Don't try this at home
1 May 2004 2012 hours
I ranted earlier today. Most of what I actually wrote ended up dying with the delete button; better off that way. For all I know, the "soldier on Lancer" could be a young Joe in an Infantry Platoon that goes out on missions every day. I have contemplated over why I got so bent around the axel by the comments. I think that it is important for me not to try and influence anyone's opinion on a specific subject by saying things I do not experience first hand. If I describe things that happen and I am not present, you can trust that I gathered as many facts from first hand sources as possible. Anyways, back to my story.
It has come to my attention via CNN that everyone is very aware of the fighting in Fallujah. I bet that the American citizens back in the continental United States have access to more information on that subject
than I do. I find it very interesting that the media has provided so much coverage of that subject. As a matter of fact, it makes me ponder. If I were in the United States, sitting at home watching Headline News on the telly; would I believe that the entire country of Iraq is in violent turmoil? Maybe. Anyways, our sector is relatively quiet. There are no nightly firefights, and the number of indirect fire missions has
significantly declined over the past few weeks. There was a period at the beginning of April when Improvised Explosive Devices were found every day in our sector. Due to a large number of raids and an increase in security measures, the number of attacks on our Task Force has been reduced. We have
captured several Anti-Coalition Forces known enemies. We conducted a successful raid two nights ago that netted a key target. Our company conducted the operation in conjunction with Special Forces. Our teamwork and ability to quickly execute complex tasks was instrumental in the accomplishment of the mission.
Ever since I was a young boy, I have enjoyed big things. Maybe that is normal for men. My job comes with several perks. One of my favorites is the Hummer. Most people know that as Arnold's vehicle of choice. Few know that it has a seemingly bottomless independent wishbone suspension combined
with a high torque power train. Even fewer know how much fun it is to barrel down a dirt road at 50 miles per hour.
When I was a Specialist, I drove a Hummer for the Battalion S-3 of 1/26 Infantry. That was back in 1995 and 96. I deployed to Bosnia and enjoyed every opportunity to roll out the gate. The roads were rough, and the danger of land mines was always on our minds. Every route was different. Some roads had long tunnels that had been cut into the bases of huge mountains. They were unfinished on the inside. Huge ice stalagmites hung from the top. (Note: I do not know which goes up or down, stalactites or stalagmites) It was scary to drive through those caverns; no one knew if they were safe or not. People always said that the guys before us made it that way; it must be safe. I took that as a reason to cross my fingers.
Another route was cut into the edge of a chasm. The tires of the Hummer were inches away from the edge. In some places, the water was flowing 50 meters beneath the road. I always found it entertaining to drive down the roads with people who rarely got out in sector. There were makeshift bridges that did not look safe to walk over, much less cross with an up-armored Hummer. I am talking about rusty beams with boards laid on top. Those times I would just gun it once the truck was half way across. I drove 8,000 miles in 6 months. That may not sound like a lot; you had to be there to appreciate it. My truck, HQ-30, was awesome. If it got too steep; just throw it in low gear and mash the gas. I believe a Hummer could climb a wall if it was given ample traction. For all the bashing I did, I was not completely satisfied. I never got to ram a gate. Fast forward to our mission two nights ago. We conducted a raid on a house.
I will not describe the details of how we conducted that operation. I will tell you this. I was the commander of my Hummer when the Special Forces soldier walked up to me, pointed at a location and said, "take that
truck and put it through that gate". My driver was a little apprehensive about the physics involved with driving a 7,000-pound truck through a huge metal gate. Without hesitation, I jumped behind the wheel and started the engine. I lined up the truck for a "dynamic" entry. The gate was about a foot and a half wider on each side than my truck; it was made of solid sheets of metal. There was packed dirt before a twelve-inch curb that formed a ramp to the gate. Hindsight is 20/20. I floored the truck when I was about twenty feet away. The SF guy said at the After Action Review that he was smiling as I drove by because he was thinking, "holy shit, this guy is going to breach all the way into the house!" That did not happen. My
mind did realize that I was moving at a decent clip, as the front tires hit the curb. Fear and anxiety made my palms sweat as I imagined a parked car blocking the entrance to the gate from the inside. Crash! I hit the brakes simultaneously with the impact. The metal gate was ripped off the hinges that connected it to a rock wall. The truck slid to a stop, the gate did not. It flew a few more feet and slammed to the ground. Before the gate finished landing I heard the SF guy yelling to "keep moving". So I floored it again. This time I was heading straight for two parked cars. I saw in the mirror that my ass was through the hole. I hit the brakes; the truck tires were on the gate. It was like riding a 7,000-pound sled as I headed towards the cars. The gate finally dug into the ground and stopped us mere inches from the cars. It was awesome. Everything else also went in accordance with our plan and we caught the bad guy. It was a very
successful mission. No injuries. I learned from my experience; actual technique is used in combination with brute force during vehicle breach operations.
My point is this. My unit is out in sector conducting combat operations. We are catching Anti Coalition Forces operating in our AO. We have met very little resistance during operations. Every time we go out of the wire, we are getting better at what we do. Outlaw soldiers always place security as their highest priority. We are all going to go home. The conflict in Fallujah does not represent the level of violence in the entire country. Everyone is not fighting for their life over here; only their sanity.
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SSG Philip Jarvis
Posted by Critt Jarvis at 09:53 PM | Permalink
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Just a quick note from a MOM who enjoyed your story- StalaGmites (the one with the "G" in the middle) grow from the Ground (both have "g"s)
Stalactites hug the ceiling "tightly" to hold on.
Proud MOM of Spec Domenick Alagna
1ID C1/7 Bayji
Posted by: Cheryl ALagna | May 13, 2004 7:24:27 PM