Thursday, February 10, 2005
The Hits Keep On Coming From Iraq
Yesterday was truly a day of new things. Here I am in Iraqâ€¦and it snowed. We still have dusting left over this morning, but the Iraqi people were out taking pictures of it. In addition, the insurgents tend to stay inside on cold or rainy days. Not so yesterday. We had two missions, one of which was to escort Explosives & Ordnance Disposal (EOD) to disarm an Improvised Explosive Device (IED). Once it was disarmed and we had it loaded into one of our trucks, we received small arms fire (rifles). Seeing how our job was done, we threw EOD into their vehicles (literally) and started to move out. Our 1st Squad did a great job of laying down suppressive fire (shooting back) while we could get EOD loaded up. There were some infantry in the area that also received a Rocket Propelled Grenade (RPG) attack in that same area earlier. From the reports that I received, no one was injured.
Later that day, we had a call that a Vehicle Borne IED (car bomb) had been set off near some infantry troops but a huge artillery shell (155mm for those of you that know anything about artillery shells) that was part of the bomb didnâ€™t blow and was still there. As we were loading it up to get rid of, a donkey-pulled cart came around the corner with no driver. On the cart was a 55-gallon barrel. Not knowing what was in it, the infantry guys tried to scare off the donkey, but as it came closer to where we were working, the infantry had to shoot the donkey. We have had reports of insurgents sending explosives in such a manner so you can never be too careful.
The people of Iraq are cautious. When we come rolling down the street, they pull their vehicles off to the side of the road (you would too if an armored personnel carrier with a 50 caliber machine gun on top was behind you). Itâ€™s hard to imagine how these people live in such conditions. We had a call the other day where we had to recover a mortar round that had landed in an elementary school courtyard. The children had tied a string to the part that was sticking out of the ground and were going to pull it out when their teacher stopped them and called it in. The children are always excited to see us go by. They will come out of their homes and wave at us or give us a thumbs up. The Iraqi National Guard (about the only military the country has left) has a bit to be desired. They had a station right next to where we were taking fire yesterday and the few guys that were outside quickly made their way back inside. Oh well.
Life here is not too bad. We are starting to get into some type of routine. Of course we are on call 24 hours a day to handle UXOs or IEDs. For the most part we donâ€™t get called too much in the nighttime. The food could be a little better. It does make me look forward to home cookingâ€¦even Momâ€™s home cooking!!! So far the guys are holding up well. Weâ€™ve shifted a few guys around, as many of them have never been out of the state of Indiana before so theyâ€™re trying to find their niche.
Please continue to pray for our troops. Each one of the guys goes through each and every day trying to stay focused on the mission while still trying to deal with issues that are occurring at home while being 5000 miles away. Also please pray for the Iraqi people. They are living in such troubled times and have trouble seeing anything farther than the next few days. They truly live for the moment, as their future is so cloudy.