Wednesday, June 20, 2007

About a week in review

Alright so I haven't really posted much lately, but to be honest, I've been pretty damn exhausted. The schedule lately has been a little different, and on top of the heat and sitting in a guard tower, and studying my ass of for this board I have in a couple days..... well Im just plain exhausted, physically and mentally. Im feeling good about this board, but Im not going to lie. I sure as hell can't wait to get it over with so I can finally stop studying and cramming my head full of information! AHH!!

So a few nights ago, we had a raid that we went on. We were looking for these guys that we've been trying to get our hands on, and we were ready to go at it hard. Was to be a quick one. In, grab em, out, go kinda thing. Well my team was the first to go into the building. My personal favorite, because well, thats where the biggest rush is. Although I will admit that I dont really get the rush that I used to when we would do raids. No more butterflies or nothing. Dont know what that means....

I normally carry a shotgun with me. I had a break for a little while, which was nice because that thing definately gets annoying sometimes. But now, Im stuck with it again. Oh well. It could come in handy someday. Like this night for instance. Being the lead team to go in, we were to breach the door and go in and do our thing. Now usually another guy does all the shotgun breaches and though I've been right there (close enough to get pelted in the face by the richotche pellets) I've never actually done it myself. In fact, I've never even fired a shotgun in my life. Well tonight was going to be my chance. As things were falling into place, I started getting nervous, well, because I seriously don't know what Im doing. My squad leader gave a quick "lesson" on where to shoot and whatnot, but I was still unnerved. I had at one point asked him if he wanted to do it, but he was going to be throwing a flash bang (which is cool as hell and we hardly ever get to) so I had to breach it. Fuck it, lets do it. I remeber about a minute before, I leaned back to one of my guys and whispered to him, "So yeah, this is the first time Ive ever shot a shotgun before!" hahaha. Good stuff.

The flash bang is thrown, and then I go to work. My first shot obliterates the lock on the door. I tried kicking it in, but no luck. I look at where the lock was, and I still see metal there so I continue to shoot the same spot 2 more times, kicking the door and still nothing. What the hell?!? I try a couple more areas, some kicking and finally some football style running into the door from one of the bigger guys on my team finally got the door open. Wow, I'm never going to live this one down! What do you expect tho, me to be an expert my first time? Apparently my squad leader told me after I shoot the lock, not to keep shooting the same area, but in the rush of the situation, I totally missed that. Oooops.

Well, we go in and before I know it Im racing up stairs, clearing rooms and taking people under control. There was one place we went into with probably a family of 15 living in one room. Nuts, but anyways, there was one man, and a bunch of women and childeren. I was asking for the man to come out of the room, because well, I dont want to scare the shit out of the women and kids. He wasn't listening. I grabbed for him to pull him out and he snapped his arm back and pulled away. Sorry buddy, that was your last chance. He needed to come out and he WAS coming out, so I immediately reached in grabbed his ass and pulled him out into the room. Well, just as I expected, the family starts going BEZERK! Crying, wailing, screaming. Jesus. He should of just listened to the man with the gun the first time.

So that was about all of the excitment for that day, and though I did catch some shit for being the 5 shot door breach guy, it didn't last. Lets just say others have more notable reputations with the shotgun! :)

A couple nights later, we were out on patrol. Nothing special, just a normal patrol, walking around. Checking things out, making sure everything is good and safe and whatnot. We ended up patroling one area that was somewhat close to the area we used to get into firefights all the time, in fact a couple times I could see some of the buildings in that area. Part of me was begging for someone to just come out on a rooftop with an AK. I remeber at one point pulling security down this alley way where I could totally see that area, I was trained on it and ready for someone. Unfortunatley (or fortunately??) noone came out.

Being this close to that area really reminded me how much I miss what we used to do there. I know on this deployment, I've seen a lot more shit than I ever expected to see while deployed over here. In fact, I think we've seen more that alot of people see over here in general. In a way, I really wouldn't care if I never was in a position where my life was in danger because some jackel wants to shoot me. I would be just as content to go home finishing up this deployment in boredom, but theres always that part of me that yearns for the rush of combat. I might of talked about it before, but it is one of the best feelings I've ever felt. Just the whole situation. Yeah, it's scarry. Yeah, I worry wheter or not I'm going to get shot. I think thats normal, but theres something about having all the thoughts and worries running through your head and having to push it aside and say FUCK IT! and just do what you have to do. Its kind of like when you were younger (or maybe even still to this day) when you go to an amuzement park and theres a scarry ride and your totally scarred and don't want to do it, nervous about riding, but you say screw it and ride it anyways, and even though its scarry it is incredibly exciting too. Well thats what its like and Im guess, thats a normal thought process for combat. Combine that, with the sensory explosion, and wow. You have the thunderous sound of various caliber machine guns rocking away, sporatic sound of our rifles firing, intermixed with the load explosions of your own rifle firing. The crack of a bust from an AK or some other machine gun, and the defaning snap of rounds as the fly past you and smash into walls, or the ground or whatever. You can smell, the sweat, the gun powder and probably even the adreneline. Thats probably the best part. Its like an intravenious drug injection. It hits you instantly when your body drops the A(dreneline)-bomb on you. Your heart starts beating so hard you can feel it pounding in your chest. Your state of awareness is at like 1000% like as if you just injected 10 cans of red bull. Everything is clear and you see just what you need to. Its such an amazing thing. If the possibilty of death wasn't a real possibility, I would wish for it everyday.

So yeah, back from my tangent! :) We were patrolling along when we came across a couple of guys, out at night, with AKs on the street. *Insert slight adreneline dump here* We get in position to take care of this, in the event it goes sour, and I take my team and move to a better position, bringing me closer to the guys with guns. *Insert fuck it mentality as we moved* Fortunately being night, we have such an advantage and we definatly make use of it, and before I know it, we have a few guys detained, no shots fired.

One funny note, on the way back in from the patrol we came across this guy that was sleeping out in the alley on a mattress thing. He was totally oblivious to us being there, even though we weren't TOTALLY quiet. It was hilarious, and I so wish we had a poloroid so we could of all gathered around him, taken a picture and then left it for him for when he woke up. That would of been great.

But yeah, that was about it for anything cool or funny from that day.

So yesterday, was an interesting day. Lately it has been kind of quiet on the steets, which is never a bad thing, although I am a true believe of the 'calm before the storm' mentality. But in the past week I haven't heard many explosions or gunshots, which is good. We this day, I was going up to pull guard, and not long after me and my buddy get situated there is a loud and thunderous BOOOOM!! that rocks the air and walls around us, causing sand to come spilling out of sandbags. Immediately, Im thinking this is a big mortar round that was fired at us and hit close, and I scan around for a cloud to indicate such. Nothing, I keep scanning and then all of a sudden I see it. Its a dirt cloud alright, but its nowhere close to us, and a ways off in the distance. There's only one thing this can be. A car bomb. As its getting called up, I stare in awe as the massive dirt cloud begins to turn black, a thick black blanket covering everything in its wake, as fire engulfes the area around the blast site. I remeber thinking, "God I hope we dont have to go check this out. I really DONT want to have to see that shit again."

Fortunatly we didn't go, but in the ensuing chaos, emergency vechicles were flying around, sirens blarring, warning shots being fired out windows EVERYWHERE to move cars out of the way. I saw the same type of trucks that I saw at the last VBIED site I was at, where they had hoards of helpers on the back, screaming towards the blast area, chanting and yelling many things, to include 'Allah Akbar' (God is Great). All of this was giving me bad memories of that day. In the end when I finally got some info on it, and read the news article, apparently a carbomb targeting a mosque had gone off and as of today, so far, the death total is at 87 with the wounded in the hundreads. I seriously do not understand these people. Is what you believe in THAT important to kill innocent people and destroy sacred buildings?!?!?

So yeah, that was the excitment of pretty much the last week or so. Trying to catch up on some sleep and cram the last bit of information in my head before I head to this board in 2 days, so wish me luck!


Digg this story! Add to del.icio.us! Subscribe to this feed!

16 comments:

SYLKY said...

Damn Eddie! I think I chewed all my nails off with this one. My friggin brain hurts... wow, dude, that's some crazy stuff. Through all this, I think you're becoming an even better writer. Honestly, I feel like I'm right there with you when you write. Ha, I'm going to an amusement park this weekend, too. Although it will never compare to the adrenaline rush you feel, I'll be thinkin of you while I'm on those roller coasters. LOL. Study hard, fight harder. You'll be fine. Loves ya!

Rejenia said...

You are becoming a even more accomplished as a writer. You took us along with you, and the ride was exciting. I just kept thinking, you young man have trained well. Thank God for you and those around you. Good luck on your boards, but I know you will do well. Reading your blog today made me so proud you are one of our young Americans. Thank you.

NEVER SHOT A SHOT GUN ! ! ! Okay we still have some training to do. There are some pesky owls outside my house at night. So bring those night goggles to Texas, and you can get in some shotgun practice taking the owls out. Let's see Door-5 Eddie-1?

Rest, and knock those boards out of the ball park !

Grandma Rejenia

Tammy said...

My brother is stationed at COP Cashe, SE Baghdad. He is not as open as you with his experiences, but I understand that everyone deals with combat in their own way. Thank you for being our eyes and ears. You do a brillant job of describing your emotions and experiences. Be safe and good luck with your board. Tammy

Anonymous said...

You are awesome, dude. Bet you ace your test.

Alaska Paul said...

Great story and great writing---honest writing. It grabs ya!! So you are doing OJT with a shotgun? LOL! Just keep the barrel where it's supposed to be as they taught ya so no bad guys grab it going around the corner.

Looking forward to your future posts. Stay safe. We appreciate your service up here in Alaska.

~SMIR? said...

Good luck on your board!!! Remember, when you don't know the answer, lie with confidence. Or promise to look it up in the correct reg, which is more boring, but I suppose the right answer during a promo board.

mamaworecombatboots said...

Yur first time firing a shogun made me laugh...the first time I fired one (under duress) I shot a hole in my waterbed.

Long story....

Stay safe.

Carla said...

Looking forward to hearing how the boards went ... sure u did fine.

Great read once again ...

stay safe.

Maureen said...

Dear Eddie, You sound like a fun kid to be with on patrol. Watch your backside! Probably nothing like Phoenix!

w said...

I wish you Luck along with my prayers. Thank you so much for all you do.

May God Bless and keep you safe.

Cirkux said...

I hope your tour is over soon and that you stay safe. Here is something to think about:

http://www.exile.ru/2006-June-02/massacres_babies_and_nukes.html

Richard said...

It's funny. I did security for EOD in the PI during Nam. All that stuff is real. Huks (Hukkabakuk Provisional Revolutionary Gopvernment) used to set the bombs, then shoot at the EOD and security crews. I remember thinking how ffing absurd it was, having to stand around a bomb with a shiny badge right over my heart. Sorta like a bulls eye. But hey, ya gotta lighten up a little, or it just wears your ass down, forever.

Funny thing, tho, my kids say I still laugh at the wrong time at movies. Other night, a show had the bad guy shot, not once but seven times. After the third round, the baddie was still flinching for his gun. The hero burns the rest of the clip into him, while I yell, "Pump him!" at the TV. I may not know shit, but I know if a proven killer is still moving towards a weapon, you ain't done shooting him. Broke all the rules of good sportsmanship, but hey, you're alive, he's not. That's the best part, right?

Oh, yeah, the rush? You can get that on any number of jobs in the real world. Big bridges or skyscrapers need men of courage and skill to get them put up. It's called Helments to Hardhats. We welcome proven men who can get the job done under stress.

Five shots? Hell, you hit it every time! You'd think they would be gratefull . . .

aprille said...

AWESOME read! Thanks. GOOD LUCK!

Passerby said...

"I don't really get the rush I used to. No more butterflies. I don't know what that means."

Well, it sure doesn't bode well for your hypothalamus and adrenals. Not sure what kind of boards you are studying for, but you might want to look at a list of chronic stress syndrome symptoms. You're threshold for epinephrine action at receptors has changed.

You also might want to consider the impact of those really bad scenes after a car bomb blast. I don't think you get inured as much as the novelty is worn off - but the ad infinitum cross linking of bad memories is sure in effect. Thats the stuff of flashbacks and nightmares, sir.

Charles said...

Thanks for your vignette on life in Iraq; it was interesting. It's sad that you have to do the door-to-door warfare. I remember that, at the beginning, everyone said that "flash and awe" would avoid the need for this type of combat.

Please take good care and come back to America in one piece, both physically and mentally.

J said...

Hope you did well on your boards! Fantastic story telling of the non-fiction variety!! Take care and God keep you, Eddie.