Clarksville resident Doug Englen, a former U.S. Army pilot who took part in the mission to kill Osama bin Laden, is shifting gears from a military campaign to a political one.
Englen, a Republican, told The Tennessee Star Tuesday he wants to replace State Sen. Bill Powers (R-Clarksville) later this year, even though Powers, a fellow Republican, wants to keep that seat.
U.S. Rep. Mark Green (R-TN-07) held that position before voters sent him to Congress.
“I need a mission. I need something to problem-solve. If there is a mission that doesn’t have a clear objective then that is perfect,” Englen said.“The mission analysis is right up my lane.”
If elected, Englen said he would work to make Tennessee’s gun laws more clear and concise. He also said he would protect the unborn and work hard on veterans’ affairs and veterans’ benefits.
It’s official. My wife Tina and I are ready for the next chapter in our lives. Doug Englen for State Senate. pic.twitter.com/P7GOmABL0t
— Doug Englen (@DougEnglen) March 10, 2020
The Military Times recently profiled Englen and his extensive Army career, including his part in the bin Laden raid.
But Englen told The Star that the most intense day of his 33-year military career was April 3, 2003, in Haditha, Iraq.
“It was a huge battle because the Iraqis wanted to take control of the Haditha Dam because it was power, energy, irrigation, and, technically, that was one of Saddam Hussein’s targets. If we were getting too close then he wanted to blow it up, and hundreds and millions of gallons would kill about a million and a half people just because of flooding,” Englen said.
“The uniqueness of that was this was the first true experience we had with suicide bombers. Rangers set up a checkpoint right on the edge of the dam. A pregnant woman walked up to them. She was legitimately pregnant and said she thought they would let her in through compassion — but she was wearing a suicide vest and killed three Rangers. Five others were injured. They called me in to pick them up, and it was such an immense amount of fire. It was an ambush. They kept calling me off, telling me it was too hot to come in. I just laid suppressant fire from our gunships and A-10s overhead.”
The five rangers would have died had help not arrived, Englen said.
“It was one of the most intense firefights I had been a part of in the whole War on Terror,” he added.
Now a civilian, Englen is thrusting himself into another type of engagement.
“I am not fighting a foe now. Bill Powers is not my enemy. He is [an enemy] from a political standpoint, but he’s also a fellow American. And that is where the environment is different. The compassion is different,” Englen said.
“You have to have compassion toward your enemy or your foe, but it’s a difference because there may be times we have to be allies in a certain aspect. At the end of the day, when I beat him, we still need to be friends because he is a valuable asset in the business community and at large here.”
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