Well, I know that I am up to the point where I actually got into Iraq but I'm going to jump ahead a bit. I want to talk about some events that happened the other day. Now I am limited on what I can say due to ";OPSEC"; (Operational Security), which does not allow to talk about events, casualties, or anything else that if the enemy was to read it they would gain intelligence on how effective their or our tactics are so this will be a bit chopped up.
So the other night, I was pulling guard on the front gate of my compound when for the first time I hear an audible alarm. . .";(Siren Wales), INCOMING, INDIRECT FIRE . . . .INCOMING, INDIRECT FIRE . . . SEEK SHELTER IMMEDIATELY";. This is the first time since I arrived in theater this time that I have heard the alarm. All I can say on this is that due to our advanced technology when someone fires rockets or mortars into the compound we get about a five second warning. So this is the first time the alarm has sounded in a long time here, me and two other soldiers stand there looking at each other thinking, really, incoming, that never happens here . . .BOOOM! Okay so its for real, the first one hits something (again I'm limited on what I can say). Then again the alarm sounds, it gets half way done and resets and starts the alarm again (it started twice therefore two more are in the air). . . .yep time to find shelter as we make a dead sprint for the bunker. At first it was a calm walk but when the first of the two hit closer than the last you would have thought we were in a marathon.
Don't worry we made it to the bunker, actually to be honest we never saw an impact from the mortars . . so from the area I was at they were not close. I can neither acknowledge or deny that any hit the camp as that is an opsec violation. But they were close enough to get my attention. Now this is not my first rodeo, I remember the first time that I was in Iraq, this was a daily occurrence. I was here for the first general elections in Iraq. There was alot of rebellion from the terrorists at that point and indirect fire was a VERY common attack. The last time I was here it would have taken a whole lot more than this to get me startled. I guess if you dont experience it for a while then you get sensitized to it again. Or maybe it was the reaction of everyone else around me that had me slightly panicked. Im not sure why but it had my blood pressure up a bit that's for sure.
The one thing that I wanted to mention about this was the reaction of everyone during the calm moments after the attack. See, after an attack like that we dont just come out of the bunker, we have to stay in the cover until it is deemed safe to come out. This usually takes a few minutes (I wont say how long), but it gives youtime to think. I never noticed this the first time, again most of us were very de-sensitized to the situation and it was an everyday thing. However as I mentioned this time I am sensative to it again. Also the soldiers that was with me in the bunker, the other two, had never been in combat before, this was their first time, and they had never experienced this. You really get to see where peoples priorities are during a time like this.
All of us did exactly as we were trained as the indirect fire came in, we established the situation, knew the drill and went straigt to the bunker, assumed a low profile to the ground, and waited for further. Once the fire stopped and we was in the wait period, I hear soldier number one start praying. It was very low under his breath, eyes tighly closed, sweat coming off his forehead, legs trembling beneath him. It is easy to understand this becuase in a fire fight you see the enemy, you react, he reacts the more trained soldier wins (usually). In indirect fire, you dont see the enemy, you just see the impacts and hear the explosions, you cant stop it, there is nothing you can do but pray its not coming to your spot. Soldier number two, I he starts babbling nervously, talking about anything and everything, just wanting to get his mind off of it. I am trying to ease his mind by listening and replying as necessary but I have other things on my mind. First is me hoping that I am going to make it home to my new wife, and thinking in my head that I cannot tell her about this becuase she will freak out and spend too much time worrying. (I hope she never finds this blog, at least while I am still here.) I am also worrying about the soldiers in my unit, "did the explosions happen in their area, Im not sure, it could have been more to the east of them . . . I hope." I am also trying to figure out our next step . . .after this we need to check the gate, I need to get back to the radio and let command know that we are o.k. here, I need to get to the command point for accountability. Just a flood of thoughts, not sure how to control them . . oh and soldier number two, I am more of a Vols fan sorry, I am from Knoxville. Still trying to ease his mind.
Anyway, like I said before I jumped ahead a bit, this was the first experience of this kind since I got here this time. I thought i would share it as it is fresh on my mind. My next post I will go back to when I arrived in Iraq. That is unless we have more drama here worth mentioning before the next post.
To all, thanks for you support, Ill see you in the next post.