MORTAR MORNINGS |
October 13, 2006
Author: SPC O
Posting date: 10/13/2006
Stationed in: Iraq
Hometown: Washington D.C.
You're frozen. For a split second every muscle in your body tenses, and your mind draws a blank. Was that incoming? Wait for the alarm. If it was an incoming round, the siren blares off with a recorded voice and electronic bell "Incoming! Incoming! Incoming! Bing bing bing. Incoming! Incoming! Incoming!" Stay calm, get to cover, listen for the splash, look at your buddies and smile....Wait.
Everybody has their own "So there I was getting mortared" story. I was once pulling gate guard on my little FOB with a young infantry private I had never met before. We sat in a 113 (Armored Personnel Carrier) that acted as the gate. If someone needed to get on or off the FOB you just started the vehicle and threw it in reverse, let them drive by, then pulled back into your place. So there we sat one morning. I was in the driver's hatch and Pfc. L was behind me in the crew compartment with his SAW. We heard the first round strike about 100m's away, inside the FOB. We looked around for someone to tell: "There's incoming!!"
Another round strikes, this one closer, only 50m's away. We heard it whistle before it hit. I looked over "Dude, get your fuckin' hatch closed!" So there we were, an Infantryman and a Scout, neither of us having been on a 113 before, pulling punching slamming and smashing these hatches that refuse to come down over us to help aid in our protection. The familiar whistle is coming, I hit over his kevlar "Just get down!"
Just as we got our heads below the armor, the round struck not 10 meters from us, the dirt and shrapnel sprayed the vehicle and a cloud of dust descended on us. As me and this guy I've never met before huddled in our convertible armored vehicle we laughed with each other as he gave me the requisite "I love you, man". I dusted some earth off his helmet as we heard the next round whistle over. It landed farther away. That was it. We poked our heads out of our shelter to survey what was left of the earth, and our backup, about 20m's behind us came running up: "Medic!!! Are you guys okay in there? Oh holy shit, we thought you guys were done for sure!" Our gate took a nice peppering, but that was it. We all sat around and had a good laugh about how the 113 had instantly vanished from their eyes in a cloud of dust and black smoke. I've had some close calls, but in all the times I've been mortared that was the closest one.
Well, that's my opener for stories. If anyone back home reads this: If you're too far right to make any sense, leave me alone, and if you're too far left to make any sense, leave me alone. It's easy to say "WE have to go to war" if you're not WE, and it's easy to say "Bring home the troops" if they are not your brothers getting left behind on the return trip.