26 July 2008

Getting shot at.... Part II

From the Soldier side: OK, how long should I drag this out? OK, next week I'll be kind of busy...I have to actually go to a police training class...don't ask me what it's about...
So, let's get back to July 2005, in Iraq. I can look back on so much crap that happened back then and laugh about it.....
By the time we got to Al Asad, as I was saying, the Marines decided to send us to Al Qaim. (go back to the 4th of July story). Al Qaim was an old train depot...so there were lots of trains cars and parts all over. I've always had a thing about trains, so I had fun looking at all the crap. I was trying to figure if I could build my own train engine and drive it back to Baghdad, then to Kuwait...but all the stuff was too broken to use and I wasn't sure if the tracks were ok.
So we sat around Al Qaim for about a week until a convoy was ready to go to Camp Gannon. This was my first cross desert convoy...dusty as heck...what a ride...in a Marine Am Trak. I felt pretty safe in that beast, but soon tired of eating dust. (I had been an M113 commander many years before...sort of the same kind of vehicle.)
So, we got to Camp Gannon... just before we got there, the Marines had been attacked an average of twice a day. (Google Camp Gannon) I group of terrorist had even loaded a fire truck with explosives and tried to drive it into the camp.
This was a hot place.
Breakfast was before the sun came up--- T-Rations, warm milk, no toast, no fresh fruit, nothing cold. Lunch- MREs, Dinner- T-Rations. I lost 10 pounds in 2 weeks... better than any other diet program. No running water, no AC, but plenty of ammo and Internet! To take a shower, we got 3 1.5 liter bottles to fill up a camp shower bag...we only had enough water to do this twice a week..so we smelled like hell all the time.

We were so close to Syria, that I threw rocks over the fence into Syria just so I could tell people: "I was so close to Syria, I could throw a rock and hit it." No shit. (look at the left picture, that's Syria)
During the day it was just too hot to do a damn thing... over 110F. At night it cooled down to 99F.... I had a hard time sleeping, so I moved to the Medic Bunker--they had AC there. (I kept saying I'm getting too old for this shit, but nobody listened.)
Night Missions: The Marines usually did their best work at night. Since my team was all "kids" they wanted me to go with them.... so the first night job we rolled out on a "water mission."
We dropped off cases of bottled water, then went to "chat" with some folks. One of the "chats" required us to go up to a house with a locked gate out front. They sent "Private Snuffy" over the wall to unlock the gate for us.
We got into the yard and as everyone was walking up to the house, I saw a couple of guys sleeping in the shadows....I almost shot them, but saw they were not armed. Woke em' up and moved them out of the way. Private Snuffy got yelled at for not seeing them.
A few days later, some friggen Marine Major wanted to walk into town and "chat" with someone. We went with him. No problems going out...talked to the people we needed to talk to. So we started to walk back to the camp....
Now, forget what you see on TV and the movies. Full Metal Jacketed rifle bullets travel at over 2,000 feet per second. Unless they hit something, you do not hear a whizz, a buzz, or anything else. If you are still alive, like I am, I heard an AK 47 firing a long burst. I've heard it a hundred times...remember the Iraqis fire these things at weddings, funerals, and for any other reason. I had heard them fire so many times...I didn't even think that the guy was shooting at us.

When we got back into the camp, the Marine sniper dude who was our over watch said: "Sorry, that dude shot at you, but I couldn't fire on him because there were woman and kids around him."
I was pissed...not at the Marines, but at the assholeIraqi who had shot at us. I wanted to go look for him. He missed, but he was trying to kill me. That really pissed me off...but I'm still alive.
This was the first and hopefully last time I was shot at... and I'm still pissed off that I couldn't go after the little terrorist who did it.


Anonymous said...

Glad that little terrorist jerk was a bad shot, Dude.


Anonymous said...

Sometimes you just have to appreciate bad shots.
This past week-end I was at a family gathering with my dad, brothers, sister, all of our kids and grand kids. Thirty of us in all. If the German who shot my father in Belgium during WWII had just been a little better shot. Well none of us would have been born.
The kids got to hold grandpa's Purple Heart and get an understanding of just what was at stake when a soldier puts his life on the line.
Thanks to all of you who do just that.
Chuck from Tacoma