Tuesday, December 18, 2007

If it ain't broke, don't fix it...

Lately there have been some changes. Some changes from the squad level all the way up to the company. And with all these changes, come new ways of doing things. Sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worse. It seems with all of this new stuff, there have been many changes, and the way things are today are much different than how they were just a couple months ago. With all the changes that have been going on, the best phrase that comes to mind and had been said by many people is "if it ain't broke, don't fix it!" Its pretty simple I think. If you come in to a system that has been working and working well, wouldn't it seem best to try and change as little as possible. Thats what you'd think but apparently that doesn't seem to be the case, and as a consequence, we suffer and things in certin ways have made a turn for the worse. I won't mention specifics but its kind of sad to see how things have changed. Several months ago when we got a new platoon leader, the guys working at the batallion headquarters told him he was taking over the best platoon in the batallion. Its just sad to know that the platoon they talked about isn't the same.

So on a lighter note, today is my 26th birthday. Exiciting I know. What a better way to spend your birthday than in a 3rd world war torn country. Awesome. Well at least I ended up having the day off simply by luck. I wasn't about to let anyone know it was my birthday (except those close to me) because my platoon has a tradition of holding down the birthday boy and pulling up their shirt and slapping the shit out of their stomach, giving you what has been referred to as a "pink belly." I don't plan on telling anyone until after New Years so I'm past the official statute of limitations for receiving a pink belly. Its the unwritten rule that if you sneak by for at least a week your officially safe. So far, 1 day down! :)

Well its been a little bit since I've posted and I've been pretty busy to be honest. We've been doing quite a bit and I probably could talk about a lot more but its late and I have to be up early so I'm just going to talk about an incident from the last patrol I went on. It was another long one, and we had our company commander out there with us so we had plenty of things to do.

The 2nd day that we were out, we ended up linking up with this guy at night that they wanted to talk to and see about maybe using him for some information. We ended up linking up with him but there were some people around so we went to move out to a more secluded location. I took my team, which was a total mix matched team. It was me, our medic, a forward observer, and squad leader from Scouts who was out with us. Anyways, we started walking along and all of a sudden these 2 kids took off running away down the alley. I thought to myself "What the hell?!" when all of a sudden 3 more came running out of a side alley I was coming up on and ran the same way the first 2 kids went. I was just coming up on the alley when this happened so I looked down the alley and thats when I saw this huge crowd of 40 people yelling and screaming!

Oh shit, whats going on now. Thats when the sound of what I figured to be a small caliber pistol rang out and some people started scattering. I immediatly stopped in place taking cover slighly behind a wall, shouldered my rifle and turned my night vision laser on to start scanning the people. Without skipping a beat the Scouts squad leader had moved up right next to me behind a car, and did the same thing. At this point people started rushing out of the homes with all sorts of stuff in their hands. Some people had boards, pipes and other things. This was getting bad when all of a sudden the Scout squad leader called out that one of them had an AK-47. This just got worse. This all happened in a matter of seconds and I yell out for everyone to stop as I begin to have my team advance on the crowd.

We were moving fast and I'm not going to lie I was a little worried about running in to a crowd full of angry people with all sorts of weapons ranging up to a pistol and a rifle. As we came running forward the crowd began to desperse and take off running. It was chaotic as we tried chasing people down and find those with weapons. We ended up losing the guys with weapons so we hearded up everyone that was left and began searching and talking to them. I'm not real sure what started this or why, but 2 of the fueding groups were there and even when we had them "contained" they were still arguing and yelling and getting physical. Thats where we had to step in and step up our level of agression to quell the situation and prevent it from getting out of hand. While we were dealing with all of that one of the guys pulling security noticed 2 guys dressed in all black come in to his alleyway and began walking away. Right before they turned off he noticed they had an AK-47 with them. When it was called up over the radio my awareness level went up 1000% anticipating things to go down or at least some pursuit after them, but for some reason still unknown to me now, we did no go after them.

We finally ended up calimg everything down and finsihing up what we were doing so we headed on back to link up with the rest of our guys and began telling the story of the craziness that just happened. It was pretty exciting and crazy to think about how close things had come to being really bad and getting really out of hand. The thing that worried me was if whoever had that AK within the crowd had started shooting at us, it would of been a hell of a time trying to shoot back at them without hitting all the people that were around. So what do you do in that situation?!? Hope I never find out.

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Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday! You are doing a fie job and the time you take to chronicle your experiences is so appreciated and honored. Thank you, ED. You are doing a great job!

DebbieKinIL said...

Had to jump out from lurking to say
"Happy Birthday" and my reach is short so no pink belly!

Anonymous said...

Since it is 2130 on the west coast I think technically I've missed your birthday--hope it was happy anyway. OK, happy is probably a stretch. How about restful?

Take care, stay safe!

David M said...

The Thunder Run has linked to this post in the - Web Reconnaissance for 12/19/2007 A short recon of what’s out there that might draw your attention, updated throughout the day...so check back often.

Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday!

membrain said...

Happy Birthday. Thanks for sharing your experiences with us ED.

Anonymous said...

Happy, happy birthday! I hope you don't get "outed" because of this blog post and end up with the pink belly you didn't want!

Infantry Dad said...

Happy Birthday Ed.
I was only going to have 2 CC and Gingers tonight. Noe I have reason to celebrate.
Stay safe soldier.
We're thing of and praying for you.

Anonymous said...

Jumping on the Happy Birthday bandwagon here!
Heck of an adrenaline rush experience within that crowd. Hang tough and stay safe.
Cathy B

Anonymous said...

ok.. you wrote this on a place that is accessible to over 5 million peopl

Anonymous said...

Happy birthday! hopefully your next bd will be in your house surrounded by friends family and those you love.
God bless

Lisa McGlaun said...

Happy Birthday!

I finally posted your video. Go to my blog to see. The post title is The Reality of War - Send Some Love to Lighten The Load. I hope what I wrote is okay.

Have a merry christmas,

Anonymous said...

Hey, i have not been able to read your blogs like i used to. dealing with alot of life's little messes! ha .. so i have alot of reading to catch up on as always. take care

Anonymous said...

I forgot to Say Happy Birthday eddie!!!!!!!!!(although im a tad late)

Brian H said...

Yeah, may you have a pinkbelly-free Christmas!

BTW, it's not "total mix matched team". The expression is "mish-mashed".
mish·mash (mshmsh, -mäsh)
A collection or mixture of unrelated things; a hodgepodge.
[Middle English misse-masche, probably reduplication of mash, soft mixture; see mash.]