wears a thigh rig, no doubt carrying a sidearm.
This hat and scarf were brought to Afghanistan by the communications equipment officer on team JAWBREAKER, who wore the New York ballcap as a reminder of the importance of the team’s mission. #15Days pic.twitter.com/BYQxw8o7Ax
— CIA (@CIA) September 18, 2019
While they’re running sans uniforms, each man dons typical range pants and hiking boots. But each man does employ a tactical vest, no doubt loaded down with spare mags and other gear.
Take a long, hard look at this image.
While 9-11 brought America to its knees, September 12 indeed brought a new dawn unlike most of us had ever seen. Likely not since Pearl Harbor had we been hit so hard. And not since its aftermath had we emerged so completely united. September 12, though heartbroken and hurting, brought forth an incredible America. But in time, much of that patriotic spirit sadly faded.
This image is the epitome of September 12. Never forget.