Friday, February 27, 2004

Possable Co-Ordinated Attacks?

Last night in the evening when I was at my post. Me & my buddy all of a sudden started hearing automatic small arms fire. Shortly after, followed by explosions that sounded much like RPGs. We quickly called into the radio the distance and direction it was coming from and that was that. No further news came over the radio on what was going on. We were sure it was a patrol that got ambushed though. About 20 minutes later, the same exact thing happened again in a different location to a different patrol. We even saw a brief mushroom cloud from the explosions. We also called it in. Still, no word on what had just happened. Usually when stuff like this goes on, we get almost immediate feedback saying some unit had made contact with the enemy. About 10 minutes later, which seemed almost instantly after the fire fight. 10 minutes later, as I am staring at my fellow soldier having a conversation with him. He stared just behind me and was like "oh look a tracer, this area is hot today." Then not more than 3 seconds later, we heard and felt a large explosion. My friend had spotted the rocket from an RPG fly at a high arc. It was being used in an indirect mode, kind of like a mortar. The round had landed close outside the perimeter on the other side of the compound. Apparently it hit close to one of the gates being run by Iraqi guards. It seems like these could have been co-ordinated attacks. Usually we only get attacked once a day when it happens.

Fallujah is a major hotbed of resistance. I've talked to and have many friends who have gone to Fallujah several times and they said it made them really nervous. Alot of the time, they would have to drive civilian vehicles in civilian cloths and still it was very nerve racking. They told me the numerous times when patrols would get ambushed and it would mostly end up with the Americans overcoming the Iraqi attackers. One story goes that one time a few up armor hummwvs got ambushed. One of the attackers had a soviet made .50 Cal machine gun and was firing in a blaze of glory. Not one of the soldiers got injured and they killed all 11 of the attackers. These are common stories, but sometimes soldiers would get hurt. Several times they have had car bombs trying to get inside American military compounds and always got attacked.

Wednesday, February 25, 2004

Digital Camera Pictures

I've been giving it much thought, and I will start to share self pics that have been taken of me over here. I will not be posting them on this website however. The way they must be obtained is by requesting by e-mail to me.

Tuesday, February 24, 2004

Baathist Bomb Maker Killed

Good news here. Though I don't really know anything about it. Hopefully this guy was important like the Engineer for the Palestinians and made alot of the bombs. So, this would hopefully bring down the deaths from bombs or car bombs.

Our relief should be here soon. The Iraqi Security Forces have pretty much taken over security of the compound. So, that frees up alot more of the guys to go out and do patrols and set up Observing posts looking for anything suspicious. It has been for the past 3 days since we have had a dust storm come through. I have finally got over my cold, lucky I was able to keep it from spreading. It is very bad when you're combat ineffective when you got a bunch of guys who are sick. Things seem to be getting alittle quiet lately. I've started to see Iraqis now going on mounted patrols with soldiers for the first time yesterday. I am sure this happens alot, but it is the first time I have noticed it. Not much else has been going on.

Saturday, February 21, 2004

Accident Discharge

Yesterday we had a very bad accident at one of the guard posts. A guy had an accident discharge with his weapon. The bullet went into the foot of his buddy. Every now and then you can hear AK-47s go off at night because the locals shoot at dogs. So, when this happened last night, we heard a shot and then what sounded like a dog yipping. So, I said to my friend "oh looks like they're shooting dogs again." Then over the radio a guy who sounded panicked and said he had an AD and one of the guys was hit. Immediately which they had some medics assist the poor guy. He turned out to be ok, but it was a mess. There was a hole in the ground where the bullets hit and blood splattered on the ground. The wound was said to be the size of a acorn. Now, he will be relaxing in a tent the whole time till we leave to make sure it won't get infected. The feel sorry for the guy that accedently shot him, he must feel really bad about himself now. He is a really good guy, and we all know it wasn't on purpose.

Turns out the wire was just a false alarm and not an IED.

Today we had a 6 mile road march. Carrying 40 pound rucksacks. I completed it in 1 HR 14 minutes. One group of guys finished it in 1 hour, which was really hauling ass. After the road march i was drenched in sweat and it seemed to have helped my cold alot. I don't really have any pain in my throat anymore, just coughing up fleam and sneezing. We did the road march to build our bodies up for the EIB (Expert Infantry Badge). That will be a 12 mile road march that has to be done in 3 hours. We all did excellent for not humping (marching) for a whole year. Our Platoon Sergeant was very very pleased with us today.

Friday, February 20, 2004

Sick in Iraq

I have now caught a virus or something. I just got it the other day. Now I have a headache that has been lasting for days and a sore throat. I've been drinking alot of water and staying away from soda to hopefully make it pass by quickly. It is the first time I've been sick in over a year. Which is actually the longest stretch I've had without getting sick. I was hoping I could make it through this deployment without getting a cold.

There is a possible IED spotted. So, the area is quarantined till they can get a good look at it in the day time. Hopefully it is just a false alarm.

Wednesday, February 18, 2004

Counter-Attack in Iraq

Yesterday we got attacked by some kind of missile system. Shortly after, you could hear several more explosions. Immediately, over the radio they said to ignore the second volly of explosions because it was a counter-barraige against the attackers. The counter-attack took place within 1 minute of the attack. Later on, QRF was organized and immediately dispatched toward the area. What they found was a few dead Iraqis and a home made missile tube for launching missiles. They think others were wounded and got away in a truck or some kind of vehicle. While I was on leave, apparently this happened before where they used a counter-attack fire mission and messed up some insurgents pretty bad. It feels good when you can react to stuff like this, becuase you don't feel helpless.

I have also come to the realization that in fact, an apology was not nessesary in my previous post about the IP station attack. In no way did I insult those who died. My whole point was that it is frusterating when things like this happens because it can easily be used for propaganda and recuiting by the terrorist groups. I am sorry for what happened to the IP that day, but also I remind people that they turned down an offer for assistance by the 82nd Airborne. It is inspiring to think of the IP and other security forces stepping up to the plate. On the other hand, this small victory will also inspire more attacks like these in the future. It is a rediculous to point blame at the US Army for the lack of firepower the IP had. In Iraq, all IP have AK-47s. That is a sufficiant weapon for self defense. I hope people don't think we should start arming them with .50 caliber machine guns and AT-4 light anti-tank weapons.

I am no longer going to tolerate people who are sitting back home in their easy chairs and drinking beers trying to explain to me how the situation is in Iraq. I will no longer tolerate them telling me how to do my job. I will no longer tolerate them trolling. You can try and hide behind the freedom of speech all you like. However, being on the internet and getting on here and discussing the topics I post is a PRIVILAGE, it is NOT A RIGHT. If you don't like what I post, you don't need to even be reading what I write.

Tuesday, February 17, 2004

More on the Police Station Attack

I've obviously been catching alot of flak for my previous post about the attack in Fallujah. I know I came off as maybe alittle unfair to the IP who were defending the compound. It is just really frustrating to see the guys you train become overwhelmed. Though, I am humbled by the bravery of the IP to decline the 82nd Airborne request to help them. It was a day of great human courage and tragedy. I've read in a few articles online that the attack had even crippled the city because of fear and shock over the incident. I wrote the blog when I was really frustrated and didn't really pay attention how it would be precieved by people. For that, I am sorry and apologize.

Monday, February 16, 2004


The weather changes unbelievably fast. It now is starting to rapidly get warm. It was averages of about 60 just 2 weeks ago, now it's upper 70's. However, yesterday we had a sand storm that quickly went through. The sky and everything turned reddish orange and viability was not good. After it cleared up, it was windy and cold the rest of the time. Now, today it is about 70 again. The good thing is, we won't have to put so much cold weather clothing on as we have had to in the past. The bad news, it is going to get pretty hot soon. Thank God we wont be hear for a whole lot longer.

It has become clear that the guys in Washington are not good at spending money properly. I see all these ICDC and other Iraqis and US military driving around in $50,000 dollar SUVs and $70,000 cars. This really really irritates me. This is probably the reason why it is so hard to get new parts for broken equipment. I thought that was what this whole bill they just passed was all about. So that soldiers could get better equipment and parts to fix broken equipment. It takes weeks for the Army to finally provide us with new equipment. Radios are breaking, guns are going down. How are we to be an effective fighting unit with machine guns that aren't working so they are provided with a M4 Carbine. In this job, we look at our weapons as though they are our protectors. Your weapon is your life and someday you may have to rely on that weapon to save your life or your buddies life. I think it is laughable that the Republicans claim to want a small and more efficient government, and yet they screw things up more than the democrats have done in awhile. This is really irresponsible spending. I don't think US or Iraqi military need $60,000 vehicles to get around in the country.

Saturday, February 14, 2004


There was a raid on an Iraqi police station that resulted in the deaths of 20 people. The insurgence was successful in freeing nearly 100 people. This is very very discouraging and makes me have even less respect for Iraqi police. They have a really hard job, and it seems at times impossible. Maybe I expect too much of them. This just makes me outraged that this was successfully carried out, especially since I know if a similar raid was done on a building protected by Americans, the insurgence would have been no doubtedly repelled. Now, this is going to rally more supporters for them and make them look even stronger. I am so upset about this I can hardly think clearly right now. It is a huge embarrassment to say the least. It looks really bad on us because we helped train IPs. This will not be the first time these raids are carried out. One thing this does prove though, that all the anti-occupation people throughout the world can't say that we aren't getting the bad guys. Seeing as how the insurgence went and was willing to sacrifice 50 guys for a bunch of prisoners.

Friday, February 13, 2004

Woman and Pogues in the Army

I'm sure 90% of you see the title and are thinking "huh?" Well, Infantrymen like myself call support unit soldiers Pogues or Pogues. We always like to joke about "pogues" and how they can't shoot or have never been in the field and never really suffered from the cold, wet, and all the other stuff that goes along with it. Where this comes into Iraq is there are not enough Infantrymen in the Army to do all the patrols, raids and all that. So, alot of units like Field Artillery and many others have been cannibalized and turned into trigger pullers. Having been on several raids before, we had 1st Armored Division Field Artillery pull security around the house while we assaulted. At first, I thought to myself "oh great, pogues, and worst, they're 1st AD." So, I thought they would be all ate up and not know what's going on. I was surprised though, they actually did what they were supposed to do. However, my other friends weren't as impressed as I was. My girlfriend is a Medic, and from what I understand, sometimes they are having to send female medics on patrols because of a medic shortage. This is what really worries me and upsets me. Which must seem weird, because when I did raids or patrols I was focused and didn't think about getting hurt or killed. After a few times going out, you learn to put it aside in your brain and not think about it. And despite this, I still worry that my Girlfriend might get hurt. Even though, all our raids were flawless and without a hitch, with the except of 3 separate occasions we shot and killed the people running away after giving them warning shots. So, Woman are not supposed to be on the front or doing all this stuff, but because there is not enough Infantryman to do it. They have had cannibalize alot of units to do this and help compensate for the short numbers.

Wednesday, February 11, 2004

One Man's Terrorist is Another Man's Freedom Fighter?

It has been pretty quiet here. Despite all the reports of the car bombings. I don't see how blowing up the own civilians you pretend to be fighting for is courageous or proving that you are fighting for the Iraqi people. It is times like this when I think we need to lay down the hammer and really start to crush these guys. I have alot of respect for the 3rd Infantry Division. They spearheaded the whole war and did an AWESOME job. When the 4th Infantry Division first took over Fallujah, they were running around with their heads cut off and getting killed left and right. 4th ID had arrived late in the war and only arrived in time to help secure Baghdad, the war was pretty much over. So, they had little combat experience. However, the 3rd ID soldiers would fight very very well. Their raids on houses were flawless. Even the Special Forces were impressed with 3rd ID. So, 3rd ID moved into Fallujah and took over until they eventually left. For a whole 2 months they were there, my friends who were in Fallujah said there was not a single American casualty he was aware of. The 3rd ID also did a lot kicking ass and taking names while there too. Now it seems 4th ID has started to get the hang of it, but I still wish we had big Army units like 3rd ID here. They were very well trained and very well led.

I just found some extremely depressing news. By the time I leave, my Girlfriend will indeed be coming to Iraq. This upsets me GREATLY. As if seeing her for a year wasn't hard enough, I have to do it for two now. I wish those idiots in Washington could get all this sorted out.

Monday, February 09, 2004

Packing My Bags

Soon, my unit should be leaving Iraq. That will be 13 months since my unit has been in Iraq. It is really good to know that we finally have a date for going home. 90% of the soldiers will tell you that they can handle staying in Iraq for an extended period, but all they really want is a date when they'll be going home. It is alot of torture just waiting month after month after month not knowing when you will be going home. So, finally after all the empty promises, we are going home.

Last night there was an intense mortar attack. Over 10 mortars fired consecutively. That is alot of mortars being fired at once. Usually it is one or 2 and then it's over. Over the radio, they reported 2 people got wounded, but were not critically hurt.

Saturday, February 07, 2004

In Regards to Mortars

A friend wrote a good e-mail to me asking alot about mortars. I'm guessing other people would like for me to go into further detail about this too. So, I decided to post it on the blog.

The distances vary on where they shoot them from. For the most part, they are close enough for you to hear that really distinct sound of the mortar launching the round. I don't know if they are firing from the same spots. The times they attack for the most part seem to be within a certian time frame. We can't really set up ambushes, because they don't just fire from the same area. Plus, we would need good intel before that happens. It would just be a waste of time. As far as I know, there is equipment that can detect incoming mortars. However, there is only one occasion I can remember when they fired a counter-barrage. In some areas, I believe (though I am not sure) they fire a counter-barrage all the time. That occasion they fired at a different area anyway, so they might have been the ones that did it. I asked though, and they said they were in fact were doing counter-barrage missions. How effect these are, I don't know, but it seems to boost moral alittle. I was happy when they first did it. I guess it gives a feeling that they are doing something about it, and not just letting it happen. People do get caught for firing mortars, but I don't know if they have caught people they know for sure if they fired them. Their motivation to doing it is beyond me, I am just a Grunt, not a interrogater. We also do have locals who help and give information on attackers. One of the local Iraqis recently discovered a cache of shoulder-fire SAMs in the fields. They also help with finding IEDs and anything else.

Friday, February 06, 2004

Care Packages

Today while I was on guard at about 9pm, we had a mortar attack. The round landed about 200-300 yards away from one of the tower. That was pretty close, considering how terrible the enemy is at using mortars or anything else. Other than that, nothing really happened.

Care packages being sent and all to give treats and such to Iraqis kids sounds like a good idea. With the exception that I would have to give people my address. I would be fine with this if not for being paranoid that I could get into trouble for what I have been writing in this blog. That is why I have been vague on many things I write about. However, I will give it serious thought.

Thursday, February 05, 2004

Iraqi Kids

We are in a tower right on the perimeter wall. There, During the day we get many local Iraqi kids in the surrounding area who come over and pester us all day from the other side of the wall. They always ask for bread, candy, or Sherbert. They call Gator aide, Sherbert for some reason. We always bring MREs up with us and throw some of the stuff to the kids. We even got them to start sharing with one another. My friend threw out some Apricots yesterday and told them to share. So, one of the Iraqi kids who picked up the bag, started handing them out to all his friends. Also, they ALWAYS ask for batteries for their little CD players that the teenagers and older guys have. However, batteries are kind of hard to come by over here. We had some guy named Omar come over and offer to sell us a whole Chicken and some Wine or Whiskey. However, we had neither the money to buy the Chicken with us or even allowed to have any Alcohol. My friend had baught the Chicken from the guy before though, and said it was really good. So, maybe I will do that once I get some money. Though, I don't know how he will be able to toss a whole chicken over this 10 foot wall. My friend said he had no problem in getting over the wall. This is the first time I've had interaction with the local populace in awhile. Also, yesterday 2 Iraqi guys in their 20's were just outside the wall and reading a naughty magazine. They showed it to us and said "very good, mister!" and asked if we had any we could sell them. One of the guys even made a gesture of humping the magazine. Me and my friend in the tower just laughed, because alot of people back home see these people as religiously fanatical and most seem alot like ordinary people you would meet home. We just told him our friends coming to take over for us might have some more naughty magazines.

Late last night while on Guard about 3000 feet away we could see alot of tracers and herd a TON of automatic fire. We immediately reported it over the radio. Alittle while later, they reported that a patrol from the 82nd Airborne had made contact with small arms fire. No reports of casualties or anything. Apparently, they went to go check out a house. The people who were staying there had left before the 82nd even arrived. So, as the 82nd was leaving after checking the place out, they returned and started shooting. The 82nd returned fire as the group were fleeing the scene. Nothing else happened that night. We got attacked again the night before, making it 5 days in a row, and again, no one got hurt. However, yesterday there were no attacks. I just probably jinxed myself by saying that.

Tuesday, February 03, 2004

The Welcome Wagon

Finally, returning I received a nice welcome back. Which was a mortar attack early in the morning. I woke up for that one. Most other guys slept through it. The day I got back, they have been getting attacked for 3 days straight. Which is really interesting. So, now it's been 4 days straight. Once, a 120mm mortar hit by a bunch of mobile home like houses where soldiers were going to sleep. One piece of shrapnel penetrated 5 of these buildings. Luckily, no one had moved into them. I always thought it was a big mistake where they were building them anyway. I guess some of these contractors or officers aren't paid to think a whole lot.

The transition from going home to back here was alot harder than I thought it would be. Being pretty used to and comfortable with the environment in Iraq, though it was at times hostile was something I was just used to. However, coming back was really hard for me. I'm starting to get the hang of it again. Though, it hasn't been real easy. It shouldn't take too long for me to get back into the swing of things.

Monday, February 02, 2004

Back in Iraq

Well, I just thought I'd quickly get on and write, that I am back in country. It turns out my Girlfriend probably will not be going to Iraq. So, that makes me feel alot better. So, hopefully I should start posting much more often. Thanks for being so patient.