Monday, February 16, 2009
I'll be over here:
Again, I can't thank you enough for all the support I have gotten from my readers. I especially want to thank those who I have not met, and continue to support everything I do. For now, I'm waiting.
For the people and government of America (S.P.Q.A.)
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
Monday, December 22, 2008
The Secretary of the Army has reposed special trust and confidence in the patriotism, valor, fidelity, and professional excellence of Anthony Vaccariello. In view of these qualities and his demonstrated leadership potential and dedicated service to the U.S. Army, he is therefore, promoted from Sergeant to Staff Sergeant…
Promotion is effective 1 Jan 2009.
It's a bit early, but somehow it makes missing my third Christmas in a row not sting nearly as bad.
I have just downloaded a new gadget for my Windows Vista side bar. The magic eight ball continues to tell me to ‘ask again later.’ Damn.
My future is uncertain. I came down on recruiting orders from the Department of the Army. This means that I have been picked by the 'Big Army' to personally select recruits joining the force. However, I still can’t foresee myself being a salesman for the Army. What if the Army made a mistake?
What if my purpose is to lead soldiers in combat?
Every moment in my life up to this point has been a preparation for this. On R & R leave, I couldn’t shake the feeling that I needed to be doing something. I felt the need to continuously be on the road. I drove my car around several hours a day with no purpose, aimlessly. I’d get to one place, and decide to go to another. I was still patrolling in my mind.
I’m a line dog, a grunt. I talk shit daily, sweat profusely, eat four meals a day, and patrol the streets of Baghdad. I train Soldiers, lead Soldiers, fight besides Soldiers. I give Soldiers purpose, direction, and motivation. I support Soldiers mentally, socially, and spiritually. I have taken lives, guilty and innocent. I know the feeling of loss, and I know the successes of this war. This is all I know.
The 82nd is known to be one of the most respected Army divisions. In fact, members of the 82nd strictly refer to it as “The Division.” Well, I gave my offer to the 82nd Airborne last night. They will be doing a 12 month tour in Iraq as our replacements. I have been requested to stay. I accepted. I will know within 48 hours if my zip code will still include APO-AE.
I must have patience.
Patience is a virtue that is molded by experience in… waiting. The low risen moon has been a faithful partner. The deep slow churn of the Chinook blades slicing through the winter air draws close. The sound pans to the left and to the right. It’s an unmistakable sign of change. Soon, the blare of helicopters will transition into children and wives laughing, smiling. My Soldiers will be on their way home soon.
I will not be lonely, though my arms remain empty. Every smile, every kiss, every hug that one of my Soldiers embrace – will be mine to embrace too. Whether I’m back in the states, or still out here in bat country, I know this for sure…
I’ve kept my promise.
More than thirteen months have passed during this journey. I’ll know in the next two days whether or not I’m making a new promise.
Saturday, October 4, 2008
Evening prayer has come to an end. Darkness falls silent in the rural outskirts of Baghdad tonight. The moon is only a sickle, a sliver of light. The rooftops are barren. The temperature has cooled off enough to sleep inside again; stiff backs and necks - no longer. Slowly but surely the people begin to doze off in the comfort of their beds. The locals enjoyed their Sunday night relaxing as usual, as work beckons in the morning.
The stillness of the evening is as deceitful as it is pleasant. Nearby, several military vehicles stop at an intersection for their checks. The lights on the front vehicle materialized; as if to let their presence be acknowledged. It was only moments later that the lights disappeared, and the trucks vanished into the darkness of night.
The Iraqi National Police on duty stir restlessly at the intersection, enjoying a content night of cigarettes and sugared hot tea. Curfew keeps their watch mind-numbing at best. To break the monotony, the police examine the vicinity where the American vehicles had just stopped. The policemen are mildly disappointed to walk back fruitless. There’s nothing to see here.
Just another lifeless night.
Finally, all that damned half-assed singing is over. I might actually be able to catch some rack before we take off out of here tonight. We’re all set and ready to go. I’m just waiting on the go ahead for emplacement. The commander says we have about four hours till the fireworks kick off. We’ll be prepared. It is nap time now.
Three hours and some change later.
Alright. It’s time to get spun up folks. It’s time to do our final checks. Devil Company is inserting us tonight. We’ve all got to cram into one vehicle. They’re going to stop at our house for no longer than is necessary. It should be empty. It should be easy. Let’s get piled in the truck.
Lock and load. Let’s make this smooth.
The Truck Commander just said we’re two mikes out from our house.
“Hey you two, we’ve got people behind us. Whatever you do, don’t eat shit jumping out the back of this truck.”
Everyone get ready to jump ship.
Truck one pulls up and throws the headlights on. We’re right behind them in the next truck. The third truck pulls up to screen our exit.
Go! Go! Go!
We filed out to the front of our house like ducks in a row. The breach man kicked the gate in within a few seconds, and we entered in the courtyard. Luckily, the truck engines were growling loud enough to conceal our entry clatter. A broken door window later and we’re in the house.
Looks empty. No lights, no furniture, and not a thing that would make us think anyone is living here. Good. That means no more noise.
The upstairs is clear. The roof is clear. Alright, it’s time to set up security down here. Let’s get that machinegun upstairs in the second story bay window. Don’t silhouette yourself, gunner!
Within a minute the house is clear, and the trucks get a call on the radio to take off.
“You two, good job not eating shit on the way in. Take these stun grenades. Anyone that’s not in a uniform get’s one for a midnight snack. Curfew is in effect. Don’t fuck this up.”
The snipers are getting set up on the roof. We’re watching North, East, and South - religiously.
“What the shit, keep it down!”
“Sergeant, the National Police are looking around outside.”
“Shhh. They’re just looking around where the trucks stopped.. sit still”
“Hey bro, the charges for our loopholes are set. We’re just waiting on the cue from the birds.”
The snipers were going to take advantage of the birds overhead. Their engines roar loud as hell when they fly over, stirring up dust and debris everywhere. With so many Blackhawks, we’ll have at least a bit of a distraction to mask us.
“Alright, give us a heads up down here when you’re gonna blow em. I don’t want joe freakin the fuck out.”
The radio traffic picks up for a minute. Birds are inbound. Five minutes out… we wait.
Two minutes out, the radio sputters.
“They’re two minutes out from the objective. It’s time. Thirty seconds!”
“Thirty seconds, guys.”
As the woof of the choppers grew closer and closer the fuse on the charges became shorter and shorter. The birds were nearly over us, and the timing was precise. The charges ignited, blasting holes in the roof walls, and shaking the building foundation like a small earthquake. Perfect. The holes were just big enough to get our angles.
As covert as our specific mission was that night, we weren’t the important portion at all. Our part was minuscule in comparison to what was actually taking place. This big picture unfolded just a few thousand meters away.
Twelve helicopters flew over in three groups of four. It was combined operations with the Iraqi National Police and the United States Army. It was the first time I’ve seen such amazing cooperation in tactics and in mission between both of our forces. I watched as the Iraqis trained side by side with us to posture, load, and unload from Blackhawk helicopters just like we do. I watched as the Iraqis executed their operations – just like we do.
They’re getting it.
It’s just another solid foothold in this country that the Iraqis have won for themselves. Yeah, sure, big brother is here to help, but we’re not forcing them. Their pride speaks volumes. Progress folks. Solid progress.
Soon the Iraqi birds overhead will be doing their own Air Assault operations. And maybe we’ll be the ones who are none the wiser. It'll just be another lifeless night.
The sun came creeping up hastily this morning. It’s rack time. Tomorrow could have waited just a tiny.. bit... longer....
Friday, October 3, 2008
You need any more flares?
How about smoke? Are you good on smoke?
Well, I’ve got the radio set up, checked with extra batteries and encryption too.
Awesome man, thanks.
So we’ve got 2 sniper rifles with day and night scopes, a machine gun with a 120 round starter bandoleer, 800 rounds linked for machine gun, 16 high explosive rifle grenades, 4 pressure charges, 3 trip flares, 3 pin flares, 3 star cluster flares, 2 hand grenades, and 6 M4 carbines with a full basic load at 210 rounds a piece?
Think that will be enough?
Let’s do this.
And the fun begins.