Intelligence indicated up to fifteen hostages were present, and while nine were located, only two were extracted alive. While the enemy was soundly defeated, unfortunately the primary objective of this mission was a failure, albeit not an easily-preventable one. The following is an account of the mission from the perspective of Detachment One Command, Sunray Actual.
Three teams - Alpha led by TPR(E). Griffin, Bravo led by TPR. Lander, and Charlie led by TPR. Wolf - loaded up into a stolen AN212 along with two UGV Stompers. Utilising the enemy's long range radio retrieved during the course of an earlier mission, the AN212 pilot PLTOFF. Bulk flew the "Trojan plane", containing the entirety of Detachment One, directly onto the Gasparilla Sound airstrip in one of the most daring deployments CJTF has ever attempted.
After the plane was successfully guided into the far hangar, CJTF operators rapidly debarked. As Alpha and Charlie sections held security in the hangar, Bravo pushed southeast to the nearby power station, a previously-identified weak point. From its control room, Bravo disabled power to the majority of the island, including backup power. This left the island with only mobile or man-portable anti-air capabilities, and gave us a minor edge over any enemies without access to night vision.
An attempt at falling out in an orderly manner turned into a fast retreat with casualties as a large number of our infantry took injuries from enemy grenade launcher fire. As the detachment moved out to the south, hooking back around to the northeast to start urban manoeuvring, the UGV Stompers were eventually overwhelmed and destroyed, having taken out significant numbers of enemies on their own and saving many CJTF operators' lives.
The mission proceeded to a running close-quarters battle, constantly splitting resources between rear security and the forward push, combat medics constantly working to handle injuries sustained from all directions. Detachment Medic TPR. Logan didn't spend more than a minute with Sunray team during this period, as medics were constantly tasked to capacity. The enemy attempted to slow us down with mortar fire, but our fast pace quickly had rounds landing too far behind us to be effective.
All sections swept northeast through a stadium building marking the rough half-way point. After Alpha and Bravo pushed into the forested area beyond, the enemy managed to attempt a counterattack. Sustained grenade launcher fire kept Charlie section pinned in the stadium and separated from Alpha and Bravo in a forward position. All sections sustained multiple casualties at this stage, including Sunray team. Multiple enemy helicopters attempted to attack or deploy troops nearby but were overwhelmed by an exceptional volume of fire, quickly brought to bear by all sections.
After Charlie rallied and the detachment started progressing the front line again, Charlie took the lead moving to the residential area ahead. As Bravo took contact from another enemy section-sized counterattack, operators occupying an enemy tower installation mistook Charlie's forward force as an enemy and opened fire, severely wounding one operator. Charlie rallied again quickly after the matter was resolved, pushing through the residential area's streets.
Sunray tasked Charlie with securing the largest building in the area - a nine storey block of units - in order to start looking for the location of any mobile AAA still present on the island. While Sunray occupied the roof with Charlie's marksman, the Detachment Medic advised that Alpha's section commander was KIA and the section was transitioned to PLTOFF. Bulk. Around this time the battle had progressed well into the morning hours as the sun rose.
Alpha and Bravo progressed directly to the VIP's location, securing one of the two buildings identified by intelligence to hold hostages. Bravo secured seven living hostages at this time and identified one deceased. Alpha continued north into a firefight with multiple enemy sections entering the AO via a northern tunnel, unable to ingress into the second VIP-occupied building while pinned. Bravo and Charlie sections were tasked with supporting and wiping out the remaining enemy force. Sunray also attempted to reinforce Alpha at this time as the JTAC organised a strike from the CAS jet, callsign Hotel.
Sunray and Alpha were then overwhelmed by a sudden flank by roughly two enemy sections from the west, completely invalidating Alpha's cover. The Detachment Medic scrambled to organise all available manpower to recover the situation even as it took over a minute to recognize the scale of the enemy's counterattack. Reinforcement from Bravo and Charlie finally reached the scene and secured it while Alpha dealt with casualties and Sunray began to organise an extract.
Unfortunately, the enemy chose this time to engage Charlie's rear guard south of that firefight, occupying the building where the VIPs were secured. Enemy machinegun fire penetrated a steel roller door and killed six of the seven VIPs under Charlie's guard. Alpha identified two more hostages, one living and one deceased. A final extraction was called, CJTF's Detachment One boarded with the two living VIPs and returned to base for debriefing.