Saddam Hussein captor speaks at E. Texas university - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

Saddam Hussein captor speaks at E. Texas university

LONGVIEW, TX (KLTV) - He was at the center of the hunt for Saddam Hussein, and on Monday, he was in East Texas.

Army Lieutenant Colonel Steve Russell told students at LeTourneau University, although it was a tough mission, he knew it wasn't impossible.

Lieutenant Colonel Steve Russell says he was in complete disbelief when they found Saddam Hussein.

"It was an incredible feeling much like the feeling when you got the news back here at home, very euphoric," recalled Lt. Col. Russell.

Lt. Col Russell's squad spent six months on a man hunt looking for Saddam.

"We were part of a strategy that tracked down bodyguards and families who were associated with Saddam," he explained.

After much searching, they were finally led to the hole where Saddam had been hiding.

"So they begin to shout and Samhir begins translating what these soldiers are saying 'Who are you, put your hands up,' and from the bottom of the hole you hear, 'I am Saddam Hussein, the duly elected President of Iraq and I'm willing to negotiate.'"

Lt. Col. Russell says they actually had to keep Saddam's capturing a secret because the president had to be notified.

"It caught a lot of people by surprise, and to include our senior leaders there in Iraq, so it was about 13 hours before we could even talk about it," says Lt. Col. Russell.

But eventually the world got the exciting news.

"Every task that we've asked of our soldiers since 9/11 they  have achieved from the defeat of the Taliban to the death of bin Laden to the defeat of Saddam's regime to the capture and bringing to justice of Saddam and all of that was done in nine and a half years. It's quite remarkable," Lt. Col. Russell says.

Lieutenant Colonel Russell retired from the Army in 2006, and returned to his home state of Oklahoma.

He was elected to Oklahoma's state senate in 2008.

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