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‘Embedded Enemy’ Survivor Shares Gripping True Story of Deadly Terrorist Attack on 101stAirborne Division

Command Sgt. Maj. U.S. Army (retired) Bart E. Womack shares the gripping true story of the March 23, 2003, unprecedented deadly terrorist attack against the men and women of the 101st Airborne Division in his book, Embedded Enemy: The Insider Threat.

Told second by second in his firsthand account as a survivor, Embedded Enemy is a potent reminder of the need for situational awareness, no matter the circumstances.

“This event shocked the armed forces, America and people around the world,” Womack said. “It forced everyone to consider more carefully whom we really trust and to begin to digest the idea that threats to our personal safety might now come from the inside. Twenty years later, the entire country has no idea how this event actually took place.”

As the book details, shortly after deploying for the war in Iraq, the Bastogne Brigade was staged at Camp Pennsylvania in Kuwait where they prepared for combat against Saddam Hussein’s Baathist regime.During the eerie, pitch-black, early morning hours of March 23, 2003, a fellow American soldier, Sergeant Hasan Akbar, executed the unthinkable and unlikeliest of scenarios by launching a terrorist attack against his chain of command as they slept in preparation for war.

The wicked aftermath killed two officers and wounded 13 others. Despite the tragic deaths in the most unfathomable way, the Bastogne Brigade received movement orders to cross the border into Iraq just 48 hours after the attack.

“This story is about how the soldiers bonded together to rescue, treat and evacuate their brothers in arms in the midst of darkness, massive explosions, gun fire, suffocating smoke, body ripping shrapnel, and complete and total chaos and confusion, while
simultaneously searching for a ruthless killer that had taken the same oath to defend the Constitution of the United States against foreign enemies,” Womack said. “Little did they realize they would meet the most improbable of adversaries — one of their very own — an ‘Embedded Enemy.’”

The soldiers and airmen killed and wounded in this attack never received the Purple Heart as casualties from an enemy of the United States. On January 9, 2023, the award was denied by the Secretary of the Army and the Secretary of the Air Force.

“I remain steadfast in pursuit and will continue to fight until they are recognized by the award of the Purple Heart that they so truly deserve!” Womack said. “These medals
won’t bring back those killed or heal the bodies of those wounded. It will, however, serve as a testament that the United States of America recognizes their sacrifice and officially calls the attack a ‘terrorist attack.’”

Akbar was sentenced to death and currently awaits execution at the U.S. Disciplinary Barracks in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.“No profession, level of education, ideology or religion is above reproach,” Womack added. “There is no profile. The Insider Threat is closer than you think.”

About the Author

Command Sgt. Maj. retired Bart E. Womack served the United States Army with distinction for over 29 years and contributed immeasurably to the readiness of the armed forces and the security of our great nation. Highlights of his distinguished military career include Sergeant of the Guard at Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, his career culminating in dual roles as Commandant and the 101st Airborne Division Command Sergeant Major. An Army Ranger combat veteran with two Bronze Stars, one for valor, he is also a Distinguished Member of the Regiment for the 3rd and 327th Infantry Regiments.

Post military, Womack helps veterans enhance their careers and excel. He sits on the Board of Directors for Veterans Media Corporation, is an Executive Producer for The Veterans Channel, and an actor and military technical adviser. In recognition of his selfless service and initiatives, Womack was invested as a Knight into The Order of St. George, Grand Priory of Canada & the Americas in October 2020.

For more information, visit, or follow the author on Twitter (@BartWomack) or LinkedIn (

Embedded Enemy: The Insider Threat
Publisher: Inspired Forever Books
ISBN-10: ‎ 1948903393
ISBN-13: ‎ 978-1948903394
Available from


Reviews, photos, links to previous interviews and Q&As are available upon request.

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