CBS News’s Holly Williams traveled to Iraq to see the damage Iranian ballistic missiles did to al-Asad base, where U.S. troops said it was a “miracle” there were no casualties.
While most members of the U.S. military had been hunkering down for more than two hours in Saddam Hussein-era bunkers before the first missile landed on the base, the base was vulnerable to this type of assault.
US troops sheltered in Saddam-era bunkers during the Iran missile attack. @arwaCNN was the first journalist to access Al-Asad US military base in Anbar province, Iraq, following the attack. Here's what's left of the base: https://t.co/C5jPKeuTfK pic.twitter.com/Zpfj9Dki9v— CNN (@CNN) January 13, 2020
"You can defend against (paramilitary forces), but you can't defend against this,"Capt. Patrick Livingstone, US Air Force security forces commander on the base, told CNN. "Right now, this base is not designed to defend against missiles."
Akeem Ferguson said he took cover but was ready for the end.
"I held on to my gun and put my head down and I tried to find a happy place, so I started singing to my daughters in my head," the US staff sergeant told CNN. "And I just waited. I hoped that whatever happened, that it was quick."
"I was 100% ready to die," he added.
When the dust settled and it was reported there were no casualties, some media outlets said Iran deliberately missed killing U.S. forces to avoid escalating the situation. But according to CBS, that’s not true.
In her reporting, Williams spoke with a senior coalition military official who told her the Iranians were very much “shooting to kill.”
There has been speculation that Iran deliberately missed American troops at Al Asad Airbase to prevent further escalation, but a senior coalition military official tells @HollyMAWilliams that's not true; the Iranians, in his words, were "shooting to kill" https://t.co/k8pIe6YgmT pic.twitter.com/rZZNBOlQS0— CBS Evening News (@CBSEveningNews) January 14, 2020