31 May 2010

My Flag

From the Soldier side: On the flight line in Mosoul Iraq, Jan 2005.


My team and I were waiting for our “taxi ride” back to Baghdad, Iraq. (Do I really need to put “Iraq” after the city of Baghdad?) Our taxi for this trip was 2 Army Blackhawk helicopters. We were leaving that place after a mission was over…and we were very happy to get the heck out of there.

As I always did when we were flying somewhere, I’d go to flight ops and tell them who we were and they’d look on a list and see if our travel agent had done his or her job and made the proper reservation…. “yep, you’re on the list. Your flight should be landing in about 20 minutes, so stay close, we’ll yell when the birds are inbound.” The flight ops sergeant told me.
I left flight ops and walked over to where my team and our terp were waiting. Going back to Baghdad would mean we’d get a day or two off, and have mail waiting for us…so my guys were eager to go.

After waiting 15 minutes… we saw 2 Black Hawks inbound. My assistant team leader pointed to them and we started to pick up our packs and bags. (I always kept some of my sensitive gear with me, just in case…so I’d never loose it.) As the birds were getting closer, I had to remind my guys to wait for them to land as they were really eager to get on and go.
These 2 birds looked different as they got closer. They were Medivac Choppers. The ones the Army Medics (Docs) flew on. They were not landing on the normal side of the flight line, but landed next to the base hospital. As they touched down…. I saw 4 soldiers rush over with 2 gurneys.

One of my guys started to bitch about how he thought those were our rides….then…

They off loaded 2 body bags and laid them on the gurneys.

I don’t know who those kids were, but that was their last ride on an Army Helicopter. I felt really sad at that moment. I still don’t know who those guys were, but today, Memorial Day, is about them. Most of you reading this will not actually know anybody ever killed in a war. Good. Please keep it that way.

What’s up with this flag?
CI Roller's Flag,  and old DCUs

In November 2003, we were at Camp Cody, Bosnia. They Army decided to close our happy little camp of about 40 troops. We got relocated to Camp McGovern. As we were driving out of the camp…on our last day there…I looked over and saw the American flag was still up. I walked over, took her down and kept her.

She went to Camp McGovern, then Eagle Base, Bosnia.

When I deployed to Iraq in 2004, she went everywhere I went. I always found room in my pack for that flag. I still have her.  The protesers can go and burn a flag if they want...but if they touch this one, I am pretty sure it's the last flag they'd ever burn. 

"It's not about the War, it's about the Warrior."
--Carry on!

10 comments:

chupacabra said...

Hooah

Coffeypot said...

It's not the same thing, Dude, as I was never in a combat zone, but I have a commission pennant from my ship. Every US Navy ship has a long slim 'Commission Pennant' flying from her mast. When the ship is taken out of commission there is a ceremony where the pennant is lowered.

But since it’s high in the mast it will be covered with soot and smoke from the stacks. So the pennant is replaced after every trip to sea. I picked up on black stinky pennant as the Signalman was swapping one out. He said I could have it. I kept it for years in my Navy box of pictures and stuff.

Recently I took it out, washed it back to it's red, white and blue status and framed it in a shadow box with the dates of her existence and the term, 'Lest We Forget' on a plack. I display it at our Navy reunions because as long as the pennant files, she will be a full fledge US Navy ship. It is in honor of the 74 lost on 3 June, 69.

I know how you feel about your flag.

powdergirl said...

Dude,
Nice post, I hope you had a pleasant long weekend, and as always, I hope for no more flag draped coffins.

CI-Roller Dude said...

Chu, Yep.

CP, I wouldn't have washed it.

PG, I had to work today, but they pay me a lot to work holidays, so I'll never complain.
Yes to no more flag draped coffins

Texas Ghostrider said...

i will be honored to stand beside you to protect that flag of yours. Many soldiers have gave the price for that flag of yours and I will remember the fallen. I salute you and your flag......

Red said...

Thank you for this post, Dude. As always you express wonderful sentiment in a matter-of-fact way that is most appealing. Unfortunately I have lost friends in Iraq and since that time Memorial Day, Veterans Day, pretty any day has new significance... I love that you kept the flag from Camp Cody :)

CI-Roller Dude said...

TG, We must go for a ride sometime.
Red, Matter of fact? Just reporting stuff as I remember...got to write faster 'cause I'm forgetting more than I remember these days.

Momma Fargo said...

Very wonderful tribute to Memorial Day! Thanks for sharing such a touching story.

Anonymous said...

1. Great story.
2. Wish I'd done something cool like that.
3. The only personal items I recall carrying in the field were bug repellent and cigarettes.
4. Nothing there to inspire or amuse my kids.
5. Of course, if I had picked up something neat or inspiring, it probably would have been confiscated.
6. Good tie-in to the Memorial Day Holiday.
V/R JWest

CI-Roller Dude said...

Mr West,
Keep in mind I was 49 years old when I was in Iraq! The oldest person in our battalion...older than the SGM. So, I had years of reading books and watching war movies to help me come up with good shit.
I did grab some other "things" in Bosnia and Iraq that I did bring home that were not illegal to bring home, but did raise some questions until I produced paperwork from Col Corn saying it was OK for me to have the items.
I still want to know who them guys were though. somebodys sons.