On or about the 10th of April 2003, Alpha Company 1-30th Infantry was tasked to secure the outer perimeter of the Saddam International Airport. One of Saddam’s Palaces was within the perimeter. While searching the Palace, First Sergeant Michael T. Hibbs came upon a vehicle that was used to transport dry-cleaning for the palace. Inside the van were assorted civilian clothes and military uniforms. He noticed the uniform, not knowing at the time that it was Saddam’s uniform. He secured the uniform and continued to search the immediate area. After leaving the palace, First Sergeant Michael T. Hibbs noticed one of many portraits of Saddam in his Military Uniform…it was the same uniform that First Sgt. Hibbs had in his vehicle. He immediately told the driver to pull over; then he pulled the uniform out, and it was a match!
He showed the uniform to many Iraqi civilians over the next few months with mixed emotions. One civilian asked him if he could look at the uniform more closely, looking for a “Magic Stone” that was told to be in the sleeve of the uniform. The stone was to keep Saddam protected from many attempts on his life, which was another form of propaganda used on the Iraqi people. The uniform pictured to the right show it as it was found on the hanger with the plastic protector covering the uniform. The photo below shows the uniform’s shoulder boards (Iraqi Eagle, Cross Sabers and Wreath with Red Velvet Strip) and red and green cord in perfect condition. Armed Forces History Museum acquired the uniform via a third party that 1SG Michael T. Hibbs was associated with.
First Sergeant Michael T. Hibbs
1SG Michael T. Hibbs was deployed to Southwest Asia on the 6th of January 2003 in support of Operation Enduring Freedom / Operation Iraqi Freedom. He was the Company First Sergeant (1SG) for Alpha Company 1-30 Infantry, 3rd Infantry Brigade (Mechanized), 3rd Infantry Division (Mechanized). He was charged with leading, mentoring (the commander and leaders), and disciplining a 158 man company. As a Company First Sergeant, his main mission in combat was Causality Evacuation. Part of your responsibilities are for ensuring that men are fed, have water, and enough ammunition to complete the mission. The First Sergeant is referred to as the father of the company, ensuring that the men have their “Beans and Bullets”. The photo to the right was taken at Fort Benning, Georgia prior to his deployment.
Doctrinally the First Sergeant stays back from the front line approximately 500 meters to 1000 meters. He stayed behind the lead platoon and commander the entire time. He felt that he would be in a better position to help his soldiers if they had been engaged by the enemy. This paid off when one of his soldiers was shot on the airfield at the Saddam International Airport. He was able to render immediate care for the soldier; however, he was injured in the process coming down off of his M113 Armored Personnel Carrier. After his soldier was evacuated, he was stitched up and back in the fight.
Alpha Company, 1-30 Infantry lead the way the entire time for the Battalion (attached to 3-7 Infantry, 1st Brigade Combat Team), accomplishing every mission handed out. They were part of Objective Peach, and cleared the Main Terminal and Palace of the Saddam International Airport. The photo to the left shows 1SG Michael T. Hibbs in the same uniform (also on display at the museum) that he was in when he found Saddam’s uniform in Baghdad, Iraq.