Monday, March 10, 2008

Combat vets, part 3

From SPC Mark. Parts 1 and 2 are below.

We had been sitting in the corner of the field
waiting to get back on the birds. Finally the birds
began cranking up and we were back on our feet getting
ready to re-board the aircraft. As we walked back
slowly to the helicopters word came down the line:
the Air Force would be dropping a couple JDAMs (joint
direct attack munition) on the container yard at 0350
right after our guys flew out. I thought to myself
"Hell yeah." But I soon forgot about it in the noise and
confusion of the in-fill phase of a mission.


Since we were there to bolster Alpha Company’s
numbers, I think we got the short end of the stick as
far as jobs goes. We were to hit a house on the edge
of the village and set up a blocking position there watching
over the main road into the small town. Part
of that blocking position called for us to set up a
road block using concertina wire. So we were given a
couple spools of wire that are really big sharp
circles about four feet across. There was no way to
carry it but by hand. So in classic paratrooper style
we found an old bed frame along the way, broke off a
metal pole, put the wire on it and two at a time took
turns carrying it.

When we finally hit the ground we
found that this system had a couple flaws. One: the
wire is fairly heavy and added to our more than a
hundred pounds of gear, ammo, food and water. . . not
fun. The second problem we found is that not everyone
is the same height. So those of us less than 6 feet
tall really got screwed. Following the laws of
physics and gravity, the wire slid towards the smaller Joe
so that hands, arms and faces were cut. The two or so
miles to the objective ended up being very awkward and
painful for some.

It was time for the next two to take the wire so
my partner and I passed that stupid contraption off,
which literally had to be ripped off of me because the
sharp ends were stuck in the fabric of my uniform. I
passed it off and moved back in to my position in the
formation as we walked through the muddy little
village. Breathing heavy and completely worn out, I
wiped the sweat from my face. Feeling very sorry for
myself, I followed along with heavy footsteps,
SGT Medina yelling at me the whole way, "Pull
security, face out!"

We stopped for a moment on a
short security halt and I went down to a knee. Right
then my ears caught a distant noise: the unmistakable
sound of a friendly fighter jet somewhere above in the
star lit heavens. In spite of everything hearing that
cracked a smile on my face. Knowing that there was
someone up there watching over me was very comforting.

Listening closely, I looked down at my watch and hit
the light button.

0351

"Guess we've got air cover," I
muttered to myself. No sooner had I said that then

I lifted my NODs off my face and saw what I can only
describe as a volcano erupting about two miles away.
A huge ball of yellow and orange leaped into the sky.
It was so bright that we were no longer cloaked in
darkness and I was now casting a shadow. Half a
second later, the shock wave made it to us and shook
the very ground, slapping us on the chests and
rattling all the metal roofs around us. The initial
blast was quickly followed by another and then
another. Each equally powerful as the first. With
hell breaking loose upon the earth in front of us, my
squad leader turned to me and said something I'll never
forget.

"You're goddam combat veterans now."

We soon picked up and moved out to our objective.

3 comments:

MightyMom said...

friend you sure know how to tell a story!

great writing.

but most importantly.


THANK YOU.

Airbornedad said...

MM,

Thanks for stopping by. SPC Mark has many stories to tell. Stay tuned.

I have an after-action report from this mission. If I can find it, I will post the pictures.

Mark

MightyMom said...

too cool!