Trip back from Tikrit
The last stop before Slayer was the IZ. Actually, it was just a soccer field and we were all blacked out at about 0400 in the morning – it was spooky. By now I couldn’t hear a thing from the constant engine noise inside the helo, but all of a sudden we felt this low rumble - sort of like you can feel when a diesel locomotive goes thundering by, but not nearly as loud. We looked out, but didn’t spot anything unusual until a minute later when a huge light grey mushroom cloud rose high enough to be seen above the buildings. A car bomb had exploded about a mile and a half away. It was spooky, moving against the background of city lights. I’d heard the Muj don’t like to fight at night, but apparently this one did.
When we finally arrived at base camp we were about an hour late and the ride I’d left had given up and gone home. After all that, we had to hump those dammed packs two miles from the LZ. I think I finally got to bed about 0600, and I slept all the way until past lunch.