Apr 03, 2017 at 04:48 PM

Iraq Journal Page 2

By Gordon Forbes

The Road.

We are doing aerial VCP’s or vehicle checkpoints. With two helos, escorted by two Apache gunships, we fly up over the countryside outside Fallujah. The Euphrates River runs through here and Saddam apparently spent a lot of money here because there are roads and green fields and farms but there is still the goat shit dust and the heat just grinds you down.

The first time on the ground it was strange and very quiet. Cows, dogs, birds and the fucking dust. We’d patrol and check the vehicles for 10-15 minutes, then run madly into the helo, get dusted in sheep shit and dirt, like polio and worse flying into my face, my ears, my camera and running with gear on. Welcome to the 2nd Platoon, 3rd Recon. Some of those were carrying 110 pounds of shit. Gordon “Big Ed” Edwards already weighs damn near 250, even after 3 months in suffocating heat. He weighs 350 pounds and he’s running through fields where the flowers are like concrete.

Everyday, 2nd Platoon would fly four hours around their AO in an operation to disrupt haji attempts at carrying weapons through this part of the Sunni Triangle. Often though, cars would turn off before they reached our checkpoint. We land in a place called “the Market” and our woman pilot lands us in a dirt field next to the road. The dirt cloud smells like a barnyard that ain’t been shoveled in weeks. The freaking mother of all down blasts…On this fourth day of VCPs, after wearing and carrying about 35 pounds of gear, I’m exhausted.

First of all, it’s hotter than balls out there, 115-125 degrees by 8:30 AM. in the summertime. Each marine is carrying water, ammo, an armored vest and helmet, a weapon, grenades. Each guy is hauling an extra sixty pounds at least. For Schmidt and Kostielny, the two SAW gunners, it’s more and add in the radios and now some of these guys are 300 pounds running in 115° heat and sheep shit dust storms that make your throat tighten, the voice getting pinched and croaky and your eyes and nose just clogged and scratchy. We drink six liters of water a day – and never piss.”

As each day unfolded, I became increasingly more comfortable because every stop was no longer than ten minutes. Sitting in a C-46 Marine helo is to vibrate. On the deck, the Recon Marines look like those dolls with heads on springs. We sometimes sit, blades turning, for 10-15 20 minutes. Everybody’s bobbing in unison. Actually inserting and extracting is a demanding feat.

Everyday flying through that shit storm, I wonder if I’d make it, silently grateful that I could take off my bullet bouncer at night and lie down in an air conditioned trailer, to tired to be scared and already preparing for the next day. It’s weird being on an Iraqi road in the Sunni Triangle. Seeing the people, many of whom don’t like us.

The Marines say all the Iraqis will lie and claim they know nothing, even when caught with the goods. It turns out that it’s true for the most part. But Big Daddy and other intell guys understand the Iraqis are a shame based culture. We are one of law. Both are flawed, both have virtues. They are of family and blood. Hurt me or mine and I will kill you and yours, right down to your friends and their friends… Out here, any goes unless you’re caught, then the entire family is guilty and shamed as well…

The VCPs are a bit nerve racking. We are stopping and searching vehicles, any one of which could have an IED in it. You never know. . Near the market, a known meeting ground for insurgents, we get a red rocket shout from Murphy’s team. Davis immediately orders everyone down the road. The inbound helos are waved off… Murphy has found wires under a building near the road where we are standing. But there is also seven or eight Iraqis cars backed up and waiting there to be inspected. That might stop the triggerman but we run anyway. Turns out this was nothing but we are glad to get extracted.

The day’s ops are marked by a running gag of how far away can the helo land and still be visible. They make us run to it…our pilot this day is a woman who won’t land us on the road or pick us up closer than 500 meters…or so. . She keeps putting us into fields and hardened ground that is baked into concrete furrow covered by waist high, thick green plants, hundreds of meters from where we want to be. Weighing as much as we do, every extra step is that much harder. And we run…less time for the bird to draw fire…

The fear is something nobody talks about, for very long or very deep. Murphy, who is a dry personality, shrugs his shoulders. Stevens, a team leader hates the Iraqis but tempers that with he really doesn’t care who it is, they’re the enemy. Period.


14;03//I mean in the back of your head you know they’re people just like you and they’re fighting for a cause. But it’s easier to hate them and not like them. That makes it a lot easier. 14;18

Probably because they are the enemy and he has to demonize them. Probably because they kill his friends and hate America. But Stephens is not afraid until he has to be. Even then, he will use fear to keep alive. In fact, most of these Recon guys manage to keep their poise. Even when their friends and fellow marines are killed.

One day, we saddle up in a sandstorm to go over to another part of the base, where the Iranians – yes Iranians - used to train with Sadaam’s blessings. The platoon is rehearsing with another platoon from another unit for a big night raid the following night. The dust storms today are horrible. Hot, dirt, wind. It’s a lousy chunk of land out here. All the trees are bent and beaten, dust making them brown. It’s orange filtered daylight thru the blowing stink and hotter than hell. So hot, I am sapped and must drink constantly. These guys know what they’re doing and run their drills at half speed… Everyone looks to sit down if they can but getting up makes it easier to stay on your feet. That’s hot, baby.

The next morning, we return to this camp to rehearse further. By now, everyone knows that six Marines were killed the day or so before by a suicide driver, while they were coming back to camp from Fallujah in a truck convoy. There is a news blackout at the camp. All e-mail is turned off and same with phones. It turns out that three of the dead were women marines and several others, including another woman, were burned worse than baked hams.

Most of the guys were quiet when they heard the news. The truck ride over to the shit hole that used to be an Iranian training camp was without the usual banter. No one knew yet that three of the dead were women. My neighbors by my trailer are women Marines who search Iraqi females. I wonder if they were the ones hit. But this sense of frustration is matched by the unspoken relief that it wasn’t one of us who got hit.

I had talked to these ladies only days before when we stood outside at 2:30 in the morning, while they smoked and we all made satellite calls to home. Nice kids,. They loved that I was making a film. Now they were gone. Old enough to be their father, I was somber at their memorial service. All the marines who died in that convoy, men and women were missed. For days afterwards, only their door mat flapping in the wind where they left it to dry reminded me of their passing. Then in one afternoon, their hooch was cleaned out and within days, new neighbors were moving in. That’s the way it is. That’s the way it has to be in this job. As my buddies back from Vietnam used to say, “It ain’t nothing.”

(I knew the three dead marine women. They lived in the trailer next door to mine in camp. Meeting the girls; three girls with DVD’s and chatting on sat phones, we were all up at 2:00 AM to talk to home… A 4th Five days later, 3 are dead and the 4th They were at the Abu Grab prison frisking and searching Muslim women. A suicide bomber was in front of their convoy. The lead gun truck forced him over to the side where he waited until there was an opening between trucks and he darted between vehicles and blew up their seven ton truck. 3 women, 3 men were killed, 13 wounded.) woman was visiting the trailer. We chatted for 15 minutes. wounded.

The next night, 3rd platoon took an IED on their ISF detachment. One man took burns over 70% of his body. The platoon watched him walk, on fire, into the canal to douse the flames. He died. No marines were killed.

Gunnery Sergeant Jerry Coronado is sitting at breakfast with Senior Chief Tony Shattuck, his corpsman. He’s been up all night. It was his platoon that got hit and the Iraqi burned. He’s probably the most respected guy in Alpha but this morning he looks like a forty-year-old family man who had a close call. He laughs heartily when I tell him that the next day. He doesn’t agree or disagree. That’s the thing about Gunny Coronado. You never know what he’s thinking.

Senior Chief Shattuck does an interview and then we walk outside into the hallway. Alpha HQ takes up an old Republican Guard Building. An entire section of one wall has dozens of women, naked and otherwise. I have even looked it over several times. Not at all sleazy, but really beautiful women. In fact, there are no sleazy sluts. The difference between porn and nudity I guess. Anyway, Shattuck and I pause and I show him my favorite stunning babe. Shattuck points to her ass. “ See that red stuff?”. I nod, yeah. “It looks like somebody’s kissing her butt with lipstick.” “Nah, It’s Coronado”. Every time he walks by he licks his finger and touches her butt and then he says “that makes my day”. Coronado and me like the same women. Damn, he’s smarter than I thought.

Surrounded by liars and villains and the possibility of combat, the Marines maintain a good attitude. Semi-Naked women are everywhere on the wall and most of them are nice looking, not too skanky. Sex and combat, and the newest gadgets are always topics, throw in story telling and music and that’s the life they lead, 17 men in a team room the size of a small office. It smells like ass in there, but the troops are too used to it to care.

There is fear and anxiety. The fear is something nobody talks about for long or very deep. I mean, be out here longer than a day or two and you won’t either. When you talk about fear, you have to be careful. If you take it too far, you earn other’s scorn. We are all scared a little bit. And there ain’t nothing we can do about it so shut the fuck up…

Murphy, a team leader and very dry personality, shrugs. He’s got too much other stuff to think about. Schmidt, the 21 year SAW gunner is a hulking Pennsylvania kid who never even saw an ocean until he was 16, grins. He says he’s so country, his family home was built in front of a dam.

Then I ask him about fear. He leans over and spits from his chaw and adjusts his SAW and ammo load. He must be carrying over eighty pounds of equipment and ammo yet he moves it like it’s nothing. “I should have been dead many times before Iraq. When it’s your time, that’s it. It ain’t my time yet.” A 21 year old talking like a forty one year old Guadalcanal Gunnery Sgt.…it’s the Marine way. Old before your time….the biggest fear is acting surprised. Never let the bastards see you sweat. To young men who train hard all the time, it takes a lot to surprise them.

One night Big Daddy is sitting in front of the radios in the same room he sleeps in. The light he has on the floor makes him look kind of spooky. All the power in the building is off and the heat is beginning to make the inside of the room a bit stuffy and hot from the heat of the radios.

If you hang out with Alpha or any combat unit that operates regularly outside the wire, you can begin to understand the frustration and constant stress of wondering what’s coming your way. There is another fear that is kicking in ….That Alpha might not get to see combat and engage their enemies… Alpha wants a fight, regardless of casualties. They want to be in the shit, as Big Daddy would say. Then he leans in for the punch line “it’s all well and good until your buddy’s dying next to you and there’s nothing you can do about it, so be careful what you wish for.”

I tell him I’m relieved at the end of each day. I still have my arms and my legs, but then I have to get ready for the next day. He nods and grins. “The way of the warrior, suckah!”. Big Daddy’s call sign is Original G…Original Grunt. In his prime, his former commanding officer called him The 8th Wonder of the world. Remember, Gordon, he says patiently, haji has a say too…

Back out on the road, it’s burning by ten am. 115, 118, 120 after awhile, you only notice when it’s really hot, like 125 or more. It stays hot all day until nightfall…Try it a home. Saddle yourself with an extra 50 to eighty pounds of hard materials, like tools or metal, inside a jacket or coat wrapped around your torso, chest and back. Make sure you have a thick collar buttoned up around your throat at the neck and a groin protector between your legs…Now sit in a dry sauna. Then jump up and down for ten minutes every hour for eight-ten hours. You can drink all the water you want but I guarantee, it’s an experience. If you aren’t careful, it’ll drive you mad – or drop you. The only way to get through it is ignore it and follow the bouncing ball to the next objective, whatever it is: It might be cleaning your weapon, changing your socks, or simply putting one boot in front of the other on a foot patrol. And never, ever look at your watch. Ever.

Hunger is not the problem. Eating is. Heat robs you of any real interest in food. Eating an MRE, any one of which will plug you up, requires effort. One night I get up at midnight and force down an MRE Salsbury steak, otherwise I wouldn’t have made it the next day. I was getting light headed after all day in the heat…water and Gatorade or nutri lite, whatever, liquid bleaches everything out of you. …I’m 12 pounds down in two weeks, despite trying to keep up the calories. Most guys have lost 20 to 25 pounds. They look…normal. And they hate it. It’s not how you feel, darling, it’s how you look! No weight rooms in the Sunni Triangle. Just heat, IEDs, and the hope we get into a firefight…

I flew VCPs with 2nd platoon for five days that first week, doing VCP’s all over the AO. It was designed to create hindrances from the skies, to disrupt terrorist transportation. On the first day, I slipped on the hydraulic fluids while running down the back ramp and severely injured my left quad- then the next morning I tweaked my back putting on my socks. That’s the real reason old me don’t go to war. Christ, this is embarrassing. Kip Morey, the corpsman gave me two shots in my back so I could stay in the game. I asked for them. All they are was a liquid equivalent of Motrin called…. No way I was going down now…I wanted to be with the platoon, not staying in my trailer whining while 2nd platoon snickers at me. Suit up and show up, that’s all that matters.

One day it was 115, another 118. Even the Marines are sucking but for them it’s all in a days ride. They don’t get to get up, don’t get to go down. In the team room, before the OP, the music is loud but I take heart. The operators in Alpha Company don’t listen to rap. Right now they’re into 80’s old school. They pack their gear with AC DC’s the Final Countdown, until a Mexican, first name Louis tells me someone took it. I don’t know if he meant he took it but now Sgt. Stevens has a band named Clutch One. The thing about it is I know most of the music because back then I still cared. Old school- these guys respect stuff even as their swap lies on who they would or would not fuck: Madonna? She’s way too old, J-LO, maybe but Christina Aguilar, now that bears some careful consideration, along with Jessica Simpson…and they name a pack of woman actresses who I barely recognize. Lt. Robinson does a wicked Jim Carrey but let me tell you, these guys are wired in on technology and culture be that as it may.

The exact location of the 3rd Recon Area of operations is classified but I can tell you that Alpha operates around Faloudja, in the area with nick names like the Little Nut Sack, the Market, Big Nut Sack, the Thumb, and The Lower Nut Sack and the T’ain’t, as in it t’ain’t the Big Nut Sack and it t’ain’t the Thumb…Higher up Headquarters was upset when the daily reports kept mentioning Alpha’s positions using these acronyms instead of GPS coordinates. So now they are officially referred to in reports as “…the site previously known as the Big Nut Sack...etc.”

This is Indian country, full of seething bearded Wahabis and ex-Bathists and maybe some foreign fighters…anything is possible here, insurgency wise. The macho, angry stares from a couple of burly Arabs says it all. There are no women visible in the Market place. The walk through town has no other purpose but to demonstrate our control and presence, …we move through and then the helos come, landing in a sun baked corn field almost a quarter mile away, forcing us to run again. Goddamnit. Even I start to get annoyed.

The last day, we run over 400 meters to and from the birds several times in 120 plus heat. Each marine is carrying water, ammo, an armored vest and helmet, a weapon, grenades and radios, at least 45 extra pounds or more per man. Inevitably, inquiring minds in 2nd platoon want to know: how far away can the helo land and still be visible?

I’m not worried about IED’s or being shot. All I am concerned with is not being the last one back to the helo. Two days earlier, I slipped on the oily floor of the helo’s back hatch and heard my left quad go bing bink BONK. My thigh and calf are swollen up. It’s a bad injury.

Over the past three days, I have fallen twice and now I fall again, while following a huge black Marine named Gordon Edwards. Fully loaded out, with radio and weaponry, Gordo has to weigh close to 350 pounds and he’s pulling away from me in the sprint to the helo and safety. Coming down an eight foot embankment, down I go...I hope nobody sees but of course, everybody is always watching everything…

Later Sgt. Stevens grinned evilly at me, “I hear you ate shit”. I demur. “No. I fell though” “Well if you fell you ate shit cuz this whole countryside is covered in it.” It turns out everybody falls or trips or slips or hits their head sooner or later during helo ops. Hazards of the trade.

Back in Kuwait we learned that there might be two thousand supply convoys a week going into Iraq and 20% of them carry water during the summer months. Out on patrol we drink 5 to 8 bottles a day.

The Alpha Company Marines are cheerfully resigned to cleaning up their gear. They’re well tuned by now.

Topics for memories

Arrive at BIOP, rhino run
Sleeping in the hallway of the Iraqi Convention center
Missing the four flights in five nights due to weather and new ops
Arriving at Camp Fallujah- “The Mec”
Staying in the media tent with Rhinehardt and others moving to trailers


The raid, 2nd Platoon is assigned to hit four houses in raid simultaneous with another security team from the base. Four men team from Alpha and Bravo squads will hit four houses in search of certain men. There is a bit of diverseness because the other guys who planned the raid, are hitting two houses with over 50 men.

On the rehearsals, on the night of the deal, nobody is too excited. Same shit, different day, not lax, just not the gunfight they all long for. We pump off after eleven and go out thru a crack in the wire. The raid, the aftermath, all the guys rolled up.

Everybody starts running when they hear the dogs. It becomes a 500-meter charge. The team targeting house 4 takes a wrong direction and hits the wrong house. Razz then goes to the right house and rolls up 6 guys. One of them is a suspect they’re looking for.


We arrive at the fixed base. It looks like it’s a Saddam guy because it’s really a nice house. The Marines negotiate and the people leave the house. Security is set and the first patrol goes out. We are in the big Nut Sack. Sgt. Stevens takes Bravo’s second element out and patrols about 3 miles around the fixed base. It’s one stop after another, weary, repetitive, the Marines move almost leisurely to conserve energy.

Again, the equipment can weigh 80 pounds. Even with a cool breeze, the flak cuts into shoulders and makes backs ache. The walk home is a stiffed cry not to drop everything. Each step hurts but they remain wary of the situation. The area is peaceful this morning. Kids are out, people are working. No enemy here today. Only poverty, heat, kids with desperate futures and a group of American Marines seeing things as they are…

At the school, conditions are bleak. But this is one of the better schools Platoon 2 has seen. Stevens goes house to house, asking the same questions. He is not complacent only weary from the walk in the sun. Everyone is silently grateful for the river breeze and that we are an early morning patrol. The bitch will be this afternoon when it could hit 117.

There is no complaining about the lack of action although they would react in a flash and still head for bed afterwards.

These young guys know more than any news report how the country suffers. They are not shocked but they notice and shut off any responsibility. Many of them feel that Iraq may never recover from Saddam’s three wars and his ruthless domination of a suffering people. But they know what their job is so they go forth two times, each element per day. Night and day. One wait for the fight they need, they want, they wonder about and they fear.

Kos, a hard drinking Marine throwback opens up to me about the schools- This one is a seven on the Iraqi sscal, he says. He seems angry about the injustice to the kids but Kos is just warming up…..

Stevens leans over to stretch his back. The flack is heavy, even for trained up guys. Perry is stretching. My back is killing me and I literally for a few seconds want to ditch my jacket and…quit! My mind tells me to get it together, that this will be over soon and most importantly, that I have no choice but to suck it up. We are talking around.

I get back and feel better. The house, the fixed base, has air-conditioning. This house is owned by one of Saddam’s cronies so it’s a nice change. Most of the guys talk about the crappy places they stay and I’m not looking forward to it.

Notes: (Prisoner snatch, Davis being shot at, walk back and recovery time. )

Saddling up for a walk over to the Sheik’s house when it’s still 115 has everyone shuffling around. There’s no talking because it’s too hot and because Murphy’s team can jock up in five minutes. To them, it’s the same shit, different day. We’re taking a Civil Affairs Major over to a clan leader’s house. So he can check on some projects, collect some information and see if it is money well spent.

We’re next to the river, which is surprisingly cooler. Wearing all this weight, the breeze is a godsend. Quigley, the point man takes us by the river so SSgt. Davis can checkout this bridge that 2nd Recon knocked out last winter. The distance to the sheik’s compound is about 3 and a half clicks, a mile and a half. We cross thru yards, melon fields and irrigation stations. Quigley likes to move fast and the weight and heat keep talk to a minimum. Davis is motivated by everything he sees. The bridge is bombed out but somebody has rigged a boat and a rope to bridge the bombed out parts- the bridge is being used. Davis doesn’t say so but I’m sure he’s thinking who “they” might be. On the other side of the river is Ferristown, a retirement development for Saddam’s Republican guards. It’s a hot spot and near where we conducted a helo operation.

It’s a long walk down. Everybody feels the weight. This is our second patrol of the day and it shows. When we arrive at the compound several men come out. Davis immediately zeros in on one guy who seems unusually polite. It turns out a few of these guys are visiting from Baghdad. ID’s are checked out. The man in white is the sheik’s son, so we end up having an audience with the sheik.

Chai is offered and we drink it down, glad to sit. But Davis and Murphy are exchanging notes. The man in white had a name that appears on Alpha Company’s most wanted list. The small talk goes on but all the Marines are suspicious. When the sheik tells the Major that if he was braver, he could have 13 wives like he does. The Marines realize the conversation is straying away from the point. Asked directly about foreign fighters, the Arab denies? Davis decides to take the man in white back in for questioning. So as not to alarm him or make a scene in front of the others, he is not restrained with cuffs.

We’re walking out when we hear the shots being fired. Davis and Roberts are out the front gate. The shots are in the distance from across the river. The Marines fan out. The excitement is high and the team one and it’s support guys move like they are wearing no armor.

The Battalion Commander, who is along on this operation to observe, takes two men to the left. Some men are seen on the roof. The shots die out. I hear no sound of angry ‘bees’ overhead that tell me the impacts are close. The shooter probably just squeezed the trigger and booked. There is some question whether the firing is celebratory. Hajis shot in the air at their weddings. Davis doesn’t buy it, celebrations are full auto. There was a shooter but he’s across the river and gone now. The walk back to a fixed base is long. The night is falling and we’re taking the man in white with us. As cars go by, there is some anxiety that each vehicle must be checked. .

Kos is one of the most compelling characters in 2nd Platoon. He is on Sgt. Brad Steven’s team. Their call sign is Spartan. With Doc Morey, Perry and Moore we went on patrol one morning. Stevens doesn’t waste a lot of energy. His directions, his insults, his displeasure are expressed usually without yelling. It’s his tone and reputation as a former grunt and long time Recon Marine that re-enforce his leadership. That and he’s the only one besides maybe Davis that can control Kos. Don’t get me wrong, Kos is a disciplined Marine but he has a wild unpredictability to him.

“When he goes out on the town”, says one platoon mate, “he needs a sitter. And after four drinks, watch out.” Kos is pacing the squad room in the fixed base. Having slept all day and pulling watch he arises at dusk like a cat, restless and agitated. Not hungry, not angry, just restless and…seeing the other guys give him space. Nobody says anything. After about ten times, back and forth, Steven’s calls out: “ What the fuck are you doing, pacing up and down?”

Kos doesn’t answer, just keeps pacing. “Since there is only one person pacing, you know I’m talking to you Kostelieny.” Stevens is the only one who could get away with this, cuz Stevens is even more threatening that Kos.

“That’s why they’re on the same team” say SSgt. Brett Davis, Platoon Sgt. Davis is no shrinking violet. The platoon, mostly the younger guys and the Recon babies don’t like him. He’s strict; ask Davis if he cares, he doesn’t. “My Marines”, he says “don’t like everything I tell them but I don’t care. I get paid either way. When push comes to shove, it’s my way. He grins a self-confident South African grin. Davis doesn’t like the Hajis and their circle talk and doesn’t care who knows. But he respects his men, and won’t let them get complacent. The heat, the monotony, the fatigue make even the Recon studs tired. When Kos finally speaks it becomes a stream of consciousness. He talks about his fiancée, a gal named Rebecca. She asked him to marry her. Kos likes that- and he adores her. Whoa to anyone who gets between a tiger and his mate.

When Doc Morey bumps into him, Kos gets this grin, a wicked smile, like he’s debating how he’ll deal with Doc. Morey’s body language is wary, even a bit apprehensive but Doc knows that showing fear to Kos would be like a red flag to a bull. But Kos likes Morey, a strange case of the opposites. Doc talks smart and can juggle. When he does, the beats of 2nd Platoon grow…respectful. Murphy, a dry witted, hilarious guy tries to juggle to. When he fails, he walks away and sits. “Juggling is gay,” he says and the room hoots at him. Three minutes later, Murphy is practicing again. Morey, as always, offers encouragement. He is part therapist, part cheerleader and a 100% teammate. One Marine NCO tells me “When Morey gets a little more experience, watch out.”

Stevens has defused the situation but as always, I can’t tell if he did it as a thought or just to bust Kos’ balls. He knows Doc and Kos will tangle wrestling style, sooner or later. It’s all good. To calm Kos and the situation a bit more, Stevens tells a story. “ The only guy I never wanted to fuck with was this little, sick Italian vato who was my roommate. One day I was getting into his shit and he said “ Big Steve, don’t fuck with me or I’ll put your toothbrush up my asshole.” Stevens pauses as Kos and everyone cracks up, (you should have been there.) Stevens finishes it off “ I mean how can you fuck with someone if they’re gonna put your toothbrush up their ass?”

He’s picking his toes with a knife, He says to Kos: “it keeps getting worse but your face is going to look bad cuz I wiped my feet on your pillow.” Kos for an instant, Kos realizes he’s been had again. He likes it, he hates Stevens’ authority but he loves Stevens’ Marine life. Stevens is in for 20. He says to me I’m not interested in hurting myself career wise.

The last mission with the deuce starts with battalion Op- Scimitar. We approach a school, firm up in a house for the first night and day, then move to a school where the guys sleep on the concrete. We’re all so tired, we go to sleep right away. I am trying to remember where we firmed up that first night. It was deep into the Big Nut sack. We were prepping to provide security for first platoon, who were to sweep through the village. Sync up and push out and block but the Haji went out through the fields and the village was empty in six minutes.

I still can’t remember where that first firm base was. By now it’s obvious for me that SSgt. Davis is in charge. Runs the platoon tightly, but believes in zero tolerance. The men don’t like him but he doesn’t care. I mean he does but he’s still going to do what’s right for him. Oh yeah, we stayed in this house next to the road where Morey sewed up a woman’s hand and I saw a young girl hit by her sister because she was too friendly with Milbrandt and other Marines who gave them candy and made them laugh and laugh.

I think the school was the first and second night. Then we moved to that house near the canal where I washed my shirt and socks. As the ORF, we sat in a nice house for two nights and transported detainees.

Posted in Journals.