The Intelligence Community, Inc. presented our 2015 annual Problem Solver Award to the Ramaro Group, Ltd. for the successful completion of "Operation Sinjar Mountain." The presentation took place at our Annual Awards Banquet in Washington D. C. where Ray Rhodes, President of the Ramaro Group (and member of the IAPSC), received a crystal bowl from Lieutenant General (Ret) Michael T. Flynn, former Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency.
This humanitarian operation took place in 2014 immediately following the Islamic State (ISIS) attack on the predominantly Yazidi city of Sinjar, in northern Iraq. The brutal take-over of that city resulted in virtually all its inhabitants being displaced. Most were killed or taken hostage. Those few individuals who were able to do so sought refuge on nearby Sinjar Mountain. Unfortunately, those who were able to move to the mountain were virtually trapped on its rocky cliffs, exposed to the elements and without food or water, and in imminent danger of being captured or killed by ISIS fighters.
Among those refugees who were able to evacuate to the mountain were 18 family members of a former Iraqi soldier who had previously worked with the U.S. Army as a translator and then became a mechanical engineer in the United States. In desperation, this young man, also a Sergeant in the Indiana Army National Guard, asked for help from his boss in rescuing his relatives from their dire situation on the mountain. Fortunately, the owner of the company, a West Point graduate and combat veteran, immediately took action and reached out to Academy classmate, Ray Rhodes, President of the Ramaro Group -- a Houston based consultancy specializing in international security.
Ray immediately enlisted the aid of his experienced security contacts in several U.S. states, Iraq, Syria, Turkey, and Israel. Working tirelessly around the clock, this highly skilled team of security experts quickly crafted viable evacuation plans.
Initially, it was hoped that a helicopter extraction would be possible. However, this proved to be impractical and the evacuation had to be conducted overland, enlisting the aid of several U.S. Government entities and multiple local paramilitary groups. Within only a few days, the entire family was successfully moved from Sinjar Mountain to Syria, across Turkey, and into Iraqi Kurdistan where they found sanctuary.
Notably, all of the numerous individuals and organizations involved in the operation refused to accept any payment or reimbursement for their support. The mantra on the part of all the Americans who participated was: "No soldier, or soldier's family, left behind!"
The Intelligence Community, Inc. is proud to present our Problem Solver Award to The Ramaro Group for their extraordinary success in rapidly organizing and executing this difficult humanitarian evacuation.