The tragic death of Master Sgt. Joshua Wheeler last week as prompted a pedantic debate about whether or not the troops stationed in Iraq are in ‘combat.’

After news of Wheeler’s death broke, Defense Secretary Carter said Americans stationed in Iraq were not in “a combat role.”  Last Friday, the commander of U.S. Forces in Iraq Army Lt. Gen. Sean MacFarland said that “U.S. forces are not in Iraq on a combat mission.” Less recently, President Obama asserted in June that, “American forces will not be returning to combat in Iraq.”

Amid all these denials that U.S. troops are doing anything beyond “advise-and-assist” missions, video footage of U.S. Special Forces raiding an ISIS prison and then bombing the entire building appear to say otherwise. Explosions and gunfire are usually pretty indicative of a combat situation, especially if a 20-year veteran is killed in the crossfire.

So…are they in combat?

“We’re in combat,” said Army Col. Steve Warren, a spokesman for Operation Inherent Resolve currently stationed in Iraq with 3,500 other Americans. “Of course it is; that’s why we all carry guns, that’s why we all get combat patches when we leave here, that’s why we all received imminent danger pay. So, of course it’s combat.”

Warren emphasized that U.S. forces aren’t launching large scale military operations. “We’re talking about raids, a very specific term — a combat action that is conducted to achieve a certain objective and then the forces are immediately removed,” he said. “That’s a very key doctrinal point that’s important to make.”

If it looks like combat, sounds like combat and kills like combat, then yes it’s definitely combat.