Wednesday, February 28, 2007

A day of excitement!

Well today started off like any other day. Just a day of patrols, both dismounted and mounted elements. Today I was to be a TC (Truck Commander) which was my 2nd time ever doing it. Basically as a TC im the one in charge of the Humvee and directs the driver and gunner and whatnot. On top of that, I was to be the lead vechicle in the convoy so I was basically the one responsible with getting around and getting us to where we needed to go. This is no easy task in Baghdad. Many roads are closed or you need to go to the other side to get places. Its complicated and to make it worse Im usually in the last vechicle and sit in back so all I have is a small side window to see where im going. Even with that I've managed to learn the streets pretty good.

Well anyways, it was different but I was able to get around just fine, but the best part is the lead vechicle has this siren on it. Theres like 6 siren settings plus a lever that has a manual siren and this horn thing. Even better than that is that it has a microphone that you can say shit out of it too! Needless to say I had a blast! The siren definatly gets people to stop, but the best was having fun with the microphone. I decided to immitate the built in siren noises myself and it took everything to contain myself and not bust up laughing while I did it. We were all laughing our asses off. Pure fun I tell ya.

The day was pretty uneventful. Just a lot of walking around. But at the end when we were getting ready to leave there was a loud explosion and a shit ton of gun fire. We found out it was at this IP (Iraqi Police) station in our sector so we headed over to check it out. Well when we got there (about 30 mins after) there were a shit ton of IPs around and we stopped to see what happened.

Apparently it was a VBIED that had charged the gate and went off. The truck was still where it exploded, burt out along with an IP truck at the gate. Apparently some IP Luitenant risked his life by driving one of their trucks in the way to block him from coming in. If It wern't for the fact that it was a pathetic car bomb and didn't do much damage, he probably would have died. We ventured inside and were taking pictures of the truck and everything when some IPs motioned for me to come around the corner. I went around and as I did this mass of 30 IPs opened up and i saw this mangled body. He was laying there motionless and covered in blood, burns and bruises. My first thought was... Oh shit theres a dead dude. I went up close to check him out and then as I got close he attempted to breath. His body ended up jerking colvusion thing as his one functioning lunch attempted to get the air so necessary to continue his pathetic existance. That caught me off guard and I immediatly asked if they needed some medical help. They then proceed to explain to me this was the guy that drove the VBIED into their police station. At that point my panic to help went away and I said to them... "FUCK HIM THEN!" As we were there, IPs would come up take a picture of him, and then spit in his dying face. Wow! We ended up leaving and going back to our truck. After being back in the truck for a couple minutes a firefight broke out just up the street with some IPs. I thought we were going to go up and help out but it didnt last very long. God damnit!

Just before we left I guess the suicide bomber died and they threw his corpse onto some truck to get rid of it. It was weird. In the past I've seen dead people in the streets of New Orleans after Katrina, but I've never seen someone that was literally barely holding on to life, minutes from dying like that. Oddly it didnt really bother me. Am I crazy? Who knows. I felt no sympathy for the guy. Thats what he wanted and he got it. Thankfully no one else was hurt. No one else was killed.

After that we headed on back in with a story to tell the guys that didnt go out and that was that.

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We finally accomplished something

Yeah so I've been bitching and complaining about this shitty intel that we've been getting, but yesterday we finally got some good intel from a reliable source and it ended up working out. We ended up going somewhere, and looking for someone and we got him. This guy was suspected of financing terrorism and we found $4-5,000 in American, Iraqi and Iranian money. Plus he had all sorts of stuff for making passports and had quite a few passports for different nations. So we got his ass and a few of his friends and I can finally say we've actually done something and have something to show for it. YEAH! :)

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Thursday, February 22, 2007

Iraq is shitty.... literally

Yeah I fucking hate how the streets around here are just running with sewage down the middle of the streets. Its god damn disgusting. Tonight we were doing a foot patrol through some streets and alleys. I saw a shit puddle so I went to go to the other side of the street that appeared to be solid ground. It was night out and I had my night vision goggles on so its hard to be 100% sure about anything. Anyways I stepped over the puddle stream thing and sunk right in to what was just built up solid shit, yes shit. poop. crap. feces. fecal matter. whatever you want to call it. it went about 1/2 way up my boot and as I took a few more steps to figure out how to get out some guys we ran into in the alley took off running so I had to start running after them. Just spashing around in this nasty chunky shity water. I hit some parts that went up over my boots so my feet got completly soaked in shit water/shit, and so did the bottom of my pants. And to make it all worthwhile... we never caught those fuckers that took off.

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Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Iraqi intel sucks ass!

We so far going on Iraqi "intel" has had us raid an empty industrial complex, what seemed to be a retirement home and again today, some old folks bath house! What the fuck. Im sick of this shitty intel that is so ridiculously horrible. I know of 2 places from experiences on the street that IMO need to be raided but we havent for some reason, yet we continue with this pointless "intel" raids. Ok enough ranting for now.

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The day of one legged crippled guys...

Ok so we went out on these series of missions that lasted almost 2 days. It started out one evening when we moved from the FOB I stay at now to another "base" thing that was right down the road from where we had this mission. We started off with about 8 hours to sleep not counting the guard shifts we had to pull during the night. We ended up sleeping in some shitty building, with almost my whole platoon crammed in this tiny room sleeping on a concrete floor. It was quite uncomfortable.

The next morning we wake up and before 0800 we roll out. We were tasked out with setting up a cordon and overwatch position for another platoon that was doing dismounted patrols through this neighboorhood across the street. In order to be safe in the building we needed to be in, we had to clear the one next to it. It was some abondonded building with no easy way to the second floor. So me, my squad leader, the other team leader in my squad and one of our grenadiers ditched our gear except for the bare essentials and had to climb up this part of the wall to squeez through this tiny hole in the floor above. The 4 of us got in there and proceeded to clear each floor of this 10 story building. Needless to say i was pretty exhausted after that and got dizzy going around and around back down the stairs.

Once that was cleared I moved to one end of the blocking position where we set up signs to stop traffic and strung some concertina wire across the roads. We had orders to stop all foot and vechicular traffic. Despite the signs and the wire, people obviously felt they could convince us that they had a good enough of a reason to get through. I volunteered to deal with these people and turn them away. Kind of funny how they ALL talk to me in arabic like i have any clue what they are saying; I only know 10 words at most. Anyways, this is where my first exprience with a one legged guy was. He wanted to come through, but I couldnt allow him. As bad as I felt I had to make him hobble way around this alley way to get to where he was going. Towards the end we began to let in foot traffic at first. Well this was the sign for all the kids to come up to us and start annoying the shit out of us. Even if you dont look at them they continue to yell "mista! Mista! MISTA MISTA!" Jesus I hear you, damn. They want everything from you by the way. Chocolate, money, soccer balls, sunglasses, watches, you name it. Well getting later in the day/early evening they all started freaking out about this one bulding where I guess a sniper from Sadr's Army likes to shoot at them from time to time. At first I thought they were saying he was in there, but no. They were just getting scared. Felt bad for them because we couldnt go do anything about it or check it out. Well just before we started letting vechicular traffic come in, some guy came up on a scooter. I stopped him a way back and told him to either go around or get off the scooter and walk. He was saying he needed to deliver some stuff and i told him to walk it then. Well apparently he only had one leg and when I looked back at him he was trying to carry his bags and use his crutches at the same time. Shit my bad. I let him get on the scooter and made an exception. Once we were all done, we walked back to the "base" we were at before, sometime in the late evening.

Well apparently someone during the day had gotten some intel that there was a safehouse for a few militia guys. So that evening around 10pm we headed out to go raid it. We were told to go hard and just bust in and ask questions later. On the walk there, we had to go into this really shitty neighboorhood, literally. It had sewage running down the middle of the street. Well its night, and we're walking with our night vision goggles, which makes it kind of hard to see where your stepping. I see this huge puddle and make my way around it. Well about 2 mins later I hear the sound like someone just jumed in a pool. I knew exactly what had happened. Someone had fallen in that shit water! HAHAH! That SUCKS! Well once to our location We decided to use a flash bang gernade before entering. Once we breached the door my squad leader throws the flash bang in. I dont quite turn around in time and when it goes off it kind of disorientates me for a few seconds. Good thing my team was second in there. We cleared the building and there was no one there or any weapons.

So we decided to seach some surrounding buildings. The next one again my squad was to be first, but my team was to be first in. I like to lead my team so I was the first guy. Not to mention this was my first raid and a night one at that, so i was quite nervous. Anyways as we are cutting the locks a guy inside hears us and comes to check out the noise. We tell him to unlock it and when he does my squad leader and another pull him out and detain him. I rush in, but i have some extra equipment on me and i get snagged in the narrow doorway. I turn my tac-light on my weapon on and point it up these stairs as I see this girl go running up the stairs. I finally get though and run up the stairs to the next level and there are 2 older guys there. We secured them and that floor and the other squads cleared the rest and found 2 younger guys on the roof. No sight of the girl though. Again we find nothing but the occupants told us there was this hotel right down the alley with a lot of suscpious people.

Again we go to breach it, but have some trouble so we finally just bust the door down and my team is again first. We run upstairs and begin to work our way into the floor when we get our first 2 detainees. We were stuck and couldnt go further until we got people to come relieve us and take the detainees. Once more people got up there to relieve us, my team with the rest of our squad ended up going down this hallway. Once in the hallway, we noticed it was long and had about 30 tiny rooms running down both ends. We started kicking in the door, taking the occupant/s into custody, checking for anything and moving on quickly. There was pretty much at least 1 person per room. But there was a trend. They were all older/old men. Hmmm... well getting near the end, I again go to kick in a door and clear that room. I lean back and put my weight (about 250+ lbs with all my gear) into the door. It only flies open half way and I hear a loud sound and an "Ughhhfff!" and the thud of someone hitting the floor. I push the door open and see this guy laying on the floor. I yell at him to get up for a minute until my squad leader comes in a says "SHIT! He only has one leg!" I looked at him for a second, and Im like, damn... umm.. fuck! At that point I go over and help the old one legged man up and escort him to someone else to take control of. We ended up clearing it all and once again finding nothing. A raid on what seemed to be a retirement home. What the fuck!

So we walked back and on the walk back I hear the sound of some other poor sucker falling into that same shit water pond. Damn, sucks to be you. Once we get back, I find out the first guy to fall in was Alpha team leader from 3rd squad and the second time it was the other Bravo team leader. Another squads team leader had as all going when he blurted out, "So wheres the 2 shitties team leaders?" I could not stop laughing. I felt bad for them though. I figure thats the 3rd worse thing that can happen to you here in Iraq, next to being shot and blown up!

We got back around 0230 in the morning and to bed by 0300. Again we had guard shits and we had to be up at 0800 to go back out and do the same cordon. Well this time it didnt last as long and we were done at around 300pm. Once we got back to the place we were staying, we loaded up and convoyed back to our FOB and we were finally done. What a exhausting 48 hours. The next day we were supposed to have off but we ended up having to go to some VBIED site and check some stuff out. Wonderful!

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Friday, February 16, 2007

What Iraq Needs

This is coming from a long conversation I had the other night with one of the interperators we have here. He goes by the name of 'Falcon' and he's being working with us since the begining of the war. We talked a lot about how it was before the US came, hows its changed (good and bad) and some political stuff. One of his answers really suprised me.

I asked him what he thought it would take to bring peace to Iraq and to make a stable country. This isnt word for word what he said but pretty damn close from what i can remeber.


FALCON: What Iraq needs is not a political leader, but a military leader. They need someone to rule the people. To make peace in Iraq you must scare the Iraqi people and then they will follow you. What they should do is go to one neighborhood and kill 500 people, then go to another and kill 500 and then to another and another. When they are done, leave the bodies in the streets so the dogs can eat them. The next day people will walk along the walls, heads down and not say a word. Iraqi's like to talk alot. They have big mouths. But the next day you need to go back to the same nieghborhood and give them money for compensation, and build them homes and schools and make things better. This is what the Iraqi people need.

ME: So what your saying is they need someone more like Saddam

FALCON: No we dont need somelike Saddam, but we need someone to rule the people. A military leader. Not the people they have now. They took the country from an evil man and gave it to corrupt men now. They need someone to scare Iraqi's and to rule for 5 years, not 1 or 2 or even 3. 5 years.

ME: So basically someone to rule like Saddam, but that gives to the Iraqi people too right?

FALCON: Yes. Saddam made this country poor. Its people we're poor. We need some who will help this country

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Monday, February 12, 2007

My first combat mission...

Well, to be totally honest, it wasn't quite a "combat" mission as most of us would of hoped for. You can feel the tension rising in the company as we leave the wire more and more and nothing happens. Before I switched to this unit, they went to Iraq on another deployment (late 2005) but it was guarding a prision. Durring that deployment they didnt do combat missions, and no one truely experienced "combat" here in Iraq. So myself along with many others, have gone a long time in the Army and not had our "chance" if you will.

So anyways, we actually had our first mission that came down for us to do. Other than going on convoys, or the few times a few of us got to go out on patrol with another unit, we havent had any real missions come down, so we were quite excited. This mission was to search a suspected VBIED (Vehicular Borne Improvised Explosive Device) manufacturing area. The VBIEDs are these huge car bombs they keep setting off in markets and killing dozens if not hundreads of people at a time. It wasnt huge area, but it was pretty big for the amount of people we had to go through it. An all day mission.

We ended up staying the night at a closer base, but that meant, nowhere to sleep. We had to sleep on the ground and I pretty much froze my ass off. Yes it gets cold at night here. The next morning everything started coming together. We had our unit, Strykers, a few other units and some IA (Iraqi Army). We all got ready and headed out. Along the way somehow we got stuck in a huge traffic jam and pretty much stood still for about 45 mins until somehow we made a clearing for our convoy. I didnt like that just sitting there in the truck. So once we got there, the end of the convoy, where I was, was about a block up the road so we dismounted and started hauling ass down to where I was supposed to link up with my squad. I can only imagine what the Iraqi's thought when they saw 50+ guys dismount and start hauling balls down the road. hahah! :) Well we finally got to our corner and my first mission was to put up this stupid poster. I dont know what it said, nor do I care. I imagine it was something pro-american/iraqi government or something about helping us get the bad guys. Either way I told everyone that when they got to the corner, look for the jackass getting shot at while putting up a poster, and that would be me! No one shot at me for the record.

From there my squad ran a block down the street to this Iraqi police station to do some stuff there. After we we're done, we ran back up the block and around to our squads sector. We had to clear the "homes" on the outer wall of this industrial complex so we went in, searched everyone and everything. Then we went into our actual sector. Once in there, we had some help from a guy that lived in that industrial area with unlocking some of the buildings. If he didnt have a key tho, we either kicked in or cut locks or pryed doors open. One way or another, we got into every bulding and room and cleared and searched it all. I actually got a good video of me slaming into this door until it opened, but its way to big to upload on this shitty internet.

The whole time we we're out there, you'd hear a few shots fired here and there, but nothing major. Well at one point me and my team we're behind this vehicle pulling security for the other team as we moved down this road when again i heard a couple of shots from an AK-47. Thought nothing of it until I heard it again. Then i heard the distinct sound of a 3 round burst from a M249 SAW (Squad Automatic Weapon; one of our weapons that is a fully auto rifle shooting the same rounds my rifle shoots) That caught my attention. There was a little lull and I thought it was over until all of a sudden a few more shots from the AK went off and all hell broke lose for about 30 seconds. Even a few explosions were heard. I could hear the pop of rounds as they flew over my head and I got a little lower behind the truck until i realized how stupid I was being. The rounds werent anywhere near mean. I've worked a range back on bragg where you had to put up targets behind the bunker people were shooting at and then mark where they hit. Those rounds went right over your head and that made a distinct snaping and whizzing sound. This was not that so they definatly werent close. Anyways, I remeber thinking that it was another platoon from my company getting into it and I was pissed they we're getting to see some action and I was doing nothing except sucking in this industrial complex. Well it ended up being the guys that cordoned off our area (not from our unit) that had the quick engagement. Good, didnt have to hear the stories from everyone when I got back!

Well all in all, we found nothing. Spent all day going through EVERYTHING and found nothing. But I guess thats how most missions are they say. 90% of the time you find nothing and nothing happens. Its that 10% that we live for. We also we're told to be looking out for these 3 vehicles they believed were rigged to blo, ready to go and just needed drivers, but we found nothing. Strangely enough the next day (today) three VBIEDs went off in a market place just down the street from here killing like 80 people. (see this link:,2933,251401,00.html for the story). Guess we just missed them or we were in the wrong spot. Who knows.

On the ride back I got to ride back in a Stryker. I've always loved them, and still do, but dont ever want to be in one. They are so crowded and it was incredible uncomfortable. Even more so than the Humvee, which is impossible to imagine. Went on QRF (quick reaction force) today, but nothing happened during our watch so we didnt end up going out.

So yeah thats about it for now. Starting to get pretty busy so I should have some more of these blogs for yall in the near future.

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