Thursday, October 28, 2004

Terrorists Strike Again

More Iraqi soldiers have been taken hostage and killed. Except this time a different terrorist group claimed responsibility. This is pretty sad, because we've helped to train some of these guys. It is really frustrating to know that someone has to be doing an inside job on this. I think it is time for the Iraqi Army to probably be able to move around even off duty with fire arms. The killing of the nearly 50 Iraqi soldiers really made me sick. There is so much hate in these people, that they would even desecrate the bodies of the fallen. These guys are not soldiers, they are not warriors, they are terrorists and animals. Soldiers do not behave in such a disgusting manner. I went into my buddies room while he was looking at the article online and I commented "I would love to be the guy who busts a cap in his ass" referring to Zarqawi.

The other day we got to do some MORE training for urban warfare. This time with modified M4 assault rifles that fire "sim rounds." Which are basically paint balls that look like bullets. We got to do that all day and night, it was alot of fun. We recommended that we need to do it some more. Hopefully it will happen soon. Alot of our guns are now dead-lined. We had civilian armorer's come in and inspect all of our machine guns and assault rifles. Approximatly 80% of the were put on deadline. Meaning they cannot be fired until they are fixed. They said alot of the barrels were no good and needed new ones. Our own armorer's are talented enough to keep the guns up and running, but the better trained civilian weapon experts saw alot of flaws that our guys could not see. So, at least all of our guns will be in top condition when we go back to Iraq.

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Going back to the 'Raq

Yesterday we received the news we already knew that was coming. Our Battalion commander that is training our two companies while the rest is away, has told us that we have received official orders to go back to Iraq. The time we are to re-deploy to Iraq is coming up pretty soon. For OPSEC reasons obviously, I can't say when, where, or what we are going to do when we get there. The bad thing is, it's my birthday today, and my family don't even know about it yet. They don't even know how I'm now stopped loss and wont be able leave the Army the actual date my enlist ends, which is in March. I don't know if telling my family on my birthday that I have going back to Iraq soon is such a good idea.

My current feeling about going back is that I don't even think about it. I just set it aside and do other stuff. I learned from last time about how you shouldn't get all into rumors and getting all anxious and wanting to go. So, now I have to tell other cherries, FNGs, or new guys, whatever you want to call them. That they need to not worry about anything, we'll take care of them, and if they are anxious to go over there. We older guys set them straight that going to combat is nothing to be excited about. I don't feel worried about going back, we are a very highly trained unit. Most of the new guys have been braught up to par with training in a urban environment. I have every bit of confidence in these guys. So, we just watch their back, and they'll watch ours. That's the thing that is so damn cool about being in the military, is your life is in the hands of another man, and his life is in your hands. There is no bond you will find in the world where two people who haven't been to combat will be that close to one another. These guys are like my brothers, they are my family. I've bled with them in battle, and like the saying goes that he who sheds his blood today with me is my brother. That's probably the biggest reason I joined the Army.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Green Zone

The insurgents have successfully penetrated the heavily fortified Green zone and set off a suicide bomb. Personally, I've been in the green zone a bunch of times. The military calls it another name besides the green zone, but just for opsec reasons, I am not going to say that on here just in case. I don't see how it's been able to remain so secure for awhile without anyone getting a bomb through. That really surprises me. Especially guys doing security after awhile, I know it must get alittle repetitive for them and they probably slake off sometimes. It's just human nature, it's hard to fight that type of problem.

I was just home recently for a 4 day weekend. Which means we have Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday off. I got to go home and hang out with my relatives. I am trying to see them as much as possible so when we soon arrive to Iraq in the fast coming few months we have left. I got to talk to my uncle who just seems to hate Bush. Most of my family are democrats, I try to stay in the middle of the road. I like to think I'm in the silent majority that doesn't have a party to present it. I don't like far left-wing or far right-wing political parties. I debated with him about Iraq, I got to vent some of my angers I've been having inside and let them hear from a prospective of a guy who has actually been there. I explained how I feel that I can't see how these people can say they support the troops when all they can do is point out the failures of the war and sit there and complain about civilian deaths and YET still say they support the troops. I know they do support us, but it still feels like when they talk about civilians getting killed, they single handedly blame the military. I get so fired up when people claim the troops are trigger happy. Yes, some of the guys are eager for action when they first go off into war. That is natural, I wanted to go and fight before the war started, I hated all the waiting. But I soon learned and anyone else who has seen combat and has buddies that they knew like brothers die by their feet and yet they feel so sorry for him but also so glad it wasn't they who are still alive. In combat, you have bullets buzzing around you, hitting on the ground around you, sometimes you see guys with holes in the cloths where bullets just hit the clothing. You don't have time to sit there and ID every target you're going to take a shot at. You have to react fast and furiously and think quickly to survive. That is one thing also that upsets me, is people wanting us to win hearts and minds. Yes, that is very important. I think a good thing to do would be to drive down Iraqi streets and have a guy throw out candy to the kids or give out school supplies and help build soccer fields. But I am not going to let a bunch of kids flock up to me, and then next thing you know out of no where a soda can lands by you with explosives inside and you cant defend urself cause you have no idea where it came from because of the distraction. My goal is to come back home safe and in one piece and to bring all my buddies back home safe and in one piece. Probably the biggest point I made out to my uncle during the debate was I believe the Army is being too soft on the enemy. When I was in Iraq, we would have Iraqis tell us the US Army was being too nice and not being firm enough and so the insurgents were taking advantage of that. Right after the war, the people had nothing but respect for the US military. They wouldn't even think for a second to attack Americans because we showed we were not afraid to use force during the war. Then we started to get more and more relaxed in our tactics, and then the next thing you know guys started getting killed. In Fallujah, right after the war, 4th ID started to lose alot of soldiers, things were getting out of hand, until the 3rd ID was sent in. They really laid the HAMMER down in Fallujah, and for months and months you NEVER heard anything about Americans getting hurt or dieing in Fallujah. Then, once the 82nd took over 3rd ID, it went back to being a shitty place again. If they really want to Americans to stop dieing, they need to get VERY tough, they need to start leading offensives without being afraid to use force, then start doing raids and finding weapons and explosives. Then, they also need to destroy these ammo dumps.

I watched the third Presidential debate. Whoooodie dooooo. The same retarded rhetoric "oh Kerry clearly won this debate!" or "oh Bush really showed him!" I mean come on. It's obvious the people who are for Bush will say he won and the people for Kerry will say he won. Honestly, from what I saw there was no clear winner. They looked like they did a good job holding their own.

Saturday, October 02, 2004

Busy Times

I haven't been able to write much because of the intense training we have been up too. We just got back from a mission where we had to do an assault on a compound filled with buildings. I got to be one of the machine gunners who would shoot at the buildings while the other guys assaulted it. From 600 yards away, me and my buddy who was a m240 gunner, we put down extremely accurate fire onto the targets. Our tracers were showing our bullets were going right through windows no better than 3 feet by 2 feet. Our machine guns alot killed alot of the occupants inside, making it easier for the people assaulting the buildings to take the buildings down quickly. We got commended for having such accurate fire at that distance by the First Sergeant, which he said was really really good shit at that range. Out of 2 companies, our Platoon, 2nd Platoon, out of 8 other Platoons did the absolute best. One of the OC's, which are guys that observe the whole assault and then give a AAR (after action review) and tell us everything we did wrong and right said we were the best he'd ever seen, we were extremely fast and it was extremely well done. After that, we did a 12 mile road march will all our equipment. It's not easy to carry a machine gun on a long road march like that, but I was able to do pretty well and had to encourage other guys to keep going and not to stop. We all completed it without a single fall out. After that we did a mass formation of both companies and a Lt Colonel, told us how damn impressed he was with everyone and that he has absolutely no doubt that when we get deployed to Iraq soon, again, that there will be nothing we can't handle. He also said how extremely proud he was of each and everyone of us. Our platoon was the only platoon that did a night assault on the objective, we only got 1 1 /2 hours of sleep before we had to step and conduct the road march. So, we were all pretty tired, but we all still made it. When we got back to the Company area, they commended us on that too. 2nd Platoon has always been known as the best Platoon in the whole company. We are starting to get ALOT of cherries (new guys, FNGs) now though, so we are training them up to go. It gets repetitive and anoyying to keep having to train guys. Alot of the Operation Iraqi Freedom veterans we had are all gone, there is maybe 1/3rd left of all the guys that went to Iraq during the war. The rest had only showed up to Iraq a few months before being deployed back to the USA. Due to past problems of having undisciplined soldiers, because we probably weren't tough enough on them. We have decided to get tougher on them because we can't afford to lose guys and we don't want to goto combat with a untrained and undisciplined soldier. Basic training doesn't teach people what they will need to know and how to fight in a urban environment, that is something only the units that they goto can provide and we cannot fail ourselves by not being tough on them and teaching them how to fight effectively in that environment. We have a whole week of fixing any equipment we messed up during the live fires and then we go back out to the field again to train for another week.

Surprisingly, to me anyway, it seems Bush lost the debate in favor of Kerry. I didn't get to see the debate since we were training in the field. Which kinda pissed me off, but I had alot of fun in the field anyway. But I always though people said that Bush was such a good debater. I guess I'll have to watch the next debate.

US troops fighting in Samarra to take back swaths that were taken by the "insurgents." I was watching some of the combat footage, and those US troops seemed to be on their P's and Q's. They looked like they were seasoned fighters, that impressed me. Other times I've seen soldiers making some mistakes in the footage, but this looked like they were all squared away. over 100 insurgents killed, of course you're gonna have anti-war people complain about there probably being a bunch of civilians killed. When you're fighting an armed enemy, you're not going to shoot food and water at them. The only way to keep someone from killing you, is to kill them or wound them in that situation. It's almost like people forget that there are civilian casualties in every war, and it sad as it may be, it is a fact of life. I remember numbers in other wars where there were like 50,000 civilians killed in city fighting in just a few days. Give me a break people.