Time between movies
23 Apr 2004, 2335 hours
Middlebrook and I just watched episode 1 of this seasons Sopranos. I was great to actually finish a movie without being interrupted for a mission. Guess the trick is to watch films that are only and hour long. Biehl and I got 56 minutes into that new film with George Clooney and Catherine Zita-Jones Douglas, Intolerable Cruelty when we had to roll out the wire yesterday. Once we returned we had just enough time to finish it before we rolled out for the raid last night.
My Bradley was responsible for overwatching to the North from the East side of the cordon. A wall lined the left side if the road I was overwatching and I had a row of houses on my right. It was a tight spot that I got put in.
During the Company map rehearsal with the Commander, I had to brief the Commander on my movement and responsibilities as given by his operations order. I showed him my infiltration route and drew my opset on the sand table. The wall to my left and high roofs to my right limited my sector. As if the wall was not enough, I had Arty guys with .50 cals mounted on CAT's 100 meters in front of me on the inside of the wall. Their sector was to watch to the East, positioned to the front of my Bradley.
So we rolled with that plan. It was critical that I used my thermals to view the North side. I pulled into the city and positioned my Bradley as far left against the wall as I could get so that it would give me a clearer view of the rooftops to my right. There was a streetlight giving my position away. It also lit up the entire holding area to my left and the face of the assault building. So I instructed a dismount to shoot it out. That was one hell of a bang. Those huge ass incandescent lights hold a lot of pressure. It scared the hell out of the shooter.
The rooftops were actually in the CAT's sector; they could clearly see them better than me with their NVG's. The raid went smooth; Cobra shot three Iraqis who tried to run, wounding them. The mission was a success -- 3 bad guys were pulled off the streets.
After 2 hours of clearing, the exfil began. I was directly between a power pole and the wall. I told my driver to pull forward 50 meters turn around and drive back through the space we were parked in. As we passed through I saw some of the trash on my left start to rustle toward the power pole. I yelled for Hinkebein to stop, but it was too late. The ground wire for the power line was under my track shoes. It came out of the big black box on the pole with a brilliant explosion, 25 meters in the air, directly over my hatch. My eyes widened and I was paralyzed with excitement. It was an awesome display of power as the electricity seared through the darkness.
My mind was deliberating whether or not the Bradley hull would conduct electricity and if it was going to hurt much. I ordered Hinkebein to "back the fuck up" off the wire. Sparks flew overhead and the wire hit the ground where my track was standing. Another box at the end of the next block to my East exploded.
Darkness fell upon us as the power to several city blocks just went out. Pitch black surrounded us; only the glow of the chem lites in the cleared buildings windows gave a sense of direction. My NVG's were in my pocket and I could not make out the silhouette of the vehicles to my front. There was at least 5 Hummers and two Bradley's lined up and waiting on me to finish my turn. Then my radio crackled and Black 8 reported that he had contact to his East, two explosions. I tried to report to Black 6 that I hit the wire,
but the radio was filled with everyone else trying to get a sitrep on his contact report. I kept keying the switch on my helmet, but I was stepped on by everyone else. A smile cracked on my face as my frustration mounted.
Black 7 told 8 that it was just lightning hitting the ground. Did I mention that it rained all night and we were in the middle of a wild lighting storm? Then a Hummer in front of me opened up its .50 cal machine gun. It fired about 10 rounds to the East, the direction of the second explosion. They had to suppress the area in case it was enemy contact. The gunner ID'd the target and fired at the transformer. The flash from the barrel lit the area. I could see all of the vehicles clearly. I successfully keyed the net and reported what happened to 6. The .50 cal did not fire again. I positioned my vehicle in the convoy and we rolled back to FOB Sommeral.
My conscience hopes that no one was hurt and that the Iraqis have the materials to fix their power line. (Note: No Iraqis were injured by the suppression) That was fun, does that make me a bad person? This conflict of interest within myself is confusing. I feel the adrenaline when we are on mission. The excitement and anticipation fuels me, my senses are heightened when I roll out. On one hand, I do not want to be here and lose any more soldiers. I miss home very much and am remorseful for putting my family in this situation. I cannot escape this hell. The other hand accepts the fact that I volunteered to be a soldier and enjoys the hunt. But the gamble is inescapable. The danger is real. This has been the deadliest month since the "end of major combat". The Marines in Fallujah are in a contact every day. Intell reports that the losses the enemy is sustaining could push the Anti Coalition Forces our direction. I pity them; my ass is going home next year.
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Posted by Critt Jarvis at 06:24 PM | Permalink
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I hadn't been to the blog in a few days and was happy to see SSG Jarvis still reaching back to us.
His words sting & raise even more questions in my mind of what a soldier must endure, If he tells us these thoughts and actions...what are the things he must keep inside?
I think of SSG. Out there in the dark.
I think about the Father who was overcome in grief for his fallen son, saying blankly "I kept praying for God to bring him home, I should have been praying Bring him home alive."
So I will continue to pray for my son, and you and others...Dear God bring them home alive.
Posted by: Sgt Mikes Mom | Apr 30, 2004 3:47:50 PM