31 December 2011

Happy New Year...Call for Fire...Flares...in the open

From the Soldier side:  Here it is New Years Eve and I am all relaxed and comfortable in my home.  I was thinking about the last 30 plus years and how many New Years Eves I’ve worked as cop…some just working DUI check points, some just “routine patrol” or the supervisor.  I guess the most unusual one’s I’ve had were the 2003-04 one in Bosnia.  That was pretty un-eventful. 
However, the 2004-05 New Year’s we spent in Fallujah, Iraq with the First Marine Division was the most unusual of all.  It was after the  Second Battle of Fallujah That was the time the US military was allowing the “good” citizens of Fallujah to return to their homes…or what was left of them.  It was estimated during the “battle” that about 75% of that city was destroyed.  (I got to go back a few months after that and get out and look around.  It looked like a real friggen’ war zone.)

(read about the battle here:    Second Battle of Fallujah     

On New Years Eve 2004, there was no electricity or lights in the City of Fallujah…so, the Marines had the US Army artillery units firing flares into the sky to provide light.  There is nothing like the sound of a 155 howitzer firing round after round. 
See here - M109 howitzer   

Each round would go up into the sky, explode, the let out a giant flare…the flares had parachutes on them to slow the fall…and they provide a heck of a lot of light until they hit the ground and went out.  It was one of the best fireworks displays I’ve ever seen on New Year’s Eve. 

I think they stopped around midnight, then we all went to sleep….but it was about the most different thing I’ve ever seen in my life. 
I keep saying, as long as nobody is shooting mortars and AKs at me, it's a good day. 

Did all the body armor and crap make my ass look fat?
Happy new year. 


Coffeypot said...

2011 was a very eventful year for you, Dude! I hope 2012 is way much better for you. And stay sober tonight...if you can.

Paxford said...

Happy New Year!


Heroditus Huxley said...

Happy New Year. May 2012 be a good one.

TheNewMagoo said...

Happy New Year!

Citizen Soldier said...

Happy new year my friend..

Old NFO said...

Yep, nobody shooting at ya classifies as a GOOD day (night) at the office. Happy (and hopefully quiet) New Year!

SAM said...

Happy New Year Dude! Thank you for sharing your stories and experience with us in the year 2011. Hope you share more stories with us in the year 2012.

Best Regards,

el chupacabra said...

My 155mm flare flashback: When I was in an artillery unit another battery thought it would be cute to fire a bunch of flares to pop directly over my battery.
It was surreal- everything bright as daylight, but the thing that stood out to me was the sound of the flares themselves which I'd never thought about before. They make a sound like whoom-whoom when they swing under the parachute up high and make a sputtering sound when they get close to you.
It was all well and good until two of the rounds parachutes decided to not deploy and the rounds crashed to earth in the middle of our tracks spraying magnesium? around starting a huge grass fire.

CI-Roller Dude said...

Way back when I was in the "regular Army" I was an Eleven Charlie (Grunts with 81mm Mortars) and we fired flares a few times...nothing like the 155 MM flares. we did set some grass on fire in Germany