Monday, July 30, 2007

Aren't we just full of luck?

Well basically the title of the posts deals with a lucky day for our battalion a couple days ago. Not a whole lot to write on, but the cold facts are this. 1 guy shot in the hand while on guard duty from a small caliber weapon. Another guy shot in the head on guard, but nothing serious, again by a small caliber weapon. A 3rd guy out in sector was shot in the head by a sniper. The round entered the front of his helmet, traveled along the top of his head, and burst out the back of the helmet. Other than a cut along his head (and Im sure one hell of a headache) he's OK. I don't know what made God watch down on us that day, but he sure had other plans for those 3 guys. The one that was hit in the head on guard used to be in my company and me and him are pretty cool. I haven't had a chance to talk to him yet, but I did see him walking around the other day with his head bandaged up, so he's doing good. This was his 3rd deployment, and this deployment he became a "fobbit" and doesn't have to leave the FOB. How ironic, on this deployment he gets shot.

Well, I'm sure many of you heard, but there was a big soccer match that was going on I believe in Asia. Iraq had been doing good in it, as I mentioned before, they celebrated with the gunfire. Yesterday apparently was the finals and it was Iraq vs. Saudia Arabia. My squad was on our patrol shift throughout the game and afterwards, and we decided that if Iraq won, we would go out on patrol and possibly see if we could find some of these guys that are out there shooting machine guns in the air. For the record, no Iraqi is allowed to own a machine gun.

Well, Iraq ended up winning, and as expected the whole city erupted in gunfire. As this was going on, we were getting our gear on and getting ready to head out. We were waiting for the massive barrage of gunfire to die down and then we would head out. I was excited because this was about the best chance of getting in to something that we have had in a long while. I figured with everyone out shooting, there might be a person or two that got ballsy enough to take a few shots at us. To my dismay, word came that we were told not to go out. I was pissed. Things have slowed down a lot lately, and I really haven't felt like I've accomplished much over here lately. Its hard, because I try my best to stay positive, especially considering how much time I have left, but this place manages to suck that motivation out of you. Especially when other around you are as positive.

So today I was chilling up on the guard tower. Nothing really noteworty throughout the day until just near the end of the shift. I heard an explosion. Nothing loud, just what seemed to be a normal (I know, crazy!) explosion. I wouldn't of thought twice about it, except that I hadn't heard any all day, so I started scanning to see if I could tell where it came from. I couldn't see anything from my tower, so I ventured outside and thats when a saw a plume of smoke. I radioed the other tower to ask them if that smoke was there all day and they said no. Slowly the smoke became thicker and thicker and my heart sunk. I knew what this was. Something I've become all to accustom to; a car bomb explosion. Suprise, suprise. Its seems endless the death and destruction they rain down upon each other.

Just before our shift was ending, we got word that we were to head out there and check it out and to take pictures and whatnot for our company commander. Alright, well as most of yall probably know, I wasn't too thrilled about the idea of heading down to check out another VBIED (Vechicular Borne Improvised Explosive Device) but again, I had no say in the matter. We rolled out to one of the markets in our sector, but when we arrived I was quite suprised to not see much carnage. In terms of car bombs, this one was pretty pathetic. By the time we left I believe they said only 5 people were killed and 20 wounded. I hate to use the world only, but after seeing the carnage at a site that killed 180+, 5 is really nothing anymore. But this just goes to show that our mission of "protecting the markets" is a waste of time. The only way to stop this is to go after those making them. Until that day though, I will continue to wonder if today is the day I'll drive by a VBIED.

One thing that I noticed and was talking with my grenadier about (he was gunning and I was driving) was how Iraqi civilians reacted to all this. They would walk by, sometimes they would stop, maybe exchange a few words with the others around, but then walk away, still looking at the blast site. The best way I could describe this, would be the way Americans treat car accidents. They all drive or walk by, staring at the scene, but then just continue on their way like nothing happened. Its just a part of their lives and they've, I guess, become adjusted to it.

This reminds me of one more thing. Yesterday while I was out guarding the gate, there was this little kid that ended up coming up and talking with me. I guess his mom or family had come inside for something but hey stayed outside. I dont know why but this kid didn't annoy this shit out of me, like a lot of them tend to do. He was really cool, spoke pretty darn good English for his age (he looked about 6 but was actually 10) and we had some good "conversations". It was pretty cool, but then out of nowhere he started telling me some stories. One was about how his friend was killed in a sectarian driveby, telling me how he was shot in the head and others were shot in various appendages. He also explained another time about when someone thre a gernade at them, and made the hand gestures of pulling the pin, throwing and then the explosion. I remeber thinking, how fucked up is it that this kid should even have these kind of stories and memories to be able to tell. He's so you, yet he's had to learn some of life's hardest lessons. Things I dont even know if I'm fully capable of handeling at my age. It just truely sickened me, and I wished I could of just taken him away from all of this. Instead, all I had to offer was the rest of my Cherry Kool-Aid.

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Haole Wahine said...

What a full post. Wonderful stories. You're doing okay, ED. The little guy just felt comfortable and safe enough to talk openly with you. We don't even have that back here, sometimes. I am so glad we have guys like you over there. God decides what you need to take care of. And you're taking care of all of it just fine.

Gratitude and Prayers ED.

Bag Blog said...

Although no child should have to live like that, a child's resistency is amazing. As a public school teacher, I was always shocked when my students would tell me things about their home life which often had to do with drugs and alcohol, sex, and sometimes shootings or how the police came and arrested someone in their household. The stupid drunken accidents that killed young people made me so angry, but I felt helpless. At least you are doing something.

Torii said...

The way I look at it is, in a way you are taking him away from all of this. Or atleast trying to. When I look at the reasons why we're in the war, I think of the children. Maybe because i'm a girl and that's what I do. Mushy stuff. But we're trying to better their lives right? It may take longer, and he may experience more. But there's that chance for him, while he sees you all out there fighting, that things might get better.

What better gift is there than hope?

SYLKY said...

You are a remarkable human being, dude!!!! Not only do you give us a view of this war through your eyes, but now you give us a glimpse of what it's like through the eyes of a child. Once again I am speechless. I sat in front of the computer screen and cried until I literally had no more tears left.

I am thanking God for protecting you so far, and I know that He will continue to do so. In fact, extra prayers are going up now for you all. Words cannot express our gratitude for all that you do for us out there.

Keep on keeping on!!

Luvs ya Eddie Munster!!!

Anonymous said...

I went swimming once in the river in Vietnam, lots of lost boys there playing war, with the body scars and missing limbs so I knew it wasn't based on movie entertainment. They made grenades of ammo bands with a rubber band holding them together, bent and under tension. When it was thrown and it landed the band split and the ammo bands sprung in all directions - just like a grenade. I hope they grew up to give their children better games, but the war in Vietnam went on far longer than 1975, but we had stopped playing by then.

Anonymous said...

Your acknowledgement of the boy's stories & your sharing your Kool-Aid was the right thing to do. When children have horrid things to recount, some people say shush, don't talk about that, as if it will magically go away. The boy's being able to talk to you about what he had seen is a release of sorts for him. In the same manner your telling us about the stress of absorbing his stories is a small release for you. Share the burden; we offer our respect and support.