A CLOSE ONE |
August 20, 2007
The other day we were out on patrol and for some reason had to make a stop by the Green Zone, which is this large base here in Baghdad where a lot of the Iraqi Goverment is housed. It's rare that we get to go there, but when we do it is awesome because they have a big PX and some good food we can eat. As we were pulling in, one of the guys on my team was saying how he had read on the news that the day or so before five guys were killed and 20 injured in mortar and rocket attacks there. I guess lately they have been mortaring the shit out of them.
I had already made my stop in the PX and bought what I needed, got some something at Subway, and ended up going to an area where we could sit and enjoy our food. I was talking to some others, in the middle of sharing stories from their last Iraq deployment and from my deployment to New Orleans for Katrina, when all of a sudden out of nowhere there was a loud scream for a split second and then an earth shaking BOOOOOM!!
A mortar had hit this building right next to where we were sitting, maybe 25 meters away. It was a BIG one, too. We all immediately jumped up and began running for cover, expecting more rounds. After two steps I realized I didn't have my rifle, so I stopped, grabbed it, and started running again. About half way to the bunker I realized that others had probably forgotten their weapons as well, so I turned around and went back and sure enough there were a couple. I grabbed them up, while another guy grabbed up all the bags of stuff we had bought. Wouldn't want someone stealing our stuff in the middle of a mortar attack, right? :) lol
At this point, we could tell that more rounds probably weren't coming, so we weren't in a frantic rush and were just walking to where the shelter was. Well, apparently some Air Force and FOB-dwelling "security" personel were freaking out like WW3 was underway. They were yelling at us: "GET THE FUCK IN THERE!! HURRY THE FUCK UP!! LETS GO!! NOW!!!"
We just kind of looked at them like, "Are you serious?" and continued to walk to the bunker. I guess another guy from my platoon was taking his time too and one of the Air Force girls threatened to arrest him because he wasn't getting to the bunker fast enough.
Wow. I would love to get arrested for that. There's no way I would get in any trouble, and it would be hilarious for my chain to have to come bail me out for "Failure to run durring a mortar attack". HAHAHA!
Once under cover, we saw this one kid had taken some shrapnel to his shoulder. It was nothing big, just a little bit. The funniest thing was that as the medical personel were patching him up, he was bitching up a storm about how he had just paid for his pizza and was waiting for it to cook, and now he wasn't going to get his pizza. I'm sure that Purple Heart will get him a free pizza or beer or two.
The crazy thing was that he was twice as far from the mortar as we were. It hit a building with a solid roof, and thus exploded 15 feet above the ground. It was pretty much dead on line with where we were sitting, but because we were below it all the shrapnel flew past us over our heads and ended up hitting that guy. If it had hit at ground level it could have been a very bad day for the five of us sitting there. But once again, luck or fate or whatever intervened, and we escaped totally unharmed with a crazy story to tell. That's how it is. If it doesn't kill you or hurt you it makes a great story. The question is how many great stories until it becomes a horrible story. And with war, you just never know.