Wednesday, April 11, 2007

The longest short week ever

I mistakenly wrote last week that spring has arrived in Kansas. I should have realized that writing that all but guaranteed a week of miserable, cold weather. As luck would have, the week was cold and wet, but it would take alot more than that to make me miserable since I was going home on Friday!

The week started out with another day-long brief about Iraq. There wasn’t too much new information in this PowerPoint torture show, so needless to say I was bored and restless. At the end of the day, however, I got good news - our team would be doing mounted combat patrols (MCP) for the rest of the week and wouldn’t have to sit through another 3 days of PowerPoint hell. Mounted combat patrol is basically an armed military convoy that reacts and responds to different insurgent threats. Our mission was to become familiar with a certain route and react to the situations that presented themselves. We were going to have 3 armored Humvees, two of which had either an M240B or .50 cal weapon mounted on the top. I received the mission brief the same day as the Iraq PowerPoint sleep-a-thon. That night I gave our team a synopsis of what our mission would be and we rehearsed the actions we would take during different scenarios the following day.

The next day we arrived at the site for our convoy and it was frigid. There are alot of different things to be considered before leaving on a mission, such as ensuring equipment and weapon functionality, and checking that all Soldiers have the equipment they need. I mention this because a convoy commander has alot to consider - the mission itself, the equipment, the Soldiers, and all the threats he/she might face. Our mission that day went well, even though my arm got "blown off" during on of the attacks. We got to practice giving our combat lifesaver medical aid (from the class where we learned to give IVs) and also using different communication equipment.

The next day I wasn’t in charge and was really happy since I got to be the truck gunner - the guy on top of the truck firing the big gun. This mission went very similar to the first one except in one of the scenarios the "villagers" were throwing tennis balls at us. This was supposed to simulate Iraqis throwing rocks and test our discipline on not firing at them since they weren’t official combatants. This was easy until the bastards starting pegging me in the face when I was looking for a real insurgent. It seriously hurt, and several times I got hit square in my big ass nose! I held my trigger finger though and just yelled at them to back off.

The last day was the capstone event in which we did similar training, except this time with live rounds (the previous two days we used blanks). Again, the training went well, no one got hurt and we were finally on our way home to see our families!

I will write more tomorrow about my 4 wonderful days at home. I also posted some more pictures.

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