15 April 2012

A post from my past: History through my eyes

It began simply enough with just a pencil and a paper.  I began to write.  Nothing had prepared me for what I was about to see.  It was the 21st of March and it was 6:00 in the morning.  I had just finished my shift in the Prophet.  I had already been awake for the past four hours.  I was ready to bed down for a few hours when I heard over the radio that we were to prepare to move within 30 minutes.  So I broke down my bunk and pack up my truck and got ready to go.  The order to move finally came down at 0800 that morning.

We drove from our site to the TOC (Tactical Operations Center) upon our arrival we donned our M9 paper and prepared our trucks for the coming event.   1030 we finally receive word from division to cross the berm.  1100 we started moving, nothing fancy really, just a gigantic convoy consisting of hundreds of vehicles moving towards the border between Kuwait and Iraq.  It wasn’t until 1200 that we actually crossed the berm, with the Kuwaiti border guard looking-on and giving one last “Thank You” before finally driving into the desolate wasteland that is Iraq.
Now some people would think that driving into Iraq was the easy part and they’d be half right.  The problem was driving on the dirt and sand though Iraq. We moved slowly at first through Iraq stopping every few minutes to check our bearings and make sure we were headed to the right Attack Position.  The first objective for us was Attack Position Lizard.

Around 1600 we stopped (us being the entire convoy).  Several tires had blown on some of the HMMWV (Humvee’s).  We finally took off back on our way North at 1800.  The sun was beginning to set, and a heard of camels could be seen moving North on the horizon to the West.  We kept moving all through the night.  All the while I kept driving our truck.  A nice El Camino type Humvee which we had been appropriated at the last minute prior to moving out to the Tactical Assembly Areas.  We would stop for 15 minutes ever hour to get some rest while we drove through the night.  It wasn’t until 0300 the next morning we finally stopped to get a few hours rest.  The next day was more of the same, driving, driving, and more driving.  While we kept moving closer to Baghdad we (the Prophet team) had to maintain 24 hour operations I had so far managed to avoid sitting rack, mostly because I was driving or resting, but I knew it wouldn’t be long until I had to sit there and listen to nothing but the sound of static.

On the day of the 23rd we hit the Hard ball (black top or cement as most civilians would call it) The convoy finally started picking up speed 40mph sometimes even going as fast as 50 on some stretches.  It wasn't until this point that we had contact with any of the Iraqi people.  Our first contact with the locals was just outside of a small town called Al Samowah.  We had approached the town from the south and no one really noticed the two Kaiwa’s flying around shooting rockets at the town until we were half way into the town.  The convoy made a U-turn, and we decided to travel around the town and avoid the problem altogether.  As we were headed around Al Samowah we ran into a large group of locals who were cheering us as we drove by.  They were begging us for food, water, and cigarettes.  The children were running next to the vehicles trying to steal anything that wasn't strapped down.  This activity continued on for several miles down the road.  We finally stopped again about an hour and a half later to check the status of fuel.

It wasn’t until then that I realized the grumbling pains in my stomach.  I felt the sudden urge to evacuate my bowels.  Nothing serious had been happening and I thought now would be as good a time as any; however, I was very wrong.  The instant I decided the go off and “take care of business” the convoy began to move again...  A half hour later the convoy stopped, so I took my chance.  I grabbed an MRE box and ran out into the desert, bringing my baby-wipes, and my e-tool.  I knew everyone was watching me, so I guess I suffered some performance anxiety.  My NCOIC yelled out to me that the convoy was moving again, and that the next stop would be more than enough time to download Class 2 material.  Well our next stop wasn't for another four hours, so I held it in and kept driving, nearly shitting myself about 5 times.  Finally about 1800 we stopped for what would be 3 hours.  Unfortunately a vehicle had broken down and my PSG and PL were trying to recover the vehicle.  Apparently the tire had blown and sparks were flying out of the engine compartment, nothing too serious though.  Later that night we continued moving north on the dust trails of Iraq.  It wasn't until 9 or ten that we finally stopped.  We set up a perimeter and shut down for the night, well not all of us, the prophets were required to continue running operations while everyone else went down for the night.  The next few days were nothing more than a haze of speeding up route 1 towards Karballah.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing. You should write a book about your experiences, as I was reading this I got an image flickering through my head of a book whose pages were turned as the story went on - and I was all "What happened then..?".

    Like the new look :).