Inside the attack that almost sent the U.S. to war with Iran

The attack was just hours away when Major Alan Johnson got the word Iran’s most powerful weapons were aiming for Al Asad.

Alan Johnson: My intelligence officer pulled me aside and basically said, “Sir, I’ve got some bad news for you.” “What’s up?” (LAUGH) “We have information that Iran is fueling 27 medium-range ballistic missiles and their intention is to level this base and we may not survive.”

Tim Garland: This is a completely different threat.

Lt. Col. Tim Garland commanded an Army battalion at Al Asad, a sprawling airbase about 120 miles west of Baghdad where the U.S. operated scores of helicopters, drones and other aircraft.

David Martin: Did the base have any defense against ballistic missiles?

Tim Garland: No sir. It was such an unprecedented threat. I don’t think it was ever calculated, so the capability to prevent a ballistic missile attack it– it wasn’t there.