No announcement yet.

April 4

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • April 4

    Every year I make the same thread because every year I find myself thinking about it again. I tried to find the one from last year so I didn't have to make another couldn't find it.

    April 4, 2004. Black Sunday in Sadr City, Iraq. The deadliest day in the Iraq War up to that point. The Long Road Home book and mini series did a decent job of showing what went on but it was so much more just being there. I rolled out in response to one of our platoons being pinned down because some Iraqi lady offered one of our guys water. That pissed off insurgents so they opened fire. Our guys could have left and saved their own lives but...they stayed and fought to protect that family. The one who offered them water and for that, were sentenced to death.

    Rolling into the city of over 5 million, the streets, usually teeming with people, were empty. No horse drawn carts, no cars. No street vendors. No people. Nothing. It was ghostly empty and the city was quiet. Ever been in a perfectly silent city? It's unsettling. We rounded a corner headed for our guys and I was in the turret of a soft skin HWMV with my SAW and I saw a little girl, 8 or 9, black hair, white shin length dress or undershirt with one of those big, 1980's phones held to her ear. She waved to me and I waved back. I didn't think anything about it because "We're the US Army." I didn't know she was calling ahead.

    We rolled through until we hit a roadblock of cars across the street. You could tell they'd just been pulled across and left and we had just combat loads. I had 1,000 rounds on me, everyone else had 210 rounds and our tracks had 200 rounds of 7.62 and maybe 20 rounds of 25mm. That's it. We went on a rescue mission with that. I called down to my TC (truck commander) "Hey, remember what we were taught about kill zones?"


    "What was that again?"

    "Don't go back through a kill zone.'

    'What are we about to do?"

    "Go back through a kill zone."

    "Roger. Just checking."

    I knew it was wrong. It felt wrong. We were being herded but if we wanted to get to our guys who were actively engaged, we had to go around this. Backtracking, we found our path backwards blocked by flaming tires and thick, black smoke. Then the shots came. At first, they weren't anywhere near. I didn't even have a reason to look for someone to shoot at because someone shooting in Iraq wasn't that big of a deal. Then it started pinging off the truck. That's when there was a problem.
    I wear a Fez. Fez-es are cool

  • #2
    My truck started taking fire, the kevlar of the roof started chipping off around me and I didn't return fire because my training demanded I know who I was shooting at, where they were, what was behind them so there was no collateral damage of property or innocent life. I was scanning every which way for where the shots were coming from when I saw the guy who shot me.

    A couple of stories up and less than a hundred meters away, a guy leaned up from the top off a roof and just did a magazine dump from his AK from side to side. I remember thinking "That's stupid. He's not aiming at anyone." So I was watching when this black dot came screaming at me and I watched it get closer, in slow motion wondering what it was. There's a reason it's called bullet time. I could watch it get closer and closer until it snapped my head back, just below my kevlar and above my Wiley X's. The impact bounced me against the back of the turret and then I saw red.

    For the first time in my life, I felt everything absolutely clear. I was furious but it was focused on just one thing and at that moment, just one person. When he stood back up to take another shot, training took over and I heard my Drill in my head "Put your sights on your target, breathe normally, at the bottom of your exhalation, squeeze your trigger. 6 to 9 round burst to keep it controllable." And it was. I watched him fall from the roof.

    I wasn't the only one watching him fall. I dont' remember how many stood up where he was to look over the roof to see him fall, but I hammered that roof with 5.56 rounds until I watched them drop. A part of me calmly reached over and hit the turret release so I could free spin and I just picked my targets, controlling my bursts to make sure I hit what I was aiming at and that same voice was keeping count of rounds fired, acknowledged the slight push back of rounds impacting the SAPE plates on my chest and back as I opened the feed tray cover and slid in another drum. Slow is smooth, smooth is fast.

    I don't know how long this went on for. Time really doesn't work the same during those moments, hours, minutes. A heartbeat is a lifetime and a minute is forever. My SAW never jammed once, never refused to fire and dealt it's furious chorus without missing a beat. I grayed out when I had expended my last round. I think the weapon firing kept me focused and when it was spent, I was too.

    I slid down beside one of the guys in the back and I recall him saying "You're hit."

    "Yeah, I think I am."

    He stood up and immediately took a graze to the cheek. I remember him dropping down and screaming he was hit and how funny it was because his claim to fame was he was from "LA and was Gangsta Yo!" The guy who was always talking about how hard he was and how it was in LA was griping about a scratch on his face. I told him to get back in the gun and took his M16 and then blacked out.

    I woke up in a security halt, the truck was empty. I climbed out and propped myself up on the front of the truck's brush guard with the back SAPE plate and pulled security. I remember it being difficult because one eye wanted to close and my head was screaming at me to just sleep. A medic came by and asked if I was okay and I told him to help the others. I knew something was wrong but I didn't know what. I knew I had a headache, knew my night vision goggles on my chest were shattered so I'd taken hits to the chest and I didn't feel right but that was it.

    The medic came back around and told me that I had a round sticking out of my head and put a pressure bandage on me and helped me to a Bradley. It was so full of people, because we had lost so many vehicles, that the back hatch couldn't close completely and the turret couldn't spin because my head was in the turret door. Which was fine, we were out of ammo for the 25mm anyway.

    Rolling out, I remember a loud 'bang' and then another from the other side. Evidently the reactive armor that we had put on a few weeks before had taken RPG hits and blew the blast away from us. IF it hadn't been for it, the armor of the Bradley wouldn't have been enough to protect us from 1 much less 2 hits from RPG's.

    The rest is a running and driving firefight with ammo down to black levels, my brothers taking injuries and losing their lives and then me seeing the ramp finally drop back at the FOB with (then) Col Volesky asking for Volunteers to go back out after a refit to make them pay for picking a fight with 2/5 Cav.
    I wear a Fez. Fez-es are cool


    • #3
      I remember grabbing a hold of the seat I was leaning against and saying "I'll go sir."

      "Where's your weapon?"

      "No idea sir."

      "What weapon system?"

      "SAW sir."

      He came back a bit later with, what turned out to be my SAW somehow. Evidently my truck made it back with the SAW still mounted. He told me if I could walk to it, I could have it and he'd roll with me back into the city to settle things. I took one step and fell on my face and slid down the ramp. I remember arms picking me up and carrying me to the medic's station.

      The medic pulled the bandage off and evidently I called him "Snoopy" because, honestly, that is what my friends have told me I called him. He loaded me up with morphine and prepared me for evac to Baghdad via Blackhawk. On the way, in the middle of the night and high as a kite, they told me to watch the blades and I remember thinking, as I watched those black blades spin in the orange mercury lights "Those are so pretty." No seatbelt, no door closed, I was put in the chopper and, I died

      I woke up sometime later to a female medic zipping me into a body bag. I had a casualty number written on my face and was about half zipped up when I opened my eyes so I just had a set of tits in my face in a very tight brown shirt. Before my eyes could focus properly I asked for her number. She screamed, I screamed, she called for help to get me out of the bag and put me in another pile, to prepare for evac to Germany.
      I wear a Fez. Fez-es are cool


      • #4
        Thanks for posting Frost.


        • #5
          It helps to share this instead of keep it inside and this time of the year is when I feel it's appropriate
          I wear a Fez. Fez-es are cool


          • #6
            thanks for sharing.


            • #7
              My heart was racing the whole time I read it. Thanks for sharing.
              Originally posted by Leah
              Best balls I've had in my mouth in a while.


              • #8
                This better not be fake since I read that wall of text!


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Blandnuts View Post
                  This better not be fake since I read that wall of text!
                  Nope. It's my day on 04/04/04
                  I wear a Fez. Fez-es are cool


                  • #10
                    Thanks for sharing, Frosty...
                    Originally posted by Silverback
                    Look all you want, she can't find anyone else who treats her as bad as I do, and I keep her self esteem so low, she wouldn't think twice about going anywhere else.


                    • #11
                      Thanks for the share. You're the coolest guy that I've ever met off from this board.


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by JC316 View Post
                        Thanks for the share. You're the coolest guy that I've ever met off from this board.
                        Well fuck, there went my day.


                        • #13
                          Dang man, I had heard parts of your story before, but never so thorough and well written.

                          Thanks for sharing that, and thanks for doing more than your part to serve our country.


                          • #14
                            Not a lot of people understand the concept of an "alive day". It's not something to really brag about, but it's definitely something to be glad you have. I have two: 4/18/95, and 6/12/02.
                            I'm certainly glad to have you still around, Jim.
                            "It is in truth not for glory, nor riches, nor honours that we are fighting, but for freedom - for that alone, which no honest man gives up but with life itself."


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by helosailor View Post
                              Not a lot of people understand the concept of an "alive day". It's not something to really brag about, but it's definitely something to be glad you have. I have two: 4/18/95, and 6/12/02.
                              I'm certainly glad to have you still around, Jim.
                              I'm glad to have you around as well. Guys, I will ask just one thing of you all if you would.

                              Lift a glass or, if you don't drink, pause a moment tomorrow for my brothers who were injured or didn't make it home and their families. That's all. Drink to their honor or pause to remember their sacrifice.
                              I wear a Fez. Fez-es are cool