Ramadi Part II – Shitty Shane...

Sep 25, 2012 by

HET Two’s attitude was pretty demoralized after me and Jason got hit with the IED. That attitude was reinforced a week or so later when one of our team members, ‘Shitty’ Shane, went on patrol with Echo Company Two/Four. Shane was a great guy, but he got the nickname from the invasion the previous year when he routinely stepped in shit. Dog shit. Goat shit. Donkey shit. Human shit. Shit is everywhere in Iraq and, somehow, he always ended up stepping in it. It seemed he couldn’t avoid it (though, everyone else could). The Echo Company platoon he was with started up a side street in a fairly suburban neighborhood, just a little bit outside the city. They had good disbursement, they were alert, it was a textbook two-column patrol formation. And then they...

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Darkness

Apr 27, 2012 by

Darkness in war is a combatant, and it switches sides at random. The Iraqis didn’t have night-vision equipment and we did, so in that way the night worked for us. But night-vision only lets you see if there is at least some ambient light or illumination from an infrared beam, and there are nights in Iraq so dark opening your eyes doesn’t change a thing. The IR beam from the night-vision goggles is narrow, focused, and limited to a very small area wherever it is directed. Even with technology, the Iraqi night is an uncertain friend. On one of those nights a few days after the sandstorm we bivouacked on the shoulder of the highway.  The fuel trucks had finally caught up with us and LtCol Mundy decided to have the entire battalion fuel up throughout...

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Sandstorm

Apr 20, 2012 by

This excerpt happened prior to the rescue of the POW’s, so it’s a little out of order. J.E. On March 25th one of the largest sandstorms in Iraqi history covered half of the country, halting our advance on Baghdad. I don’t know how it affected the Army’s progress, but the entire First Marine Division was stopped just south of Ad Diwaniyah. There’s no way to adequately describe an Iraqi sandstorm, let alone a legendary one. Me and the team were focused on interrogations, so we didn’t notice the dust roll in at first. But the sky turned red in the middle of the day, and by 1500 (3pm) we realized the weather was unusual. The dust got progressively worse, and the sky became darker and darker. The landscape, what we could see of it,...

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First Interrogation

Apr 9, 2012 by

Before you read this post, I’d like to reiterate my earlier disclaimer. Not everything in this memoir is true, and some of it is intentionally distorted or altered. This memoir is intended to relate my impressions and thoughts on combat and the war in general. It is not a detailed or literal account of exactly what happened in the war. In other words, sometimes I make shit up for literary effect. enjoy, J.E. My first interrogation was the next day, or the day after, I’m not really sure. It was a junior militia fighter who gave up all his information to direct questioning. No waterboarding needed, no real technique applied, there was no time to do either, anyway. We had Marines advancing and we needed information. Force protection was the priority, which meant finding out...

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First Fight

Mar 29, 2012 by

The first real action Three/Five saw was south of Ad Diwaniyah, around March 23rd or 24th.  I wish I could remember how far south, but things were blurry and both time and distance were distorted. I had never been in the infantry, like most of the other guys on my counterintelligence team. I had been an intel geek for five years and had never done serious time in the field. After the debacle of the border crossing and the first couple of days of the war, HUMINT Exploitation Team Three (HET 3) had sorted itself out and we were back in our assigned trucks. Me, Matt, Jason and my linguist Johnny Nano were with the rear element while Nate (1st Lt Boaz) commanded the forward truck, driven by Randy with Kris and Ra’ad in...

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