It’s March 2004, I am 20 years old for about a month before all the dust settles and I am in my new room for the next year. You never hear about the long two weeks in limbo you have to spend in Kuwait. You kind of just wait around all day in a tent soaked in kerosene waiting to die, waiting to live. I spent most of my time reading the bible that I had never touched before. I guess it’s funny how certain situations can your change your perspective, change your mind on religion and your beliefs. That is neither here nor there after we left Kuwait and got to our Forward Operating Base which was named like FOB Thunder or something. When we got there, the Infantry, The Cavalry, we took over operations called it FOB HeadHunter and ultimately began taking down an army of insurgents on a street I will never forget, Haifa Street. A lot of men know about Haifa street but I want to share a little bit of my story with you. You can google Haifa and read about some of the horrible things that have reporters have had a chance to see when on patrol with us.
It is my first patrol and I realize that I know nothing about the world. I am in a different country on a street narrower than ours in the United States with houses that don’t look like houses on either side. I am surrounded by people in their country, I am a foreigner, I am a the one who is out of place. I am a big FUCKIN TARGET just like the rest of my comrades. I am not scared, not much at least, I am ready for this. I am walking down the street on a very hot April day sweating with over a hundred pounds of gear not including my weapon. I am a S.A.W. Gunner so I have over a thousand rounds on me and I don’t mind the ammo.
As we get deeper into our patrol, a patrol basically to familiarize our sector and recon the area I begin to relax. This is when the War first started so a lot was still unknown at the time so I was oddly enough excited. This IS what I had signed up for after all UNTIL… POP POP POP, I hear my first POP shots which would soon become known as bullets shot near us to keep us on our toes to see our defenses. They cut that shit out fast once they realized we were an Infantry unit and found we were catching the bastards who did it. So I have no idea whats going on I am just a Private waiting for orders. Well I just know that the guy in front of me says “let’s go, keep your distance” and I start running. Nothing spectacular, nothing too amazing but it was a very interesting first patrol. It only lasted a couple of hours but the work it takes to observe and take in everything in your sight, analyze it as threat or not can be so exhausting not to mention you have an entourage of children yelling “mister, mister, chocolata” in there Arabic accent. There are so many plains and fields of fire, avenues of approach, alleys, corners, rooftops, windows, doors, and people.
For most people walking down the street is as normal as walking down the street, but for an Infantryman it can be hell trying to filter things out of your mind that don’t make sense. I wish it was like a switch but it’s not. We are trained to survive, we are drilled and brainwashed to survive at all costs and die if we must. How can you turn that learning off when your trained to do it all the time for months at a time.
The first time I fired my weapon in a real world environment I thought I was going to die. Haifa street is a long street but there is a section that has four lanes similar to a highway in the States but it just a regular street and on both sides there are towering apartments at least six stories high each and run the length of at least a couple of football fields. I hope I have given you an idea of the setting. My Squad, KAOS, and I along with Rage Squad are one side of the four lane street and it’s about midnight and no one is on the streets. We are all getting ready to bound across the street two at a time 5 meters apart hauling ass to establish a foothold on the other side. Well I am the second guy to run across with my team leader and half way across the street I hear the 240Bravo go off which is a loud effin weapon and I see tracers start hitting the ground around me and pieces of the street breaking so I raised my SAW and shot into the second story windows where the bullets were originating from. I sprayed and prayed trying to get the enemies heads down because there was still guys following behind me. As soon as I reached the other side I hugged a pillar that was on the breeze way on the bottom floor of the apartments. I have to reload so I yell “AMMO!” the other SAW picks up the slack while I take 15 seconds to put in another nut sack, I really hate writing that but thats what they were called a 200 round drum and a 100 round nut sack, what can I say? I digress, I reload and start firing again waiting for the rest of my squad to get across. Thank God we have all made it across and just then two grenades go off seconds apart from each other and close to where I am. I wait for orders, they say the Bradleys are coming and for us to hold position. I look to my left where one of my friends is and I see a grenade bounce roll towards him bounce off his leg and over him and never explode. At that moment the world had stopped and I thought it was all over but the grenade never goes off. We both would have ate it but it never goes off.
I am very happy that so many of you have taken a liking to my blog and now I want to try to start from the beginning because we can’t have a future if we don’t understand our past and where we come from. In my next blog which I have no idea when I will write because quite honestly I am falling more and more into insanity I want to talk about who we really are and how I can give my two cents to the world before I go, or this part of me. This is my voice and I thank you all for listening./Nothing Follows/