Saturday, February 16, 2008

One last bit of excitment? I think not...

The last patrol that I went on was one exhausting patrol. We ended up dismounting quite a bit. It wasn't so much that over the course of the day we walked a whole lot, but it wasn't a short walk or anything like that either. Pretty much it was just not stop, continious dismounting that just seemed as if thats all I did all day. I don't recall spending too much time inside the truck. Fortunatly the wheater was just about perfect for the amount of walking we ended up doing and I even had to shed the little bit of 'snivel' gear that i had one once the afternoon hit.

So for the dismounts we really didn't do much that was really noteworthy. At one point we were out walking around looking for some random donkey cart pulling a bunch of propane tanks. Now, we wernt looking for a specific one, or it wasnt because one was rigged to blow up, but because they needed to talk with someone who sold propane. OK.... not sure what for really, but we never ended up finding one. We did end up finding out that it was a holiday, and if I am correct I believe this is the same holiday that was going on when we first got here last year. The significance of this holiday to me, is that at the end of the month long holiday, the very next day one of our platoons came in contact for the first time. The day after the next platoon that went out came in contact, and finally the day after that when we finally went out we got in our first firefight as well. Now this year will probably be different seeing as how I hopefully shouldnt come to see the end of this holiday, but who knows.

There was a little bit of 'excitment' towards the end of the day. While taking a break at the outpost, we got a call that there was shooting going on in one of the neighborhoods in our sector. We all got ready, loaded up and headed out. The adrenneline was going slightly and I was anxious to get there in hopes that maybe one last time, I might finally be able to perform my real job as an Infantryman. But as expected by the time we got there, it was quiet. We dismounted and walked around and talked to some people and I did notice that the neighborhood was DEAD! This is usually a good sign that something just happened or is about to happen, so apparently we just missed out. Some people think I'm too 'huah' for wanting to get in to it this close to going home, but whatever. I always loved being in contact with the enemy and Im sorry but I miss it. Oh well.

That night we got a little more excitment when we were told that we were going to be setting up an ambush. This was a little odd considering that we've NEVER done one before. We almost did one to ambush some mortar team that mortared our outpost, but nothing came of that. Now Im not sure if this ambush was to be a shoot'em up amush or just wait for them to get somewhere and detain them, but either way it ended up getting canceled and once again we were let down.

The nice thing about this patrol and the cancellation of that night ambush is that there was nothing else for us to do and so the we ended up heading back in to base about 2 1/2 hours earlier that expected. That was a nice treat, and although the day really wasn't all that bad, it was good to be back and to be done. Time is nearing very soon in which the day will be here, when my coming back to base will be the last time and I cannot wait!

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Anonymous said...

It's gonna take time to feel normal again once you get back, but it will be great to read your home again post. Sure was good to read about Charlie getting here. Solo

Times Eye said...

Its quite interesting to find someone who enjoy fighting with the enemy ; i salute you

David M said...

The Thunder Run has linked to this post in the blog post - From the Front: 02/18/2008 - News and Personal dispatches from the front lines.

Brian H said...

Geez, guy, I don't mean to pick nits with someone who expresses important and interesting stuff so well, but ... doesn't your browser/system have a spell checker? The post(s) being littered with misspells etc. creates a kind of doofus impression.
"not stop" - non-stop
"continious" - continuous
"thats" - that's
"wheater" - weather
"wernt" - weren't
"wasnt" - wasn't
"shouldnt" - shouldn't
"excitment" - excitement
"Im" - I'm

You might remember that misspells and grammar boners just make the reader work harder trying to figure out what you meant to say.

membrain said...

Hey Eddie, I found this letter posted over at Blackfive. It was recieved by Blacfive last week and it's from a US Army Command Sargeant Major who wanted to express his thanks to family and friends and to troops like you.

"Family and Friends,

In less than 23 hours my tenure here in Iraq will come to a close. In less than a day I, and many others, shall board a transport and head to Kuwait and then ultimately back home to all of you.

To be honest it's almost surreal, all we've known for the last 15 months is this place called Iraq. We've experienced so many highs and so many lows. We've endured (regardless of locale) days on end of mortar and rocket fire. Countless days of "Big Voice" wailing "Incoming, Incoming, Incoming". Running for cover, waiting out the impacts, holding one's breath; listening for the sirens or yells of Medic. We've endured the almost constant thunder of IEDs, RPGs, Car and truck bombs, the staccato of small arms fire. If someone had asked me in June or July if there was any hope of turning this thing around I don't know what I'd have told them.

For those that traversed the roads, trails and fields of Iraq there was the constant threat of IEDs, RPGs, suicide bombers, small arms fire, land mines, Houses rigged to explode and all the indigenous people looking for a way to escape the violence, the sectarian murders, the foreign fighters, and the ever present criminal element.

Something happened in June, I (and many others) don't know what it was, cannot quite put our finger on it, but something changed. Good people in Iraq started to stand-up, good people began to join with us. The back of Al Qaida began to break. We achieved a tipping point of sorts, the Iraqi Security forces, long berated for a lack of ability began to take a pre-emptive role in security operations. Good people starting coming forward and telling coalition forces where the bad guys and their tools of war were hidden. We began to roll-up mid and high level AQI and Special Groups leadership, and the more we did, the more the good people of Iraq came forward with even more information.

There are countless thousands of Iraqi's on the streets of the country from Baghdad to points west and north. 24 hours a day, seven days a week the people of Iraq provide us the freedom of maneuver we have been looking for in our effort to hunt down and capture (or kill) those that want nothing but chaos for this country.

Along the way, the manner and method our troops employed in the operating environment evolved as well. Instead of standing for anyone particular person and or group we began standing for everyone. We planted ourselves squarely in the middle of those who would do one another harm. We became the arbitrators and the honest brokers. We (the coalition), in the eyes of the Iraqi people, became the "go to guys". In their effort to end the violence and create an environment conducive to rebuilding and pursuing a "normal life", the Iraqi people began a grass roots movement of running the evil out and governing themselves. There is a litany of things, large and small that turned the tide in our favor last summer, far too many for me to elaborate on here. Suffice to say it was all contingent on the efforts of our youth and the quality and character of our leadership.

Our men and women committed themselves to the fight every day. When they lost a comrade they mourned the same, donned their armor and weaponry and marched back out onto the streets and fields. While small when compared to previous conflicts, our losses where, in the end, debilitating. Our sacrifices took their toll on our soul(s); we will never be the same.

In our fifteen months we have lost nearly 900 Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines; we've endured over 10,000 wounded in action. So many sent home for the last time, so many others sent home less than they left. And countless others that will bear the emotional scares of this war for many years to come.

Great progress has been realized over the past year. All attributable to the sacrifice, courage, devotion, persistence and spirit of the American Soldier and Marine. Many of us questioned the resolve, determination and character of our youth. Many of us wondered if we possessed the depth of moral courage to close with evil. Heck, there was a time when I wondered if we could find it in ourselves to simply squeeze the trigger. All those doubts have been addressed, every question answered. I truly pity anyone foolish enough to confront the might of our military and the resolve of our men and women in uniform.

Everything we have accomplished has been made possible by and through the support we've received from all back home. In ways too many to count, you lifted us each day, you sustained us; you encouraged us. You gave us something to set our sights on; the prospect of once again, coming home.

There is so much to say, so many people to thank, so many to give thanks for. To each of you who receives this you have either inspired me, taught me, led me, loved me, sustained me or thankfully made me laugh when I needed it. We, yes all of you included, have achieved a great thing here in Iraq. We shall talk of it for years to come and thank God it appears there will be time enough for it. For now suffice to say, I'm coming home and I owe it all to you.

With great love, respect and admiration,


Take care Eddie.

Anonymous said...

Well Eddie,

I'm going to be a little sad when I don't get to read about your adventures, but very glad that you will be returning home soon. I really knew very little about the army or what you would come to experience. I have followed you since the begining stumbling upon your blog early on while desperately searching for any inforamtion on the soldiers I know. When communication was bad your blogs sort of got me through until it got better again. When communication ended I found comfort in your blog. Thank you so much for the journey, your insite, and most of all for your service to our country!

I usually don't read all your comments, but I do like the letter membrain posted below. I know that we will not know the full results of the surge until you guys leave, but you all have made a huge difference over there and should be very proud of your work. Hopefully the good citizens in Iraq can take the lead now and maintain everything you have accomplished.

Best luck to you and Charlie and all the 82nd.

Friend of a Fallen Hero.