Day breaks and we roll sevens on the craps table again. Basically it’s a dramatic story to only those not involved. The sun is rising and we’re patrolling again, searching out for the mortar men responsible for the New Year’s Eve fiasco. Apparently this mortar crew has been at it for a week straight now, and they were not varying their point of origin by much. Foolish they are for thinking they can get away with such patterns.
“This is Deathdealer 2-6, dismounting time now at our current location, how copy over?”
“Roger Deathdealer 2-6, Deathdealer Base, out.”
Our dismounts were out over watching several locations the mortar team had fired from. I had lost visual contact from the humvees for almost twenty minutes, not seeing any sign of the dismounted element.
It was a chilly morning, not how you would imagine Iraq. There was a little bit of frost on the ground, and the breath steamed like a slow burnt cigarette being exhaled from my mouth. It was still calm though. An Iraqi holiday, coupled with low temperatures, kept most of the local populace inside.
It had been going on thirty minutes without a visual. I was getting prepared to make a communications check with my dismounted element, which consisted of the platoon upper leadership, and a small fire team. As soon as I picked up the hand microphone to call the platoon leader on the radio a deafening explosion went off. I felt the shockwave in my chest, and it dissipated throughout my entire body. I paused to wait for a break in radio silence, hoping that no one in my platoon had been hit. The longest 4 seconds of my life passed by in terms of radio silence.
Each platoon varies its own tactics, techniques, and procedures to help combat patterns the enemy can exploit us with. It's how we flex to beat the enemy at its own game. This is where lady luck looked as if she would strike again… for my platoon at least.
Had it been thirty minutes longer our patrol would have been coming to an end, and we would have been the ones to travel that route back to the outpost. It would have been our lead truck instead of theirs. It would have been my guys and I to find a little more than we bargained for…
We were lucky. Again.
It just so happens that the one light infantry platoon attached to my heavy weapons company is the platoon my best friend is in. It’s a bittersweet taste having my brother, my closest friend with me at my outpost. It was his truck that was hit. And as luck would have it again, he just happened to not be on patrol with them. No one was seriously hurt or injured.
And these are the days that faith, religion, and spirituality come from within to look for all those answers. As I quote to my guys, “Don’t ask questions you don’t want answers for…”