Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Anatomy of a Firefight

URGENT ADVISORY: BE ADVISED THERE IS A FIRE FIGHT GOING ON OUTSIDE OF THE EAST WALL. THERE ARE CURRENTLY ROUNDS IMPACTING THE WALL AND THE AREAS IMMEDIATELY ADJACENT. IN ADDITION, SEVERAL DETONATIONS HAVE OCCURRED ON BASE. AT THIS TIME ALL PERSONNEL ARE TO BE WEARING INDIVIDUAL BODY ARMOR AND HELMETS. GO OUTSIDE ONLY WHEN ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY AND USE EXTREME CAUTION. WILL KEEP ALCON UPDATED AS SOON AS WE RECIEVE SAME FROM ADOC. PLEASE PASS UP AND DOWN CHAIN OF COMMAND [sent by the camp commandant]

Last time it was a raid the IPs made on a house and everyone from blocks around just seemed to materialize with guns. Ever see Blackhawk Down, where all those guys just come out of the woodwork? That’s what one of the Quick Reaction Force guys said it was like. They had to send a QRF for the QRF.

We’re locked in the Palace and it’s dinner time. I don’t know what’s going on, nor do I know if they will save chow – they’ll probably hand out MREs if a lot of folks can’t get to chow. But I think it’s calming down out there. One of the defining characteristics of this place is that you never know what’s going on. And when you do see a plan or an after action report and think you have a clue, then someone comes along and tells you that’s not what happened at all. Or you know first hand that the AAR doesn’t match what you saw.

It usually starts with a big bang. Or maybe two, one right after the other - I guess they like to open up with the RPGs. There will be a quick flurry of firing, mostly on their side, and one or two pop pop pops from our side. Smoke starts to rise and the flares pop up: whoooosh! Then, the Muj run out of ammo and all have to reload so there’s a pause. In the mean time we’ve usually brought a SAW to bear by now and are hosing the place, brrratatatatatt!

Now there’s the yelling, and often sirens. Especially if the firing is off base, which it usually is. After a while it always tapers off, or it may pick up again after the ragheads reload, but it’s not like Saving Private Ryan, one big constant battle. People go about their business – TCNs cutting the lawn, people walking… Then BANG it starts again. Brrratatatat pop pop. Brratatat. You rarely hear those high pitched ricochets – I think I have heard only two ricochets the entire time I have been here. Occasionally though you do hear the baritone “thud” of a round actually impacting. It comes and goes in waves. Sometimes you think it’s over, and then it kicks up again. If it goes long enough, the fifties add their tattoo, which usually heralds the arrival of the quick reaction force. Occasionally gun ships will circle overhead, but they are pretty leery of engaging in the city unless American lives are actually at stake. And then it’s over – you listen for more, but there isn’t any more. And you are grateful not to hear the whoop whoop whoop of the dust off.

By the way, Bush, thanks for the whopping 2.2% pay increase. The consumer price index only rose 4.6% during the first six months this year.

2 Comments:

Anonymous Keith said...

I would gladly sacrifice (pay higher taxes, ration food, gas, volunteer) if it ment things were better for you there but Bush hasn't asked us to do a damn thing, the jackass, figuring, what the hell, our kids (and grandkids)can pay for his missdeeds... And it most assuredly will be OUR kids who pay and not his (nor Cheney's nor Rumsfeld's). John McCain's son has apparently joined the marines though...

September 26, 2006 7:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Marines is spelled with a capital "M." :-)

September 27, 2006 9:36 AM  

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