I have been out here for about 2 months now and have been focusing alot on my faith, how it applys to my world, what I will do back home, staying positive about the future.
My blog entries come when I feel as though I need something to say. It doesnt happen everyday, is usually spurred by something signifigant that has either pissed me off, or made me happy. Lately, I havent really had a whole lot to say, I have been reflecting alot and making my gameplan for the future but some people enjoy the blog so I will write something.
Im not really into telling war stories becuase you always feel stupid after telling them to people who have never been there. You want to tell but some stuff you either just cant explain because you dont understand yourself or some things stir up bad emotions to relive, for me I get pissed off. Ive seen people die, been there when people were killed in combat, been hunted, hunted, and experienced the full gammit of emotions attached to the combat experience. The only emotion I choose to focus on now relating to the combat experience is thankfulness. Thankful I got to serve, thankful I dint get maimed, thankful I have those experiences to reflect on. Was I a war hero? Nope. Just a guy who felt we neede payback for 9/11 and went over there to give to them. Period.
Here's a war story though for those of you faithful readers. It's a funny one though, at least to me. It takes place in Afghanistan in 2003. Those of you reading who have been to Afghanistan will say to yourself,"Yep, thats the stan". Those of you who havent, I really dont know what you will say but here goes.
My team went down to a mountainous place to attempt to capture a highly wanted bad guy. There was one way in and one way out of this location and about an 8 hour ride on bumpy, in an IED Heavy(improvised explosive device) area, totally in bad guy country with basically no back up except close air support which could take up to an hour to get to you. Anyone who has been shot at will tell you, 5 seconds is a long time, not to think of an hour. Anyway, we travelled to this location. On the way we foiled an ambush that was poorly laid in and the guys ran away without firing a shot. We then proceeded to our destination.
When we got there we realized the mission was going to be alot harder than we thought. The mountains were high, we were few, the terrain wasn't easily defendable, basically we were sitting ducks. In special ops in remote areas your a sitting duck alot believe it or not, It would take me a long time to explain that one, anyway. We set up our gun jeeps in a perimeter and launched out a search element to clear some caves and set up a position to do surveillance. On the way to their position one of our guys fell off of a cliff and fell 40 feet into a gully. The rest of our guys got to him and he was alive but needed to be medevac's. Now some of you maybe saying,"Thats stupid, how could he fall off of a cliff?". Well the guys were carrying about 80 lbs each because water, radios, ammo is heavy and they would be cut-off for a couple days and the trails are about 2 feet wide on the wide part with sometimes a 1000 ft drop on one side.
Anyway, we called a medevac (helicopter ambulance) to pick the guy up. Then an Apache attack helicopter showed up to provide security while we hoisted the guy up. We used the Apache to look up in the mountain crevices to see if there was any movement but the pilot said he didnt see anything. The medevac and attack helicopter left and night time started to fall. The guys who had moved down the trail came back to where the rest of us were because the guy who fell off of the cliff was the only medic they had and they were sure to need him. After that group got back to our perimeter we started seeing fires being lit up in the valley, looked like they would be drawing people straight to us. We figured there would be an ambush, some of us did anyway, some guys are always in denile, another one that would take a while to explain.
Anyway, we stayed there that night, nothing happpened. The next day we were told to leave that area, so we decided to go and hunt another guy down the road. As we were packing our stuff up to leave this huge cloud came rolling over the mountains and engulfed us. It was wild, I have it on video. It engulfed us and we figured that would be a good time to leave because the bad guys wouldnt see where we went and we would have a better chance of catching the other bad guy. So we left. We hit the other guys compound but we dint get him. Sorry, combat isnt always sexy.
About 2 days later myself and another guy, who gathered intelligence for our team, got info that there was a guy who wanted to give us important information so we brought him in. He proceeded to tell us that we went down to this certain location, when we went there, how many vehicles, and that there was a huge attack planned for us. He said there was 70 bad guys, we numbered 30, with mortars, rocket propelled grenades, machineguns, everything, on their turf, it would have been ugly. When asked why they didnt ambush us he said that there was a wedding and all the bad guys didnt want to leave because there was an argument over who would pay the band. So picture a bunch of Osama Bin Ladens sitting around putting of an attack because they wanted to figure out who was going to pay the check. Crazy. Anyway, they never came. So we were like,"whatever, this is Afghanistan", shrugged it off and dropped it.
The next day an old mujuhadeen fighter who had helped us kick the Russians out came to talk to us. He liked us because we had given them the Stinger Missile (anti-aircraft missile) years ago to help defeat the Russians so he loved American special ops guys. Not to mention, he was a tribal elder in his village and he came to us because bad guys had put drug labs in his village dambing up all the water and we went and took those drug labs down, blew them up, and gave the people back their water. So this guy loved us.
He proceeded to tell us that we went down to that certain location, what day we went, how many vehicles, same stuff the othe informant told us. He said the same number of guys with the same wepaons were coming for us, etc. We asked him why they didnt come to get us. He said that his group of guys, pro-american, old mujuhadeen who fought the Russians, and the Alquaeda/Taliban guys were at a wedding. When the Taliban guys heard we were in the area they ran and got their wepaons refusing to pay half the bill, including the band, because they werent going to stay.
This pissed of the "pro-american" guys and as the Taliban guys moved in to ambush us the "pro-american" mujuhadeen went and got their weapons and went to ambush the Taliban guys coming to ambush us. Basically, the Taliban guys were moving into position to get a good attack on us, the "pro-american" guys were moving to get a good ambush position on them, the Taliban got scared when the Apache helicopter was hunting any bad guys so they hid. One the Apache was gone it was too dark for them to see, so the Taliban waited til it got to be morning. The "pro-american"guys waited for the Taliban guys to cross their path all night, but they never did, they stayed hidden. In the morning we were told to move out of that area and go and hunt htis other guy. A big cloud rolled in and cover our movement out of there.
We heard that the Taliban guys were like,"One minute they were there, the next minute they were gone". I think they thought we were magic. I think God took care of us. I wasnt a true Christian back then but, man, even I had to admit it was divine intervention.
I hope you get something out of that. At least a good laugh.