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.


September 20, 2007

Name: Teflon Don
Posting date: 9/20/07
Returning from: Ramadi, Iraq
Milblog url:

In the early hours of the morning, the last soldiers of our task force caught their flights out of Camp Taqqadum and left our work in Iraq to others. Badger 6 has a post up over at Badgers Forward summarizing the year for our company. I'll do a post of my own sometime in the next few weeks with more detail.

Here are the stats, from B6:

Missions Performed -- 647
Improvised Explosive Devices Reduced -- 458
Kilometers Traveled -- 51,135

To put those numbers in perspective:

Our missions lasted anywhere from two to 60 hours, but were commonly around eight (not including two hours prep time for each mission). The longest mission any platoon conducted without stopping for rest was somewhere around 24 hours. Those kilometers rolled by at a glacial pace that rarely exceeded 30 kilometers per hour and was often much slower. Most importantly, we believe that each bomb we found potentially saved between one and five American or Iraqi lives. That means that our company alone could easily have saved over 2,000 lives.

We brought 102 men to war, if my memory serves. Among those, 97 experienced at least one attack by the enemy and earned the Combat Action Badge. All three of our medics earned the Combat Medical Badge, for giving medical aid in combat. Those same medics helped save the lives of several of our soldiers -- 35 of 102 received a Purple Heart for wounds received during an engagement with the enemy.

Sadly, three of our best were killed in action.

We are going home.

Editor's note: A Sandbox salute to frequent contributors Teflon Don and  LT Carl Goforth, who are headed stateside, and Eric Coulson, who has volunteered to stay in Iraq for another 10 months with a different unit. Thank you for your service and for all your great posts -- please keep 'em coming.


Thanks and good luck.
I have appreciated the
time and the story you
given us.

I always worried and wondered if you would make it out of there. I'm really glad you have survived this part, now you've got the rest of your life to tackle. Please make a serious effort to go slow and easy whenever possible. Really! Goodgoodgood luck!

Welcome home.

Welcome home, bro. Glad you're back, I have been greatly informed by your blogs at the Sandbox. Wish I'd had the opportunity to have a voice while in Vietnam.

The way I describe my reaction to my time in Vietnam might be relevant to your experience--or not. I tell folks, "wouldn't wish it on anyone, wouldn't take it out of my life. Made me who I am."

Again, welcome home.

Dear Teflon Don,

Welcome Home! Maybe you are already here, I hope so.

Thank you for your service and for your sacrifices.
Here's wishing you much happiness as you come back to the world at home.


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