The Sandbox

GWOT hot wash, straight from the wire

Welcome to The Sandbox, a forum for service members who have served or are currently serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, returned vets, spouses and caregivers. The Sandbox's focus is not on policy and partisanship (go to our Blowback page for that), but on the unclassified details of deployment -- the everyday, the extraordinary, the wonderful, the messed-up, the absurd. All correspondence is read, and as much as possible is posted, lightly edited. If you know someone who is deployed who might have something to say, please tell them about us. To submit a post click here.

A CLOSE ONE |

August 20, 2007

A CLOSE ONE
Name: Eddie
Posting date: 8/20/07
Stationed in: Baghdad, Iraq
Hometown: Phoenix, AZ
Milblog url: airborneparainf82.blogspot.com
Email: airborneparainf82@blogspot.com

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.

Comments

I guess you have to laugh after something like this. To consider the alternative is just too hard.

Glad you're okay and the injured guy wasn't hurt too bad.

Say, if things are going so well in Iraq, shouldn't the parliament be able to meet outside of a heavily fortified encampment?

Thanks for the Memories - I was in Vietnam in 67-68 and we used to call your experience "good karma."

Thanks also for your efforts - y'all come home soon

Wow, that is an incredible story of your encounter. I haven't read many soldier's stories until today, but each one strikes me in a different way. Glad your ok and everyone around you too, thats pretty amazing how each person reacts differently. Bet you'll have some laughs about those "security" people for a while! My thoughts and prayers are with you. Good luck

I'm glad you guys were ok! It was funny what with you bein threatened with arrest for not running though. I don't think I'll ever forget that! Peace be with you

Great story - another wracked up for the future, and God willing the rest of your deployment will add many more great stories, omitting the other kind entirely!! Just discovered that "On the Loose" = Eddie; thanks for the story, Eddie; stay safe, God bless...

That was one crazy story! I’ m glad to hear there weren’t any serious injuries. Good luck and God Bless!

Wow, I'm amazed that are able to retell the story as though it was an everday, anywhere experience. It's amazing how you act to help others who have made mistakes without giving a second thought to it.
Good luck, God bless.

Great part about the guy bitching about his pizza, classic military humor right there. Glad to see that everyone was ok besides that guy's shoulder.

Great part about the guy bitching about his pizza, classic military humor right there. Glad to see that everyone was ok besides that guy's shoulder.

A serviceman named Eddie describes his experiences while on a rest stop in the
Green Zone. As a member of the military, and as someone who has been there two times and is heading back real soon, I can tell you this much, there is nothing like getting a slice of Pizza Hut pizza or a Burger King Burger when you get the chance. These companies have small mobile home type trailer that have been converted to use for making and selling food and they are usually parked next the PX along with other trailers for haircuts and souvenirs. And yes, GI’s will steal your stuff!

Well Eddie, I hope that that horrible story never come for you or anyone else in the war. I love your stories and how you can find humor in a terrifying experience. “Failure to run during a mortar attack” would be the funniest charge ever in history. I’m glad that everyone made it out safe. Thank you so much for serving our country. Stay safe! My prayers are with you guys and gals.

I am glad that there is still humor in your heart, great story. Hope your stories stay that way. Good luck!

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