Thursday, November 20, 2003

Ambushes, Photo Ops, and the Regimental Mortician

20 November, 2003

“You don’t want to see me again,” said a husky white sergeant as he was leaving after putting a new code into the encrypted radio, “I’m the regimental mortician.” I looked over at my assistant and he looked back with a look of disbelief. This guy handles all the dead bodies of soldiers that get killed in our area. He seemed pretty proud of his profession as he announced his “real” job and received the desired effect as shown by our expressions. This was actually a few weeks ago, but I keep meaning to write about it.
There has also been an increase in roadside bombs being found or explode. In our zones alone there have been over 45 attacks. We’ve been busy spotting bombs and calling EOD (Explosives Ordinance Disposal). It’s become pretty commonplace.
“The bomb guy walked right up to the box, kicked it over, and said ‘It’s only fuses!’” 1LT Frasier told us about how the EOD man just walked up to the box, spotted on the side of the road with wires protruding from it, and opened it with his foot without a care. It turned out to be an attempted IED. Someone put some fuses together with wires connected to 4 D-cell batteries. It didn’t work, needless to say, but it just shows how routine the work is with these IEDs.
The Iraqi Police are helping more and more with detecting the bombs. Even an Iraqi civilian walked up to one bomb and just started taking it apart. The bomb makers are getting more sophisticated though. Wires are being cemented into explosives, circuits are tamper proof, and dummy bombs are being placed to lure in U.S. forces so the bombers can observe how we respond to IEDs.
Just last week, a full ambush occurred when 3 trucks from our unit passed under a pedestrian bridge and an IED exploded on the side of the road and then gunmen with Ak-47’s opened up on the freeway from both sides near the old Saddam Fedayeen compound. Then, mortar rounds started dropping down on the road in front of the convoy. No one was injured, because the attack was clumsy and inaccurate. We’ve been so lucky, even as other units continue to lose soldiers. We’re not lucky – we’re blessed.
“Get with PSYOPS and have them arrange a meeting with the local mosque leaders,” LTC Jagger said. “Get some media too. We need to get some pictures of some of these anti-American clerics accepting aid from American soldiers. And next time they start talking shit, we’ll just post posters with their picture accepting U.S. aid from soldiers.” I don’t know if this actually materialized, but it was a plan. It actually makes sense, because these clerics can stab you in the back. The photo up would be a way to counter the imam’s dirty tricks. The clerics all think of themselves as gang bosses. They’re full of crap though.
As for life in Baghdad, things are getting cooler – temperature wise. It’s actually becoming cold at night, with magnificent crystal clear nights and brilliant lights of stars. The nights are cold, and it reminds me of Germany, of you and me walking in wintertime – I can almost feel you next to me. It’s like when you smell something that reminds you of a grandparent’s house, a sound echoes in the wind that reminds you of a festival. Well the chill, the cool, crisp breeze, it all reminds me of us walking in the evening – back from downtown, just after work. I love you, and I love the way we’re in love. Muah! Ich liebe Dich.


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