Tuesday, July 24, 2007

What the hell is going on around here?

Well I haven't made a post in a few days, at least not much about what I've been doing lately. So I'll talk a little bit about the last 2 big patrols we went on. They both ended up being long and tiring patrols. Not to mention its starting to get really fucking hot here. I think the temperature the past few days have been around 115+ and its been partially cloudy and extremely dusty. Its not as bad as I thought it would be a couple months ago, but it definatly sucks, no lie about that.

So the other day we ended up starting our patrol time off by participating in a company mission. Usually company missions are accompanied by Iraqi Army and Iraqi Police, which this one was. The Army works with us and usually does the meat and potatoes of the mission and the IP's work with the MP's doing the cordon and whatnot. The nice thing is that our job is not to actually do these mission. We are there to help, advise and make it go quicker, but not actually do it ourselves. I've noticed that in the last 5 months or so that we've been working with these guys that they have been getting better and more effeciet. We're normally not out there as long as we used to be and we are having to do less and less as they take on more of the responsibility and become better at doing these things.

This mission was to clear out a local cemetary for some stuff that the IA had intel on. The weird thing is that the cemetarys here are not like the US. Back home, for the most part, we bury our dead below ground. Not here. They build these concrete or brick coffins above ground and its just full of these tomb type of things. Really weird. Anyways the IA went around doing their thing and we pretty much didn't have to help them at all. We just went behind them and kind of spot checked their work. One thing that was kind of creepy was that every now and then one of these tombs would look like someone was getting in and out of it, so we would have to open it up and see if there was anything in there. God, I was totally worried about seeing some 1/2 decayed corpse but fortunately off all the ones I opened, I never saw one. Spent most of the time trying to weave my way around the cemetary and trying my best to leave it exactly the way I found it. At least here its easy to not walk on peoples graves.

The rest of the patrol time was pretty uneventful, with the exception of the stay round story I already put up here. Sucks for us. Good I'm sure in the eyes of those back home. Its hard to stay motivated and not get complacent when your constantly going out and nothing is happening. Its so funny though how the news paints this picture like this place is the Wild Wild West. If you actually came out here, you'd be totally shocked how little actually happens. Wish I had experienced the war earlier on and had something to compare to, but from what I hear it seems to be a lot better than it used to be. That wouldn't suprise me.

So after that patrol we were back at base, and during our down time me and my buddy went to the chowhall this one evening. On the way we heard a shit ton of gun fire going on out in the city. I remeber thinking, damn thats a big firefight. I like the sounds of that stuff and I wanted to stay outside and listen to it, but we went about our lives and went to eat. When we came out it was over. A little later that night I heard a mortar come in. Nothing crazy. Then another, then another... and so on. After the 5th one, it had my attention because we usually dont hear that many, so I went downstairs where a few others were gathered by the door listening and watching things outside. Then out of nowhere, they started dropping them on us like no other. It was no stop explosions for a good minute. It sounded crazy as hell. Thankfully no one was hurt. In the end, durring the 3 minutes they fired on us, I think they said 16 rounds came in on us. Wow, haven't had that many fire here in a long time. Especially not in such a short time. The next day we came to find out that all the gunfire was celebratory gunfire because Iraq had one some kind of soccer game. WOW! Could you imagine that in the United States?!? Kind of ironic, a guy from another company was at another base and he was hit, nothing serious, by a stay round that came down from the sky. Not a suprise though considering the volume of fire. But made me think of the other day when I had my close call. That would of sucked. How random?

During the next patrol, we stopped by our base for something and on the way back out we were heading along this road. There was another convoy a little ways in front of us. Then out of nowhere we heard a LOUD explosion. At first we were like what the fuck was that?!? Then we spotted the dirt cloud. It was an IED that had gone off about 100 meteres in front of our convoy and a little ways behind the other convoy. We were going to turn before there, but still, that was close for being that big of an IED. The only IEDs we've been hit with were small ones, that our truck well protected us from. That one was big, and I cant say for sure if it was an EFP or not, but either way I wouldn't of wanted that to go off on my truck. Needless to say, we were extremely nervous and cautious when it came to IEDs that day.

That night we had some supposed mission we were to go on and help assist. We never ended up going, but we didn't end up getting to sleep normally. The only sleep I got was in the truck, with all my gear on for a couple hours. Nothing restful. The next day our Brigade commander and CSM flew to our base to participate in an award ceremony for guys that got awards for the day of the day-long firefight a few months ago. A few ARCOM (Army Commadation Medal) with V (Valor) devices were given out and a couple purple hearts. There were 2 guys that were put in for Silver Stars (3rd highest award for Valor) but those are going to take a while to get approved. The rest of the day was playing taxi service to a host of people that were going around and checking out our different company sectors and combat outposts. By the end of the day I was thoroughly exhausted and once we returned I was up for a little bit, but ended up crashing hard. Was so nice to get some sleep finally.

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Anonymous said...

I really appreciate the words that you post here. No BS, just the God's honest truth. I was originally drawn to your blog by a tragedy. I am a friend of SGT Lane Tollett and his family. It's great to read what Lane had to go through over there. I thanked him many times for what he was doing. I would also like to thank you and your unit. Please pass message on to the other brave men of the 82nd!

Haole Wahine said...

Another great job. Thanks for all you do.

Anonymous said...

Once again another awsome blog! glad you got some rest finally, your doing a great job eddie! just keep up the good work, your a strong human being it makes me wonder if i could ever be that strong-willed.

as always be safe kiddo!
( i know im younger than u and calling you kiddo but hey everyone's a kid at heart) :D

Dianne said...

My boy has told me about some of the close calls those stray bullets cause. Just want you to know how much I appreciate your service. We keep all the troops close in our hearts and prayers, take care of yourself! This Texas mom want's all of you to come home safely.

Anonymous said...

Great post.