23 December 2010

USMC Carpet Ride, another e-mail from Iraq from 05'

From the Soldier side: Here’s another e-mail I sent from Iraq in 2005. I deleted a few things for Op Sec. One amazing thing I recall now was how much everybody, Soldiers and Marines always did everything they could to help my team. They were all hard working, dedicated people.

Spring 2005:
In Iraq I loose track of what day of the week it is all the time…I didn’t even know it was Sunday today. I ordered a watch online that not only has the date, but the day of the week…Now I really understand what was happening in the movie “Ground Hog Day” when you get up and do the same thing everyday, it’s easy to not know the day of the week. Actually, I guess what day of the week really doesn’t matter does it?
I have gotten so use to the sound of AK's being fired, that I don't even react anymore.  I sleep right through it.  But somehow, when I hear one of our fifty cals returning fire, I wake up.

My team and I just got back to Baghdad at about 2 AM today. It was one of the most “special” trips I have had so far in Iraq. Air travel here is always an adventure….and I’m not talking about the flying part. I’m talking about getting a flight

My team’s job in Al Asad was over, so it was time to go back home to Baghdad.

My unit, as always, put in a request for my team to fly back to Baghdad. But as often happens, we did not actually end up on a flight manifest.

No problem as the CI Roller Dude knows how to get his team around the country despite failures in the system.

So, I went over and talked to the Marines at the flight line on Al Asad and asked if we could get on something flying to Baghdad….you know a CH 46, 53, C-130 B-17, whatever… The Marine looked and said; “Why yes, we have a lovely C-130 flying there later today, I’ll put you guys on the list.”

So, we sat around the wooden waiting building eating delicious MREs for lunch and dinner…watching the same episode of South Park I’ve seen about four times already…but I’ve never seen the entire episode. The Marine Private watching the DVD went to shut if off and said: “sorry sir, I’ll shut that off.”

I responded with: “I’m not a sir, I work for a living, and leave it on, that’s funny shit.”

(I never wear my rank or name tape when on missions, so everybody thinks I'm a sir, it must be that I look like a cop even in an Army uniform.)

Later in the evening, the nice Marines said our C-130 was coming in and we loaded up our stuff to move to the flight line….and waited and waited and waited.

Hummm. Where did that C-130 go? Nobody knew.
CI Roller, with the C-130 we never got on

So, we went back and waited some more. CI Roller Dude knew that the flight would never come, so I started pulling more strings and had not one, but two flights set up for my team. (We were going home to Baghdad one way or another.)

So, the Marines said a flock of CH46s was inbound and they had room… Great a ride home. (see attached photos of what a C-130 and CH46 look like.)
CH46, like 2 washing machines fighting with gravity!

Now, you may recall that my team has flown on CH-46s before..they are the two rotor POS that was made during the Viet Nam war. They landed and we got on with some Third Country National (TCN) civilians and found an empty seat….(nylon cloth flats that your butt just fits into.)

The engine gets louder and the thing starts to take off. One of the TCNs wets his pants and gets the guys sitting on both sides on him.

The Chopper went about 100 yards, then landed back on the flight line…The crew shut off the engines and told us to get out. Something was wrong. The crew chief climbed up and checked the rear engine….I guess he couldn’t find anything wrong, so we loaded back on…the TCN who’d pissed his seat tried to change seats and have somebody else sit in his urine….I pointed and said: “You wet the seat, you get to sit in it.” He didn’t like me.

Now, in Iraq the Marines fly at night with no lights on. So, we’re moving along at maybe 100 MPH with the windows open so the machine gunners can look out and we’re freezing. And don’t forget, we’re only flying a few hundred feet off the deck (ground.)

At about 0130 hours (1:30 AM) we touchdown at Baghdad International Airport. I get out my satellite phone (which works all over the world) and call my company to pick up my team. Now, my company has some of the best and most dedicated people in the world. They were waiting up for us to come in. I love these guys. They are there in no time so we all get home and are tucked into our little beds by 0200 hours (2 am).

I was tired from this last double mission. We were out a month and we were ready to come home. On Sunday I got one of the mail clerks to open up the mail room…she said: “Oh, you’re CI Rollder Dude, yeah we can open up for you.”

Nice people.

After sleeping in, I checked with my room mate who works missions in Baghdad. He was showing me the plaster that go knocked off the wall the day we were sitting in Al Asad trying to get home. I asked what happened:
A Vehicle Born Improvised Explosive Device – VBIED, was driven up to one of our camp gates yesterday. This gate is at least half a mile away from our room. The bomb blew up and killed 2 US soldiers and wounded others.
I finished my laundry, cleaned my weapons and packed my bags. I told the company commander I’m ready to go out again…That’s why I came here to stop these “As-----s” from killing our people. We got a few on this last mission…but their like almonds…arrest all you want, they’ll make more.

Finding Terrorist so you don't have to meet them.


suz said...

Great post! Thanks.

Anonymous said...

1. Great stuff.
2. Keep them coming.
3. Have a great Christmas and prosperous New Year.
V/R JWest

~J said...

"it was time to go back HOME to Baghdad".
It's hard to comprehend Baghdad being safer than where you were, or a place you called home.

A safe and merry Christmas, Roller Dude.
Love the stories.