YOUR BASIC DAY
Life is good things are comfortable or maybe you’ve just gotten use to them. Using porta john seats and not being grossed out, walking to the shower point and heads across the way in shorts and flip flops and thinking “I hope IDF fire doesn’t hit while Im in here” What a way to go you think as you shower in your brown tasty water. With the spare time you’ve cleaned your weapon, had a stoag or enjoyed a DVD or even better conducted rack Ops (sleep). Everything is status quos and you’re living the life you’ve adjusted to and know now.
You get the word you now have a mission and you get your convoy ready and brief your Marines. You know it will be dangerous but you’ve become to like the danger in a way, its kinda addicting but perhaps not in a good way. Adrenalin rush, scared shitless and anger is the recipe for convoys as you roll. Its not in a great part of town, you know there will be trouble. You have a section for security and you eyes are peeled as soon as you roll out the gate. Every one has a job. Your game face is on, you’ve just gone from being comfortable and relaxed to full throttle (fight or flight). You pass through the gate and you have the feeling not if, but when is the IED is going to go off and you open a can of whoop ass of Haji and kick his ass. We don’t run if they hit us. If they wanna fight we hit them with everything so they will only get that one shot and we don’t let up until their dead. Hauling butt you are checking all places far and near for IEDs and anticipating where you have seen the ever present craters from past IEDs along the road. Your heads on a swivel as you scan the curb, the rock pile, is that trash or an arty shell, check that sign, the cars to the left coming at you, the curb, the cars coming the other way, watch out for the damn curb again (you tell yourself), the parked cars and also anticipate the RPG shot from the near tree orchard. The ever present cars in the area, “watch the black BMW” is heard over the radio, as flares shot from truck two fly towards it to warn it to stop. The gunner turret’s clacking noise is present as he traverses towards the threat. Is it going to stop or is it an SBVIED? The Lance Corporal has to make that split second decision to let it go or to take a life. Flash bangs ring out as the turret gunners throw them at semi trucks not yielding in their escalation of force. Shot guns fire warning shots as the escalation rises at vehicles. “Watch the rice bag on the right in the crater” heard over the radio. Notorious for Haji to place IEDs in old craters in rice bags or even in dead animals. Traffic is thick “ move those F’ing cars out of the way” “Lets go, go, go” “Tire pieces on the left” as lead truck identifies tire fragments typical of IED hiding places. “Roger tire on right, no threat”, “last truck through” calls the last vehicle. Communication is continuous. But a van is speeding up towards the last Hummer in a fashion to crash into it and explode, typical of a SBVIED. The rear gunner orients his 50 cal towards it and again makes a judgment call to continue the escalation of force he is held to or open up and protect himself. It’s a big decision for the 20 year old, but he has the maturity and confidence compounded with the proper training and experience. He makes the right call and fires another flare in the area of the van to warn them off as it’s only a worried speeding Iraqi father trying to get his pregnant wife to a hospital.
You get to your destination and establish security; The job isn’t done because you are always being watched and then you have to get ready to go through it again on the way back.
You completed the trip both ways and no one got hurt. You are mentally drained your camies are soaked from the sweat with salt rings on them and you can quit taking deep breaths. Your on a kind a “high” after you’ve returned for about an hour then your looking to go to bed. It’s a surreal event; you go from one extreme to the other. We think as everyday as day ONE here. Meaning every day is like the first day you got here and you were scared shitless. If you weren’t scared you just didn’t know how much danger was around you and how many people were aiming in on you. When you get complacent is when Haji will kill you dead.
Its an off day, you are doing maintenance and training. The weather is nice; you are enjoying the day and moderate activities. The very next second mortar rounds crump in the area. You can feel the pressure of the round in your chest. Sounds like semi trucks falling from the sky. You automatically run for the well known bunkers. Radio traffic erupts on the radio and you begin to act in case of wounded.
Its time to rest. The day is over for now. You begin to sleep and can hear the reoccurring local prayers over the loud speakers. You wonder what words they are using to describe their next attacks broadcasted during prayer. Gunfire erupts off in the distance. Distinct AK47 compbined with RPGs and IEDs. Its not an immediate threat to you as of yet but as you close your eyes you measure the progress towards you. You scrunch towards your wall protected with sandbags in case a projectile is over shot and comes near you. You drift off to sleep.
Life is good things are comfortable or maybe you’ve just gotten use to them.
Small arms fire and contact have been more towards the end of the day, sunset. A good gunfight erupted last night about a mile away, no injuries. The Army, Marine team is working great together as both rushed to the downed Cobra. Upon reaching the site, IEDs detonated on the units. Both sides took casualties but they learned not to bring a knife to a gun fight. Coalition forces continued to exterminate the enemy as they exposed themselves during these last days of Ramadan. The local prayers are more frequent and the SBVIEDs are ever present. Its been a good week.