Now that my days of Combat patrols and raids ect ect are over. I finally have time to write my personal feelings about Iraq. My first tour over here was definitely easier than this one. Of course, we were just doing raids most of the time and very little patrolling. So, I got plenty of sleep and ate pretty good. On average, we were working from 90-100 hour weeks this tour. I feel like I have aged much in my short time of being here.
I sometimes feel I know this place better than our military post back home. I have even gotten very good at talking to locals and communicating with them. It has been a good experience definitely, but I have lost some very good friends, Darren and Kurt. Especially Kurt, who I went out to clubs and joked around with. Kurt was a great guy, he always made people laugh and he was loved by all, so was Darren. After what seeing what war is really all about from the very start in March 03 to present day, I have a disgust for it. I actually hate it now. It's the worst feelings in the world having to race down a road well known for IEDs, praying that you're not the unlucky vehicle in the small convoy. We are armed with new weapons against IEDs that now, you don't have to ever worry about IEDs anymore for the most part. I wish we had that earlier, we wouldn't have lost the men we did.
I can definitely tell you from a military view, that the US and Iraqi forces are on the high ground in Iraq. The enemy has no real chance of taking power as long as we are here. They don't really ever attack us. Our Company has only seen about 3 gun fights, all of which we soundly defeated the enemy. Including the brief shoot out I was in. I am very glad to see the Iraqi Army in large numbers out patrolling the streets as well. It gives us alot more combat power and plus they gather Intel on the enemy much faster than we do. However, they constantly get attacked by small arms and such. One of the most frustrating things is when the IAs conduct a big operation, is the enemy will come out of the wood work and fight them, but it is as if the enemy wants nothing to do with fighting with Americans. They would rather plant a bomb and hide, and when we arrest them, they usually are scared shit less. A funny story one of the prison guards told us, is that our Battalion has captured more bad guys than any other battalion in our Brigade. That also, our company like many others has insignia on our trucks so they can be identified by our higher commanders. The word is, many of the prisoners mention our insignia in interrogation and say they are afraid of the Hmmwv's with that particular insignia on it.
As long as the United States continues to stay in Iraq and help the Iraqi government, the terrorists and insurgents will lose. They are only capable of killing a few of us at a time and whenever they manage do organize a co-ordinated attack they are swiftly defeated. I know of the Prison attack that happened near us where 40 soldiers got injured, at least 30 of the attackers were killed. Zarqawi is a master at sending his men on suicide missions. They never succeed, despite the good press they get. Anytime hear reports of an Al-Jazeera news truck around, you know something bad is going to happen.