May 18, 2004
All good things must come to an end. With that said, we left the Mech Camp yesterday to provide security for 2/2 Echo, who we are once again attached to. This time we are further south than our last position, which I thought was too far south to begin with. Yesterday was one of our worst days yet.
The sixteenth was a fun day. We had that day off. Mike and I filled it with movie watching and eating chow. Just what we needed. But the following day was hell.
We didn’t leave the FOB until about noon with about ten Humvees as an escort. Before we were one quarter of the way there, 3A106, Delfin’s track, died and is fried. It took about 20 minutes to hook up for towing. Alright, then 3A108, Crespin’s track, my old one, wouldn’t start. Five minutes to trouble shoot and we were off—and yet the worst is still to come.
Just before we pass our old pause, 3A104, Buckley and the Lt.’s track gets driven into a curb, shearing the bolts off the final, which was quite a feat—its hard to do. Buckley was waving at children and drove right into the bridge he was crossing—we dubbed it Buckley Bridge. Since my track was the “lucky one” chosen to carry the tow bar, I had to take my track to the front of the column to tow his ass.
In this situation, a vehicle must be short tracked to remove the final. Instead, we decided to remove the track in segments because it’s heavy as hell, remove the final, and tow it on the road wheels. Since I’m the second strongest guy there next to SSgt. Jason, he and I did all the hard work. It took us about 45 minutes, inside the town, taking up the whole road. Talk about being vulnerable. Luckily, nothing happened, but the stress level was up. My ass was dead tired, and once we were on the move, I felt sick to my stomach. Sweaty, hot, tired, and still trying to stay vigilant.
Once we got to the 2/2 location, which was one of the supposed homes of Saddam’s oldest son, we set in to our position. So, yeah, it was a shitty day for all of us, but the salt on the wound was when the fucking Iraqis decide to launch mortar rounds ten meters in front of my track, throwing shrapnel at it. My dumb ass didn’t have the flak or helmet on yet. Again, I thought, “we’re going to get hit.” I was shaken up and immediately began to pray for God’s mercy.
When we finally got back on base, Mike and I were looking forward to just chilling. We decided to unwind from such a stressful couple of days and just chill in Davis’ room and watch a movie. We were just going to turn off the lights and fall asleep to a movie.
We looked through some of the guy’s movies and realized that we had seen all of them except The Notebook, which I heard was pretty good but didn’t know what it was about. We started watching it, but we didn’t fall asleep. It was a good movie, too good.
Towards the end, I looked over to see if the guys were sleeping because I had tears in my eyes, and I hoped they didn’t notice. They, too, had tears in their eyes—what wusses!
We thought we were hiding it from each other, but then, all of a sudden, the door flew open and flooded the room with light. “What are you pussies doing?” That’s all I heard. I told them it was dust in my eye, I don’t think they bought it.
It’s almost the end of the month. I’ll have been here three months by June, and my only motivation is the thought of going home to California—the same place I wanted to leave for a while—to go somewhere and be challenged, to discover something in myself and to gain a greater character. I’m doubting this will happen now. I just want to leave now, but not before our mission is complete. Maybe I have gained something, and it won’t be evident until I get back to the States.
Right now my priorities and focus need to be:
- My Crew
- My track
- My platoon
- My mission
When I get back I want
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