RAISE THE BLACK
This campaign was started by a group of retired Special Forces soldiers who worked with the Iraqi Special Operations Forces from 2004-2011. We wanted to show the world what our Iraqi brothers were doing in defense of their country. The funds will be used to have these flags made.
Once made they will then be shipped over to Iraq to be flown by U.S. and Iraqi Special Forces as they root out the Islamic State (Daesh) from every corner and hole that they have dug for themselves.
The flag was inspired by ISOF’s use of black uniforms and black gun trucks. Daesh has used the fear of their “black flag” for two years and it is time that was changed. We want to replace the fear of their flag, with a symbol of hope and Iraqi patriotism. Highlight the history and shared brotherhood between ISOF and the United States Special Forces.
We took the traditional pirate flag and replace the sabers with crossed arrows. The crossed arrows
Originally (from 1890 to 1926), crossed arrows were prescribed for wear by Indian Scouts. During World War II, the crossed arrows were worn as collar insignia by officers and enlisted personnel assigned to the First Special Service Force.
U.S. Special Forces Crest
“Nous Defions” has been used unofficially by Special Forces Direct Action teams since the late 70’s. ‘“Nous Defions” is a mix of ''we dare", "we threaten", "we defy". This is not just daring, but also defy and challenging everything. "Nous defions" sounds like an arrogant challenge to everybody and everything.”
Who is ISOF?
The force leading the Iraq army’s fight against ISIS went from ‘dirty division’ to golden boys
“…spearheaded nearly every major fight against the militants in Iraq. Their commanders have become battlefield celebrities, while popular songs praise the troops’ prowess
The force of about 10,000 men is a small bright spot in an otherwise lackluster legacy of American efforts to rebuild Iraq’s military in the 13 years since the invasion. U.S. officials say it is their most reliable partner in fighting the Islamic State on the ground, while the Iraqi army struggles with corruption and mismanagement.”
"As the Islamic State made its first sweeping advances, a group of counterterrorism troops held on for months in the face of hundreds of car bombs during a fierce siege on Iraq’s largest oil refinery.
Last year, they led the battle to retake Ramadi, sweeping east to west as federal police forces struggled to progress.
They headed operations for Hit and Rutbah and scrapped for villages along the Euphrates River.
Most recently, here in Fallujah, Golden Division commandos were the first to break through defense lines set up 2½ years ago in the city, the first in Iraq under Islamic State control.
Backed by U.S.-led airstrikes, their signature black Humvees raced through neighborhoods where the militants had planted deadly roadside bombs and built networks of tunnels."
Iraq’s U.S.-trained counterterrorism troops join attack on Mosul
The elite units have been at the front of nearly every other battle against the militants in Iraq as territory has slowly been taken back from the Islamic State. The units expect to be the spearhead once more in Mosul and have about 3,000 troops involved in the operation.
“We’re the only ones with the capability,” Saedi said.
FROM "DIRTY" TO "GOLDEN"
When the Islamic State group swept across northern and central Iraq in 2014, Iraq's security forces crumbled. Officers fled and their soldiers beat a humiliating retreat, many stripping off their uniforms and leaving their weapons and Humvees behind.
But not the special forces, who held their ground and became a source of national pride.
The CTS "retained its organizational cohesion and structure in 2014 when many other units of the Iraqi army fell apart," said David M. Witty, a retired U.S. Army Special Forces colonel and former adviser to the CTS. "The key leaders of CTS have become central figures in the Iraqi public's perception of the campaign to destroy IS."
"Dirty" no more, the 1st Brigade is now widely known as the "Golden Division."
A NON-SECTARIAN FORCE
The CTS was designed to be a non-sectarian force, with Shiite, Sunni and Kurdish members who were strictly vetted to ensure they had no ties to political factions or militias. In the early years, the force mainly battled Sunni insurgents, but it also played a lead role in a 2008 offensive against Shiite militias. Maj. Gen. Fadhil al-Barwari, who leads the Golden Brigade, is a Kurd.
The force also has a better human rights record than most of the other participants in the Mosul Offensive. An Amnesty International report released this week documenting abuses in Anbar mainly focused on state-sanctioned Shiite militias, and included only passing mention of the CTS
The last three weeks have been crazy for my partner @the_bearded_bryan (Bryan Myers) and me. We have diligently tried to maximize the efficiency in which we use the donations from the GoFundMe to get the most out of every cent donated. As of this morning we have raised over $8000 and we can’t even begin to express our gratitude at the outpouring of support from everyone.
With that being said, what have we accomplished with it so far:
1. Created and purchased 250 bumper stickers. These were the first purchase because they were the easiest and quickest to get made and in hand. 150 were sent down range and arrived.
2. Finalized the flag design and began coordination with a company to get them made. (Lesson learned: It takes far more time than anticipated between the initial approach to a new company and when we finally have the item in hand. There is a lot of back and forth to ensure that the image we created is the right size/type for their artists to take and set up their machines.)
3. Initial order of flags was made and took about 2 weeks to arrive. As soon as they arrived they were serial numbered and shipped to our contact down range.
UPDATE: The flags have arrived in Iraq, and we should be getting pictures soon. They are kinda busy right now #Mosul but as soon as we get them we will post them here.
4. Designed the Death Card and began the search for manufacturers. This process has been a little more difficult than originally thought. Because we were needing an actual playing card with a custom design on both sides but only wanting the one card (ace of spades) there was a lot of searching for someone to do it. We finally found a company and then the back and forth between our design and the artists started. It finally all got approved and paid for.
UPDATE: The company making the death cards is one of the same companies that produced the Iraq War deck with the faces of the top HVT’s on it. They will be done and ship to us on 13 April.
5. Did interview with Washington Post reporter about our campaign. Article came out on Friday, March 24th. This article gave the GoFundMe and massive boost:
6. Created design for a PVC patch…..back/forth/learn Adobe Illustrator/back/forth and they were approved and paid for on the 31st. (Estimated arrival time 2-3 weeks)
7. Took part an in interview for the ‘Global Recon’ Podcast:
8. Place another order of flags on the 31st. We will finally start selling these when they arrive.
Things we are still in the works:
1. Creating an LLC for this project to fall under, (LLC initiated, just awaiting final processing) There are some very difficult legalities to overcome for a non-profit to do what we are trying to do. We decided it is better for us to have a “for profit” business, that gives away a lot of money. Doing it this way allows us get away from using GofundMe and become self-funding. Currently we are setting aside 25% of everything made so we can donate to the Gold Star families of ISOF. This number will constantly increase with the growth of the company but right now it is important to get the products and get them down range as soon as possible.
2. Working on a website and preparing the infrastructure to start selling and shipping items that people buy.
1. Once the things that we have already set in motion arrive and we have figured out the selling/shipping side of this, we will come up with some t-shirt designs to sell and send to those in Iraq.
2. Bryan is planning a trip to Iraq to hand deliver a flag and coordinate with ISOF leadership on how best to help their soldiers and Gold Star Families.
NOTE: Stay tuned for more information. We will update you as plans progress.
Today I placed the first order of 10 flags. Within 10 - 12 days they will arrive at my location. As soon as they arrive I will get the serial number embroidered on each of them and immediately turn around and ship them down range.
We have been working on other Raise the Black items not only to ship out but also to offer for sale. Items that are small and inexpensive but allow people to help us buy more flags and have something that will show their support. These small items help us get away from being dependent on the Gofundme and eventually become self-sufficient.
To that end I created this graphic and have ordered bumper stickers that will soon be for sale. Hopefully we will be able to start selling them sometime this week. Stay tuned for further updates on these bumper stickers.
I am also working on designing an ISOF death card that I am really excited about. I can’t tell you how excited I am for ISOF to start using them the way God intended. These we will also offer up for sale once the design and manufacturing process is complete.
Eventually the flags (minus the embroidered serial number) will be available for purchase. This is just the first step. We want to eventually be able to use this campaign to help the Iraqi Special Operations Forces and their families in many different ways.
The goals may be lofty but they all start with a black flag. A black flag that puts terror in the hearts of the savages, who invaded their country.
Thanks to you we have currently raised almost $2700. We wanted to take this time to thank everyone who has donated or supported this campaign as well as update you on what has been happening behind the scenes.
To make sure the flags meet our standards we are going to make an initial order of ten, 3 X 5 flags that will go to Iraq and U.S. Special Operations Forces and one 4 X 6 flag that we want to deliver to Major General Fadhil Jalil Barwari, the commander of Iraq’s elite Counter-Terrorism Service. This lets us test not only the manufacturer but also our supply line into Iraq.
Today I filled out the form to transfer the money into a bank account so as soon as the money arrives I will drop the order.
The unit price for ten 3 X 5 flags is $64.32 each and one 4 X 6 flag is $145.20
Ten 3 X 5 flags $643.20
One 4 X 6 $145.20
Once I have received the flags I will take them to a local embroidery shop and have a “serial number” put on them. Each flag that is sent down range will have a unique number to identify it as an official “Raise the Black” product that was sent to the boys fighting.
Once the test has been done and we have the funds we will order a batch of 50 flags. Making a larger order drops the unit price down to only $39.30 each. The Price for this order will be $1,965.00. When this happens, we will number half of them and send them down range. The rest of the flags we will offer up for public sale. The profit from these flags will then be turned around and used to support the cause of helping the Iraqi Special Operations Forces and their families.
Additionally, we are creating bumper stickers and ISOF death cards that will be added to the packages sent down range. To help raise money for this campaign and to start getting away from complete donations to the GoFundMe we will offer these items for public sale as soon as they arrive. All profit will go toward this endeavor.
Iraqi Counter Terrorism Forces (ICTF). Iraq's Tier 1 hostage rescue/Counter Terrorism and high risk Direct Action unit. Similar to the United States Delta Force.