Saturday, March 17, 2007

Staring death in the face...

Well today was one hell of a day let me tell you! It all started out as just another normal day, as usual. Nothing special really planned. We left really early in the morning, while it was still dark and our first thing to do was to do a little dismounted patrol/recon through the back alleys in the bad area that we got into the firefight the other day.

As we're rolling out of the FOB we get a call over the radio saying they have reports of a mob of 20-25 men armed with AK's preparing to attack this IP station just right up the road from where we are going. Another platoon from our company was there already but hadn't seen anything. So we roll up and relieve them and they head back to base. We dont see anything so we continue on and dismount for our patrol. I was a dismount today.

We had a preplanned route through the alleyways that we were to take and so we headed out. It was dark and we had our night vision on and were moving quietly. Pretty early on we passed this side alleyway just as this guy walked out of his house with an AK. The guy practically walked right into us without even seeing us. So of course we stop him, have him drop his weapon and detain him, because its illegal to carry an AK-47 on the street if your not ISF (Iraqi Security Forces, ie IA, IP, etc). As we are detaining him someone just up the alley see's us and takes off running, but we didnt catch him. Just after detaining the AK guy we continued to move down the alley, one of our guys spots a dude with a pistol. As soon as he shines his light on the guy, he tries to ditch it and run, but we caught him, and of course detained him too. In the pistol and on his person he had magazines containg armour piercing rounds. At this point, we're really starting to wonder whats up with all these guys on the street at this hour and everyone having guns out. The second guy had a cellphone and it started ringing so we had him answer it and our interperator listened in. I guess the guy on the other line said "Hey the Americans are in your area!". Ok this definatly is not good.

Apparently at this same time the guys still in the trucks driving around see 2 sets of 6 guys run across the road in the direction towards us. After that first phone call we had the one guy answer all the phones we had with us just all at once started going off like crazy. We tried to do what we could to turn them off, when all of a sudden a guy in front of us in the alley way comes out, takes a look at us and books it. Just as he turns the corner someone spotted an AK on him. Ok, something is definatly going down thats for sure. We have our interperator yell for him to come out, but nothing. Someone thought they saw a barrel poke out from the side so they fired a couple warning shots. Still nothing. At this point I was in the very back pulling rear security and I remeber thinking to myself, "Damn this sucks. All the action is up front and Im stuck back here!" Well literally a minute after thinking that I hear the squad leader call for my team to push up front and find that guy. Oh shit, alright! I wasnt the team leader but the other team leader from my normal squad was in charge which was cool with me. I was basically just another guy in the team.

We came up to the corner the guy ran around and my team leader another guy go around it and see the alley forks in 2. We started moving with them going left. I push around with another guy and start moving towards the right fork. Probably no more than 5-10 meters down the alley we hear noises coming from my alley. We all stop, shine our lasers and look to see if we see anything. Nobody could see anything but we continued to scan for a couple seconds. Thats where out of nowhere this motherfucker opens up with a good burst from his AK. I see the muzzle flash no problem because well the guy cant be any more than 25 meters in front of me!! With the bullets popping and whizzing all around me, I immediatly open up. Not many people had a good shot, but I was the front guy on that alley closest to the bastard. Everytime Id duck behind this curve in the wall I was using for cover, Id think to myself "I'm so going to get shot," right before Id pop back out. But non the less training kicked in and I did what I was supposed to popped out and layed more lead down towards him. When Id come out and he's start shooting again, I could hear rounds hitting the metal door right behind us and could see the rounds impacting the wall right in front of my face, turning it to dust. Holy fuck thats close!!!

After about 3 or 4 mins the guy stopped shooting just as we were starting to manuever on him. The area we were in provided NO cover and it was a very tight alley. We also still had the 2 guys with us we had detained. It was deemed best to just get out of there while we were ahead so we did just that. Makes me wonder wheter we killed the guy or if he just ran off. Im pretty sure we shot him because there was so much lead being thrown at him. When he was shooting he's shoot in long bursts from his AK, but the very last burst before the firing stopped was only 2-3 rounds. Oh well, guess I'll never know.

So anticipating more people we quickly began moving back in ways that prepared us for possible enemy contact again. We ran in to no more guys on the way back. When we got back to the main road, we waited there for the trucks when all of a sudden I hear, "Whats that flashing light?" Im in the very front and I look 5 feet directly to my left and see flashing green and red lights next to some dark object in the middle of the alley. It kind of looked like those fancy cellphone antennas that light up when you get a call or talk on it. Immediatly Im thinking this is an IED, just as everyone else does and you just hear everyone yelling RUN!! IED!! GET THE FUCK BACK!! I've never ran so fast in my life! We called up the bomb guys and it ended up not being an IED, but that still just didnt sit right with me. Seeing that in an trash pile was way out of the norm here in Baghdad. Better safe than sorry.

Well the rest of the day was pretty uneventful. Some patrolling around and some crappy intel raids. You know the usual! We ended up having to take the detainees to the holding facility after everything and by the time we got back, yet again another 24hour + day. What made it worse is I had only got 2 hours of sleep the night before along with over 1/2 the guys. Damn, I feel like a zombie!

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