An Army commander who helped capture Saddam Hussein in Iraq is now running for Congress in Oklahoma as a Republican.
Lt Col. Steve Russell — who wrote the book, “We Got Him! A Memoir of the Hunt and Capture of Saddam Hussein” — is trying to break out of the pack of a crowded GOP primary to replace Rep. James Lankford in the state’s 5th congressional district seat. The GOP primary is June 24.
In a recent interview with The Daily Caller, Russell recalled his role in the capture of Hussein.
“It was a team of teams,” he said. “And I was privileged to command one of those units. We had an incredible journey in that six months. And it ultimately led to Operation Red Dawn on December 13, 2003. That was the night he was captured.”
Russell served one term in the Oklahoma State Senate, founded the Oklahoma City-based gun manufacturing company Two Rivers Arms, and continues to travel around the country as a speaker about his experience in Iraq.
“While they are interested in my personal story,” Russell said of voters, “I think that they are encouraged by the fact that here is someone that has given 21 years to his country, four to his state as a state senator and now ready to fight again. Our country is very much in trouble.”
His company, Two Rivers Arms, was created after Russell found himself upset that soldiers aren’t allowed to bring home souvenirs from the war anymore.
“It’s the first war we ever fought where service personnel could not bring home something,” he said. “That angered me.”
Because of this, Russell took an existing rifle and altered its appearance to look like an Iraqi rifle. “And people asked, ‘Wow where do you get that?’ And before too long, I began to make a few others.”
He turned that into a business. Along with some friends, he filed trademarks for his Iraqi Tabuk. He formally started Two Rivers Arms in August 2010.
“We make some wonderful replicas of Iraqi rifles,” he said.
In fact, he said, their rifles will be featured in Clint Eastwood’s upcoming film, American Sniper.
“Oklahoma is certainly a very pro-second amendment state,” Russell said. “And people are interested in the fact that I’ve made a payroll. I’ve run a business.”