From the Soldier side: I've been pretty busy working overtime, so I've not been able to do as much "bloggin" as I'd like. Now, to get back to our adventure in Baghdad.
So, the E-4 (Let's call him Chris, to make him more real) wanted to be able to stop and chat with people in a automotive garage area in Baghdad. He drew a sketch of what it looked like, then we checked on Google Earth (this was actually better than mapping software we had at the time), so I had a pretty good idea of what to plan.
I went outside the office and did the "Old School" way of planning in the dirt. To me this was better than paper. We could get the scale pretty close. We used empty milk cartons and junk for buildings. Someone had little toy trucks, so we used those for our humvees.
I had 4 humvees, one more than the teams usually took, for extra support & fire power. I like lots of fire power....the more the better. If you think your going to a gun fight, bring lots of friends with lots of guns and ammo!
Now, for those who've been reading my post for awhile, have noticed I took lots of pictures in Iraq (and Bosnia) but in Iraq I never had my camera in my hand when I needed my rifle in my hands. So, there's lots of good photos I never got to take. At the time, I figured having my weapon ready was a hell of a lot more important than a cool photo---so I'll have to describe the area we went to since I never took a picture.
I got permission to send the team + out (that means the team plus extra people.) I had the office E-4 prepare the mission roster so the commander wouldn't notice me on it...since I was still on light duty...but you know I had to go.
Once the security team leader saw that I was going, she was good with it. She was actually a regular Army MP with years of experience as an MP, so she was all about survival. I don't blame her for not wanting to stop in the place we were going....it looked like hell… even on Google Earth.
So we went. I let Chris lead the way, since he knew where we were going. We drove like we stole the trucks and took all the extra ammo we could find (I had over 900 rounds in my foot locker in my room, so I spread it around & we borrowed more, as much as we could get). Having lots of ammo gave you a warm and fuzzy feeling.
Chris drove up to the street we were going to stop on, then my truck took the lead. I had the driver go to the end, and then we did a "Harring Bone" with 4 trucks. We blocked the street with the front and rear truck so no vehicles could come in. I told the team we were staying on the ground for 20 minutes...no more. At 21 minutes, we'd be roaring away. I learned this tactic in Fallujah...we figured it took the insurgentassholes over 20 minutes to wake up, get their guns and come to where we were...so by the time they got there, we wanted to be gone.
We left a driver and gunner in each truck, I told the gunners to stay low, very low because the snipers would shoot them first. The driver was "loose" in the cab-- moving around and looking out the windows with his or her M-4 ready to shoot. This was a no bullshit mission...
As I got out of my truck, I was overcome by the smell. It smelled like gasoline, camel shit, coolant, oil, and pee. Down the middle of the street was a gutter. As the mechanics worked on cars and the fluids leaked out, they ran into this gutter. If you dropped a match in the gutter, the whole area would have burned for weeks....which would have been an improvement. ( all of Baghdad smelled like shit all the time, to this day my sense of smell has been destroyed.)
The Hajjis even had a auto parts store on the street...it wasn't like you'd see in the States, because all the parts were used. They were selling used parts that most people would have and should have thrown away. They were selling used brakes, used shocks and other parts that were really only a little better than nothing at all. And nothing at all was what a lot of these people had...so I guess this was an improvement.
As one team walked down one side of the street, the other team took the other side. The team Chris lead was doing well (remember we just did mess kit repair) but the other team leader seemed worried. After 5 minutes, the other team leader asked if it was time to go...I think he was a little afraid. I walked with his team to help them out. I couldn't let on that this scared the shit out of me to. What normal person with half a brain would get out of a perfectly good armored vehicle and walk in the middle of Baghdad in the summer of 2005? Insane!
We finished, I blew my 20 minute and we "popped smoke" and left.
As we pulled out on the highway, we drove like hell...then had to make a turn across traffic...all of the cars stopped...except one.
The lead gunner used his hand signals, blew his whistle to get the dumbass to stop, but the dumbass continued towards us...the gunner fired a signal round warning shot---hitting the dumbshit's front bumper. Now, try this at home, you're in a 12, 000 pound armored SUV going at 60 miles an hour, make a full stop, a hard left turn, then be aware of everything going on around you, then having a car coming at you at 25-30 mph, bringing up your M-4 and firing one round and hitting the bumper….now that’s good shooting. I think that gunner should have gotten a special shooting award.
The dumbshit who was driving with his head totally ups his hajji ass stopped after that, so I guess he wasn’t a suicide bomber after all, just a normal dipshit.
We made it back to camp, and a few extra cold soft drinks, wishing that they were beer and some of us knew we’d have one more stupid story to tell when we got home…we made it, and that’s all that counted. Any day you made it back without anyone getting hurt was a good day. It was a good day.