E Plurubus Unum, Rex Montis

Monday, May 29, 2006

One weekend a month...ha ha ha

I was just thinking today that after this deployment is over, I will have spent 6 years in the national guard, and almost 3 years of that has been on active duty...

We switched from towers to patrols. Patroling around in a Hummer is nothing new to me, did it for 7 months in the Boz. However, it is infanitly hotter here, and there is a little more of a pucker factor ( I plug my ears every time we pass an Improvised Explosive Device-IED- hole) as I counted 17 IED holes along the highway, with parts of the road blown away by previous attacks. I caught my heart in my throat several times.

But, we're hanging in there and still going strong. Every day is different, and I finish them all exausted. Only 10 months (give or take) to go.
(Pictured is Zeke and BJ)

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Can't we all just get along?

So, today in the tower; HUGE explosion off to the east, about 1900 meters. It still shook the tower. Some rag head trying to blow up one of our tanks. In the course of the next couple minutes a building cought on fire near the explosion. I was watching this through bino's. After the tanks rolled out, about 40-50 people swarmed up and into the building. I thought they were going to help put out the fire, or perhaps see if anyone needed help.....NOT! They were just bent on stripping the building. They ran in and grabbed anything they could, then ran away.
I would like to say, what the hell? Take and run? Nothing like coming together and helping each other out. I would like to say that, but I can't say it's just this country that is messed up, because I saw this same thing happen in my own country...I won't mention any states (*cough* Mississippi *caugh*) but it leads me to querry, why can't we all just get along? Well, I have an answer for you. We can't. It is agains human nature. Some would say that mankind is basically good and it is the events that surround us that make us bad. I say bullshit. Each individule has a choice. So choose it wisely.

Sunday, May 07, 2006


4pm tower guard. Another day another dollar. Bored, just the way we like it, nothing happening. My buddy Ryan and I were starting our day just like usual. Lots of sitting, and looking at "H town" a scant 1200 meters down hill of our tower.

Our attention was focused as a rattle of gunfire errupted from town. This is an almost daily occurance, but we jumped up anyway to see if we could get eyes on to report a distance and direction over the radio...
I start scanning with binos to see what I can see. Ryan takes a couple steps outside to better hear the direction of the gunfire. I shift to a different window to get a better look. Just then I notice a puff of dust in front of me, then a hissing/buzzing sound, none of these things registered until Ryan exclaimed, "Oh SHIT!!!" He made a spectacular dive through the door way. Uppon his shout I dove for the floor..."We're being shot at! One went right past my head!" Ryan shouted. I saw several more puffs and heard one more bullet whiz by overhead. All this was happening so fast! "What the hell?" I thought, gripping my rifle, "This was supposed to be a quiet day!" No time for that now. I grabbed the mic and yelled into it, "CONTACT CONTACT, THIS IS TOWER 1 WE ARE TAKING DIRECT ENEMY FIRE!!!" The next few moments were a blurr. We huddled on the floor as another large volley was unleashed from town.

"Tower 1 tower 1, where did that second burst land?" crackled the mic in my hand. "I didn't see!" I yelled back. "Why can't you see?" Came the voice, "Because we're huddled on the floor!" I yelled back.

Ryan decided to low crawl under cover of sand bags outside to see if he could get eyes on the enemy position. I kept the mic to my ear and eased up behind some bullet proof glass to see what I could see. At almost the same instant, Ryan and I saw our attackers. About 4 men running up an alley with long rifles. They ducked into a building.

I described this to command and they gave us the go ahead to return fire and engage the enemy. "Wow" I thought, "this is it." Ryan got behind the machine gun and sighted in on the building. I readied my M-16 wondering if I'd be able to hit anything that far away. However, there were just too many civilians and children in the area right then, and we exercised some restraint and eased up on the triggers. Not a shot fired from us.

I was given direct control of a tank and guided it up close to the building. The TC (tank commander) asked if I would give them permission to fire. "Negative, thats a NEGATIVE! Too many civilians!" I replied.

We continued to scan, and saw briefly some other hostiles, again with no clear shot.
Some of our command showed up at our tower to give us support and see how things were. They let us do our job, and we appreciated their help.

More scanning was done, and more reporting to higher command.
Not much else happened after that.

Ryan and I sat down and let our adrenaline run its course through our bodies, leaving us both shaking uncontrollably. We verbally replayed the events that had taken place throughout the attack and got a good sense of what had happened.

We talked to several soldiers that day, and they thought we should have shot back. They had their own opinions. Maybe they would have, maybe they wouldn't have. But it didn't matter, it was our decision to make at the time. We would have been justified in returning fire, but this was one of those days where it would have been right to fire back, but it would have been right not to. We chose not to.
It all comes down to this, I can sleep with my decision at night.

I thank God neither of us were hurt, and I also am thankfull that I didn't have to take any lives that day. Maybe I will in the future, but that is something only the future can tell. Until then, Ryan and I are safe and sound. Looking forward to more boring days, and hopefully no more close encounters.