After staying silent for nearly two decades, a retired Delta Force warrior has opened up to the public and shared their riveting account of Saddam Hussein’s 2003 arrest by the elite special operations unit.

Last month, retired Army Master Sergeant Kevin Holland had the remarkable opportunity to make history by being the first American to publicly speak about Saddam Hussein’s arrest in nearly two decades when he appeared on a podcast.

On his podcast Danger Close, Jack Carr has given an exclusive opportunity to receive unprecedented insight from the one and only soldier who has been a part of both Navy SEAL Team 6 and 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment-Delta—Leroy J. Holland.

Captivatingly, Holland shared a vivid account of the moment he and his fellow servicemen encountered an eight-foot hole in the ground. After exploring the mysterious opening, they stumbled upon Saddam Hussein himself – armed with a gun in hand. The details divulged by Holland about this high-profile incident were nothing short of astounding.

After restraining the prisoner, Holland – a 20-year veteran of both the SEALS and Army after 9/11 – remarked that they said to him: “President Bush sends his regards.”

After twenty years of silence, new accounts have been released that chronicle the dictator’s capture and ultimate execution by hanging in 2006.

Last year, the arrest of Iraq’s former leader Saddam Hussein was brought into question when an Iraqi interpreter who had worked with the US military refuted claims that he was in hiding. Alongside fellow North Carolina native Daniel Winkler – a knifemaker Holland is collaborating with on a new tactical blade – the renowned soldier finally spoke out about this instance.

In order to kickstart their dialogue, Holland and Winkler shared the story of how they had first met each other before delving into detail on Holland’s two-decade-long military career.

Holland recalled how when he saw a Parade magazine article depicting the SEALS on an assumed mission while covered in mud, his determination to join the special operations force was solidified.

“I always grew up on John Wayne, and watching Green Berets, and all that, and wanted to be a Green Beret, and read First Blood, of course,” Holland said, pointing out that the protagonist, Rambo wielded a 30/30 Winchester Rifle – the same gun he utilized for hunting in his native North Carolina mountain area during his teenage years.

“That’s what I grew up with and so his background was a green beret, and that’s what I wanted to be.”

After observing how low the enlistment criteria were for services such as the Army, Holland decided to join the SEALS and was eventually inducted into their exclusive 6 Team. Before 2003’s War in Iraq erupted, he transitioned to its corresponding force – The Delta Force.

Carr tentatively brought up Hussein, clearly expecting that Holland would not be able to provide much detail.

“I don’t know if we can talk about it or not – we’ll edit it out,” Carr stated, before questioning the serviceman regarding the 2003 mission in Ad-Dawr, a tiny agricultural town where Saddam Hussein was barricaded.

Holland recounted with precise clarity how they obtained human intelligence about the former despot’s whereabouts, and then eventually discovered an exhausted Hussein in a secret spot close to a rural farm.

Nestled in a remote area with only one road, the farm was guarded by Iraqis who had remained loyal to Hussein; their mission was to alert the inhabitants of any incoming forces.

After his initial success, Carr began the delicate exchange by questioning Holland and his team as to how they located the tiny crater which was disguised with a mound of dirt and Styrofoam.

“Mhm. Oh yeah,” Holland reminisced as if recalling a beloved memory from the distant past.

“Yeah, well, we had some human intel that showed us exactly where it was at,” Holland stated.

When his team located the hidden area specified by their informant, Holland exclaimed that “we just brushed it away!”

“They had a big Styrofoam plug, you know, that they would put in there and then cover it with leaves and dirt, sand, and it had a pipe for air – we had noticed it when we cleared it. Just dug it away, pulled it up, and sand fell in.”

“And in goes a banger,” the soldier then chuckled, telling us how the crater was originally made with a perfectly tossed grenade.

After the chaos quieted down, Holland and his squad uncovered a deep pit concealed by bricks that were too murky to make out with their bare eyes – where Saddam Hussein lay hidden.

“We had lights on our guns, when you looked in it, you could tell – you could see bricks, you know, where they bricked it up,” Holland said.

“We know it’s something. And the guys says he’s in there.”

Soldiers then attempted to flush out the dark cavernous lair with a dog, but as stated by Holland, the animal was too petrified to enter.

“So, finally, once he pulls the dogs back, we start hearing somebody talk in Arabic, and the interpreter starts talking back,” Holland added.

“And it’s like, someone’s coming – the voice is getting closer, you can tell. The sound, it’s getting closer.”

Subsequently, he described how abruptly, “hands come out of the hole, and then a big bushy head of hair.”

“We grab him and jerk him out, and it’s like, ‘that’s him,'” Holland’s riveting account left both Carr and Winkler in awe, captivated by his spontaneous story.

Holland recounted how one of the bigger soldiers aided him in extracting Hussein from an eight-foot pit.

When his comrade aided him in lifting Saddam Hussein, the serviceman was overwhelmed with emotion and exclaimed “Holy cow! It’s really him!”

Holland recounted how Hussein had been equipped with a handgun, prompting one of his fellow soldiers – referred to by Holland as “a Big Texan” – to strike the 66-year-old Iraqi dictator in the face.

“Then, a big Texan nails him in the mouth, knock him down – cause he’s got a gun, he’s armed. So we had to make sure that he couldn’t get to that gun.”

Holland then pointed out that the gun was a ‘fully automatic Glock- 15’, and is currently owned by ex-President George W. Bush.

“Bush has that now,” Holland stated, Prior to delving further into Hussein’s behavior during his apprehension.

“He was pretty beatdown,” he remembered. “He just said he was the president of Iraq and that he’s ready to negotiate, and he said that in English. And we’re like, “That time’s passed, brother.”‘

Holland proceeded to explain that after restraining the prisoner, the soldiers relayed a message from their president saying “he sends his regards.”

Following his exploration, he recounted the tale of how he had to venture into the hidden cavern alone as his companion was too large in stature for him to fit through the narrow passage that had been recently uncovered.

“So he jumps out, I jump in,” Holland stated. “I got my .45, and look down, and I got my flashlight.” At the time, the underground hideout was made up of several winding paths and hidden corners for the soldier to explore.

“So, I’m like, give me another pistol,” Holland said. “And so the guy hands me down a Glock, with a light on it.”

Once he had gone around one corner, Holland realized that it was a small space Hussein must have used to conceal himself in the cave.

“It was just enough room, a six foot area, for a guys to lay down, and he had a little bench he could sit on,” the serviceman stated.

The ceilings of the underground room were extremely low, Holland added: ‘You could stand and your head would stick out of the hole.’

Despite the cramped quarters, the soldier noted that Hussein’s hideout was surprisingly comfortable.

“Yeah, I mean, it was nice,” he stated. “You go down, and it’s brick, and the ceilings got beams, and it’s parched, and there’s cement on top of him. It was dry and it had a fan in there, a little white fan that you saw in the video. It was on Fox News.”

He continued: “So I clear it, got the camera, took a video of the thing, and I’m talking and telling what it all looks like, and then I lay down to see if I can lay down in here, and my boots are sticking out – you can see it in the video.”

When prompted about how Hussein managed to stay in hiding for an extended period of time, Holland divulged the dictator “was never in there for any extended period.”

“Oh yeah… he’d get out,” he told Carr. “They had crows all up and down the road who would notify him.”

Moreover, the Sunni Muslim politicians had two guards who doubled as cooks that were apprehended in a nearby hut.

“He would be in the hut all day, and then if we came down that road, they would jump in there, cover him up,” Holland stated. “That’s how it happened.”

Subsequently, Holland recounted how they flew Saddam Hussein from the battleground to an armed forces base in Tikrit by helicopter and eventually transferred him to Baghdad – where he was apprehended by the new administration.

“They took him on a little bird and flew back to Tikrit into the palace, and we got back up there – myself, and then another guy, and the commander flew into Baghdad.”

For a brief moment, the Dutch public was given an insight into their dictator’s state of mind after he had gone missing for over five months following America’s declaration of war.

“And that’s when you could feel he was just an evil guy,” Holland stated. “He had this presence about him that was very unnerving.”

After comprehending that he wasn’t about to be killed, this tyrannical ruler – responsible for the deaths of 30,000+ Iraqis in between 1983 and 1988 by means of mustard gas and nerve agents – conveyed an air of authority as if “he was back in charge.”

As recounted by Holland, the dictator was firmly held while he would make attempts to reach up – his beard being grasped in their hands- and pat their hand occasionally.

“Another guy had him by the back of the head, and shake his head back and forth to make him quit touching us.’

Confounded by the escape, Carr questioned Holland as to why he had gotten away. In response, Holland stated: I can’t understand it; we were firmly in control of him. He wasn’t leaping out of the chopper and didn’t pose a threat to anyone aboard – we had him secured.

“But he would just reach up and touch my hand.”

Carr said: “So you could just feel this evil presence?” – to which Holland said: “Yeah, he was just not a good dude.”

When asked if his team experienced the same sentiment when in proximity of the political figure, Holland answered affirmatively: “Yes, everyone.”

“And nobody really wanted to hang out with him,” he continued, In connection to the notorious photographs of him and other members of his troop posing with Hussein.

“He had an air of – once he knew he wasn’t being killed, he was back in charge, and he had that air about him,” Holland said.

“He was just – he had a presence. I don’t know what it was. A presence of evil.”

Upon his completion of the tour, Holland went on to take part in an 8-month Special Forces Qualification Course (Q Course) to become a decorated Green Beret.

Last year, Holland endured a grave injury when shrapnel from an IED explosion behind his vehicle struck him. The tragedy resulted in the death of one of his Delta Force comrades.

Overall, Holland amassed 20 deployments to the Middle East and over 2000 missions during his time as a SEAL. He officially retired from the SEALS in 1999; however, following 9/11 he was inspired to rejoin military service.

After obtaining his special services qualification in 2005, Holland – who shortly thereafter achieved the position of master sergeant – worked as an assaulter with Delta Force for approximately a decade.

In 2011, he was tragically shot in Afghanistan and his arm became paralyzed. Despite the tragedy, he stayed positive and spent the rest of his military career recovering from this injury until 2013 when he retired from service.

His youngest son and stepdaughters now reside with him and his wife in North Carolina, close to the humble town he grew up in. His oldest child, Connor, has proudly followed down their father’s path of success by becoming a part of the prestigious Green Berets.

Drawing on his extensive experience in both the military and outdoors, Holland has recently made the leap into professional knifemaking. His most recent endeavor is a collaboration with Winkler to create a $350 blade.

The blade, much like its inventor, is both a lethal weapon and a trusty tool; perfect for use in tactical settings as well as everyday tasks.

This new information directly conflicts with the account of Hussein’s arrest given by an Iraqi interpreter who collaborated with US troops back in 2020.

At the time, a cautious interpreter divulged that Hussein was in an actual room and not in some hidden burrow. He appeared to have been practicing his prayer rituals because he wore the customary Arab garb. The anonymous source wanted to make sure everyone understood this information for their own safety.

He flatly denied the Pentagon’s version of events that had him cowering in a pit at his arrest; however, the Biden Administration has yet to address this allegation.