Medicine Soldier

A View from Iraq


The Longest Day

I woke up yesterday at about 5:30 in the morning, after an explosion or report of some roadside bomb in the area. I am getting used to hearing explosions around our camp, often followed by some gunfire. It is often conversation while we are brushing our teeth in the shower trailer. In any event, we sent out a patrol to assess the situation. I could not fall back to sleep so I started some of my morning chores and went to the normal meetings. The afternoon was more exciting because we spent the afternoon packing a shipping container with all our non-essential gear. Everything had to be clean, inspected, and sealed for shipping. Hopefully the container will meet us home. After that was done, I ran around camp helping the platoons get ready for a night mission. I did not really get a chance to eat lunch or dinner; I managed to squeeze in some peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

We ended up conducting a raid in the wee hours of the morning. It was a little fireworks to kick off Ramadan, but the mission justified our reason for being here. There were reports of suspected terrorists visiting somewhere near our camp. As I have been busy trying to organize our movement back home, I was not sure what part I would play in the raid, but I ended up running the paddy wagon. It is kind of amazing, after trying to visualize the missions through the rehearsals, to actually see it come together in a good way. It actually went how Black Hawk Down should have gone. We only had a piece of the mission, but everyone did their part and it went well. After sneaking and waiting for hours, I hit the ground out of my truck to hear the early morning prayers broadcasting over megaphones. I approached the raid teams crunching through the sand and trash on the ground. Blindfolded and startled, our captives waited while we negotiated them one by one into the truck. I never really thought myself much of a police officer, and I thought about how dehumanizing it must be to stand almost naked amongst armored strangers yelling words they don't understand. Still, I am sure I gave them more consideration than they for their would-be victims.

After processing them into our "county lock up", I wandered back to our company area to make sure all the lights were off in the vehicles and make sure they were locked. Then I went to the operations center and convinced them to let me turn in my reports early so I could get some sleep. Now it is over 24 hours later and I am ready for a nap. At least it has been cooler here; the lows have been in the 70s and a high of only 95.

posted by Scott | 05:44 Baghdad time | © 10.06.2005
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