Who would live and who would die: The inside story of the Iranian attack on Al Asad Airbase
Mar 01, 2021 1 min, 41 secs

Like many Americans on the base, Johnson, 51, turned on his phone to record a final goodbye for his family: "Just know in your heart that I love you," he tearfully told his 6-year-old son.

"If you move too early, then they refresh and they adjust their plans.  If you move too late, you look like (the commanders) at Pearl Harbor." McKenzie knew the stakes couldn't be higher – "war or peace," he said – because if Americans were killed, the U.S.

Some troops would have to remain to defend the base against a possible ground attack, and Lieutenant Colonel Staci Coleman, the Air Force Commander at Al Asad, believed she was making "life and death decisions." For those who stayed, she said, "I thought that would be the last day we.

The Iranian missiles continued in waves, and Americans left on the ground didn't know when another barrage was coming or where it might land. !

'Everything's on fire.  We gotta get out of here!'  And that's when I realized, like, the fire was just rolling over the bunkers, you know, like 70 feet in the air.

Take Cover!"  The missiles sounded like freight trains roaring by, he said.

and I grabbed the guy in front of me and, like, 'You got to get in the bunker!' and just like – shoved everybody in there.".

 When it was over, Keltz and the other Americans emerged from their positions celebrating what seemed to be a miracle – no one was killed and there seemed to be no serious casualties.

Although the Iranians later claimed they had deliberately aimed their missiles to avoid killing anyone, McKenzie estimated that had he not ordered the evacuation, 100 to 150 Americans would have been killed or wounded and 20 to 30 aircraft destroyed

It was the largest ballistic missile attack against Americans ever

"It has never happened in history that a ground force has been exposed to 11 theater ballistic missiles," said Army Major Robert Hales, the top doctor at al Asad

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