2/16 had a CO that had been regimental XO of the Rangers (yes those Rangers), and had a bit of controversy surrounding him. Despite that, or because of that, he was determined to be the best damn battalion in the brigade, and trained hard. I, as part of 2nd Platoon "Loose Cannons" Bravo company "Bushmasters" came in almost as the unit was deploying so I didn't have to hear about the massive amount of ruck marches, or the many Marathon runs through tank trails, or really any of that. All I got was the deployment, so when the first "Ranger Walk" came down, it was something of a shock to me.
"You want me to do a 12 mile tactical dismounted march into the middle of New Baghdad with just two vehicles to cover us if we have to do the Bugout Boogie? ARE YOU NUCKING FUTS?!?!?!"
My trepidation about the whole thing got even worse, when the S-2 (intelligence) briefing came. Areas in yellow are possible IED areas, watch out for trash, as it hides IEDs and the areas in red are possible sniper locations. . . well by the time he was done the entire route was a mish-mash of yellow and red. Which lead to the moment I'm sure everyone had that went something like "oh fuck, we are all going to die."
Strangely enough the Ranger Walk (actually Operation Ranger Dominance) went off without a hitch. I was amazed at how well it went, and perhaps because I wasn't carrying my heavy ass Aid Bag, I wasn't too much the worse for wear when we got back. In fact there were no casualties at all aside from the odd heat casualty, but they were made right as rain by a few IV's. So when it came time for Ranger Walk Part 2 I wasn't too scared or upset, I just kind of rolled my eyes. Crap you want to do this again? This time however there would be specific targets and we would have Iraqi Army support.
We would also be targeting certain homes along this trip, and would be looking for bad guys. Two companies would go out and walk, doing what they were going to do and two companies would be on hand to provide support. It was one of those missions you knew was going to be long and suck hard. But at oh-dark thirty (NOT zero-dark-thirty), with NODs on, off the Bushmasters went a walking from our new COP and out into the wilds of Iraq.
|SSG Wheeler assists SGT Jubinville with his NVGs|
The mission was probably an hour and a half old, and we were stopped. I mean we stopped and waited. Now in a mission like this sitting still is not a good thing. We weren't in Fedallayah proper yet, but we were pretty close, ready to get into this small slice of the cesspool. For some reason all the vehicles were stopped at a T intersection, and seeing as I was at the tail end of the company at that point and without a radio at that point, had no idea what the hell is going on at this point. Well the sun is up, it's still early (and I'm still groggy) I'm sure that we have something important to do here.
|PFC Fernnete Pulls security over the corner that we were about to go into. He could see the problem long before I could|
It seemed like there was a trafic Jam. For some reason our vehicles weren't moving. There seemed to be a real big pow-wow, trying to figure out what was going on. What amazed me is the IA even had new vehicles we didn't even have (but soon would have) they had the new MRAPs. Well I guess the new guys need every advantage they can get. Doesn't seem to help that they don't really have a clue whats going on.
|SSG Gutierrez takes a radio call about the situation up ahead.|
Well it can't be too serious or they would have called me right. As I passed my de facto squad leader SSG Gutierrez I asked what was going on, if someone was hurt or something like that.
"Don't worry about it Doc" he told me.
Then I turned the corner and saw it. and OH. MY. GOD! I bust out laughing, despite the fact that we were still in the middle of a serious mission. Why? well see for yourself.
|SGT T and "Fish" had a little accident.|
|Poor SGT T was up to his elbows quite literally in shit.|
Eventually it was figured out that pulling it forward wasn't going to work, they had to pull it back the way it came. it took almost a half hour to get the damn thing out of that foul pit, and the crowd of locals that had gathered actually cheered laughing when we did. I guess everyone cheers for guys in a shitty situation.
The mission went on to be a bit of a cluster *bleep* from trying to open a safe with an axe
to being asked to search the areas that a bunch of surly cows were occupying giving me the stink eye.
by the time we were around the corner from our COP I had seen enough shit to last me a life time. I mean we're talking some heavy shit here. I think I'm going to have to have a talk with some Vietnam Veterans, because I have to tell you "Getting in the shit" must've sucked as much for them as it did for me. We didn't get back to "friendly" areas for a long time, but when we did we were all tired.
It was at this point that SGT T actually started to puke his guts out. It was getting to the point that he couldn't even hold water down. I was brought up to see if he was alright but seeing as we were less than 300 meters from out COP it was decided he could wait. He wasn't really in a position to argue. So we might've walked a little faster to get back, and get him looked at. As soon as he got his shit (IBA K-pot etc, but after the day I wonder why we call it that) off I was on him like a fly on stink. Well he was tachycardic and his BP was low so he was obviously dehydrated. Time for an IV. Well here comes my Platoon Sergeant who loves giving IV's.
SGT T gets to be a pincushion subject for our PSG. We hadn't even gotten the sweat off our uniforms and and there was SFC Mays jumping into give an IV. There's a reason Medics call CLS (Combat Life Saver) people "Combat Life Takers". There's something truly scary about an infantryman coming to give someone an IV. Even more terrifying if they are excited about doing it! Well SGT T could say officially he had had a truly shitty day, and I can say that until the day I die I will have a reason to laugh.
Nice pictures Doc!
I got to the BDE when it was still flagged as 6/25th, and everybody's command element was in the BDE HQ building. From my perspective, count yourself lucky that you missed the growing pains.
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