Saturday, September 15, 2007

Ramadan begins...

Alright well today is officially the start of the 3rd day of Ramadan. For those of you that dont know about Ramadan, it is the holiest of holy months for Muslims. It is a very important time to them, and towards the end of the month is the supposed date when the angel Gabriel gave Muhammod the texts to the Koran.

Here's what I've learned about Ramadan, part due to what the military has put out and part of what I've learned on my own. First off, the Muslim calander is based off of a lunar year, which is 13 days shorter than the normal solar year we use. Due to this fact the start of these holidays is sooner and sooner from year to year. This year, the begining of Ramadan began on Sept 13th. For the whole month the Muslims will fast during the daylight hours. They will not eat, drink or smoke, and if they see anyone doing that, it is extremely offensive to them. A very touchy situation for us because we have to be careful and try not to offend them.

Now this is an extremely holy time and it actually bans fighting, unless there is an actual war going on. Well this is a problem for us coalition forces, because well there IS a war and so they have every "right" during this time to attack us. The additional problem is that during this time the gates of Hell are closed and the gates of Heaven are opened. Anything they due during this time is extra holy, especially on the day (I forget the name) that the texts of the Koran were delivered. On this day anything they do in the eyes of Allah (God) is multiplied 10,000 times. The only problem for them is that they are not totally sure of what day it is. All they know is it is during the last 10 days of Ramadan and that it fell on an odd numbered date. Most people celebrate the 27th day, but many practice on all the days just to be safe. The problem comes for us, because if they were to kill an infedel or an occupier or whatever, it is like they killed 10,000 on this day. Also the potential for suicide bombers and people wishing to achieve martyrdom is greately increased.

So with all of that, during this time we need to be extra careful. In the past there is usually a spike in attacks against coalition forces during this time as would be expected. So for the next month we will be extra alert and on edge, prepared for anything that they may throw our way. I'm not worried, but that won't change my mentality. Be prepared for the worse. So far it has been completely uneventful. I haven't even heard any celebratory fire at all. But theres still 28 days to go. I'll keep yall posted.

So nothing really exciting going on around here. Just the same old boring stuff. Although the other night I was doing some shooting at the range at our outpost to make sure that my laser for my rifle was still sighted in properly. After confirming that it was, me an another team leader were bored and decided we wanted to fire an AK-47. We had a mag full of ammo, and so I went to the Iraqi Army (IA) guys and asked to borrow one of their AKs. We took that down to the range and had some fun, at 3:30am!!! :)

I had never fired an AK and had no clue what to expect. In fact I've never fired a gun outside of the military. Now the AK-47 fires a 7.62mm round, which is substantially bigger than the 5.56mm round that our rifles fire. Our rounds have more velocity and are more accurate, but they lack the stopping power of larger rounds. Where as an AK and its 7.62mm round definately has the stopping power needed in combat. So add the fact that its a bigger round and the technology in the rifle is not as advanced, especially when it comes to controlling the recoil and kick. All this together had me a little nervous what it would be like.

I ended up putting it on single shot fire first to get a feel for it. After the first round I realized that it wasn't that bad and fired off a couple more before putting it on to full auto. I squeezed off a few small bursts and it was AWESOME! There nothing like shooting a gun in fully automatic fire! After going through 1/2 the magazine I traded off to the other team leader and he finished it off. We ended up getting it all on video so that was cool and now I can officially say that I have fired an AK-47. Shoot I even fired it on full-auto! The experiences here at war are truely unique to anything I have and will ever experience.

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Anonymous said...

I've always wanted try some of the different sniper rifles including the old Sharps. Always been fond of the older guns. Did have a 54 cal. black powder rifle at one time. You ought to try black powder when you get back. Really packs a whallop !!

Haole Wahine said...

Laylat al-Qadr, I think is the name of when the first verses were delivered by the angel Gabriel.

So, if they keep giving you enough different guns, you're staying around for the whole show?

David M said...

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Torii said...

I have to say i'm slightly glad to hear it's been uneventful. haha. As much as you'd like to see the action.