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.


June 18, 2008

Name: Gruntshit
Posting date: 6/18/08
Stationed in: Iraq
Hometown: Clarkston, Washington
: The Angry American

We made if off of Rocketmiya. We made it off and trust me, haaj gave us a pretty sweet send off.

We had our CIB (Combat Infantry Badge) ceremony early on in the afternoon. The SGM and BC had just finished with my Squad and started on 3rd when I hear the faint but familiar screeching of a rocket flying over head. The alarm failed to register that one until it hit, and I laughed out loud and thought to myself, "Hell ya! Our platoon would get rocketed during the CIB ceremony." The SGM yelled out "Incoming!" just as the siren started to blare. We all broke ranks and hauled ass for cover, most of us laughing. Simmons was right behind me and I yelled "Stay away from me you son of a bitch!" He laughed and said "What?" I know those fucking rockets follow that asshole.

With rockets done and exploded we finished up the ceremony and moved along the streets to eat our final lunch at the haaj restaurant.

Later that day we finished cleaning and the 1SG came by inspected rooms and we moved out to the assembly area. We loaded our rucks onto a truck and then moved to the helo pad. There were over 100 of us moving in a single file line with body armor, helmets, weapons, and assault packs, a single file line that stretched at least 200m.

Suddenly: WAAAAA WAAAAA WAAA INCOMING INCOMING INCOMING. With one bunker in sight we made a mad dash to it as we heard the rockets scream over and impact nearby. A rocket makes a distinct sound when it reaches its final destination. It's weird. It's like a crushing sound followed by boomness. With all this shit on not all of us could make it in, and we hunkered outside.

With that close call behind us we finally made it to the pad. As we waited, haaj decided that one more attack would be nice and we heard the sirens again and close. It was if someone was calling in our movements as once again the rockets impacted nearby. One final rocket attack at Rocketmiyah, no one hurt and we were waiting for the birds. You know who I was standing by every fucking time??? Simmons. That's right! Simmons the fucking rocket magnet. He told me I didn't have to worry, that he was good luck. I had to remind him of the guy running behind him from the rocket attack a couple of days ago that caught a hot piece in the back.

Every time we could hear the chop of the rotor blades people would cheer. Then we would realize they weren't ours and everyone would sigh. It was kinda like a big rollercoaster ride. Eventually the birds landed and we boarded, everyone hoping the bird would take off soon to avoid any rockets if haaj cared to share again. The bird pulled power and lifted into the night and the cabin erupted with cheers as we were off.

No more Rocketmiyah. Right now we are in limbo in transit, waiting for that big bird to send us into Can'tWait. I won't say where, though if you've been to Iraq you know. I will say that they have a big PX (not as big as the big big PX nearby) and the church of Flame Broil. I still have the after taste of Whopper lingering on my taste buds. Maybe not so much lingering as dancing and playing and making love to my tongue. Ahhhhhhhhhhhh.

Not too much longer folks, and the big National Lampoon's Iraqi Vacation will be a not so distant memory. My days of sitting on the porch sippin' my Sweet Iced Tea with my wife and kids in SC are just down the street.

Until then...



Waiting for that big bird...


Ah, FOB Rustimayah! Gotta love it. Apparently it hasn't changed in the past 10 months. My own Rocketmihyah experiences: wandering out of the chowhall, sipping on a grape juice box, only to find my soldiers freakin' out. "Sar'ent, did ya hear the rocket that just bounced off the roof?" "What the hell are you talking about?" And there it was, sitting on the road in front of us, EOD poking around it in a glare of circled headlights, playing Paper-rock-scissors to see who got to go up and mess with it.
Or the 120mm mortar that hit the tree in front of our barracks (MP compound, right across from the staging area--should still be there) and knocked me, my driver, and my PSG down as we were sauntering to the bunker.
Or driving down to 3rd shop in a thin skinned pick-up truck, and the daily 15:00 barrage came up. I said to the guy driving, "We should do something about this."--and rolled up the window. And just kept driving.
If it's more than 100 meters away, it's someone elses problem.
Things never change. Stay safe, bro, and thanks for the great article. Brought back memories, as you can see :)

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