A week in the life….
0810 - Walking to work & I hear small arms from coming from Baghdad. It’s not close.
1000 - A very large explosion in Baghdad. Probably a car bomb in a market somewhere on the west side. Smoke curls up for about a half an hour
1403 - Small arms fire towards the East Wall
2004 - Heavy rifle and machine gun fire on Camp Slayer. Several RPGs. Red tracers fly overhead and I take cover behind a cement building. This goes on until about 2050. Periodic gunshots thereafter.
0730 - Machine gun fire from the west. This may be the first time I have actually heard gunfire from the west
1157 - Three smoke plumes from Baghdad. The largest is still smoking almost an hour later.
1319 – I see a UAV overhead. They fly so slow, it’s a wonder more of them aren’t shot down.
2033 - Heavy rifle fire in Baghdad. ‘Does not appear to be directed at us.
2042 - Rifle fire in vicinity of guard tower on Commo Hill. Now it’s directed at us.
2046 - The fifties open up
2316 - Alert siren. Loud speakers announce “Take cover.” Usually that means incoming, but no explosion this time.
Thursday: Quiet all day long. A very pleasant surprise.
Friday, the Muslim Sabbath:
0600 - Scattered shots during the morning call to prayers
0710 – Possible RPG or small IED near ECP 13.
0713 - Saw a flight of blackhawks popping flares this morning. They were low over the Hayy Al Furat neighborhood, behind the apartments on Sniper Ally. Usually they do that when they’re taking ground fire, although I didn’t hear or see any.
0739 - A pair of gunships circle the area for about twenty minutes.
1030 - Scattered rifle fire from the East
1040 - Heavy small arms fire. They are really going at it now.
1042 - Smoke plum in vicinity of small arms fire
1055 - All quiet
1237 – Loudspeaker announces: THIS IS THE COMMAND POST. THERE WILL BE A CONTROLLED DETONATION IN FIVE MINUTES. CONTROLLED DETONATION IN FIVE MINUTES. OUT. That means EOD is going to be blowing something in place, usually either a cache of some sort left over from before the war or an unexploded warhead. There are lots of unexploded warheads because they usually store their shells in damp holes in the ground. I guess that’s a good thing.
1241 - A single loud detonation shakes the trailer.
0014 - I hear the fifties open up. There’s at least two of them taking turns firing. They call it “talking guns,” and it’s easier on the barrels. Odd that I don’t hear any rifle fire. They must have seen something, but I’m going back to sleep.
2030 - Scattered rifle fire during the evening call to prayer. Sometimes I think they do that on purpose, time it for when the loudspeakers are blaring.
2102 – Twin RPG explosions followed by a fusillade of small arms fire. This is the typical pattern for an attack. Sound like it’s out in the neighborhood. It’ll either peter out on its own, or the machine guns will join in and then it’ll taper off. The Muj don’t like Ma Duce and rarely do they stand and fight.
I remember when I first got here I was almost anxious to hear my first fire fight or explosion. I was going to keep track with a little black tick mark under the brim of my hat – but at this rate the whole brim would be black. It’s certainly become a lot more common now than it was nine and a half months ago when you only heard gunshots once a week or so.