I think I’ve found the “Why” to a question I have been long trying to answer.
The link above is to a fellow blogger’s site and one of the posts he made a month or so ago. He’s currently stationed in Mosul, calls himself a “skater with a gun” who holds no political affiliation, and who simply brings to life the accounts we here back home read and see in the news.
He’s also been having some trouble with the military, specifically with their censorship rules. Apparently they don’t look kindly upon a soldier who likes to report back home how life really is for the soldiers serving in Iraq. Even though he has never given away any detailed information regarding military tactics, troop strengths or weaknesses, patrol patterns, etc., he has begun to show some irregularities on his site that suggest he is struggling to keep it alive. One day it will be up in full, the next it will only have one or two posts, the next it will have some cryptic message in which the only thing available to read are the exact words from the 1st Amendment, and the next it’s back up in full.
And it all started after he posted “Men In Black.”
Over the past few months, his readership has grown from 50 to 100 to 1,000 to well over 5,000 a day. He’s gone from being just another person trapped in the clusterfuck we call Operation Iraqi Freedom to somebody that thousands upon thousands turn to for a voice of truth. The many people out there who have no real direct connection to anybody serving in Iraq have dubbed him “Our Soldier” and pray for his safety as if he was one of their own. I’ve even found myself strangely fixated on this man whom I’ve never even met. Every time CNN has a story located in Mosul, my stomach knots up inside as I silently pray that CB’s name isn’t mentioned in the report. No, he is not the only soldier out there blogging about his experiences in the military. But he does seem to be the most “real” of all the bloggers; a man who knows that all people really crave is to know the truth.
He now currently has posted his “greatest hits.” There are roughly ten or so detailed, personal accounts of his experiences in Iraq and they are some of the most interesting posts of any blog I have ever read. However, since he seems to be having trouble with keeping his site up and running, I decided to duplicate his “Men In Black” post here so that if he ever is forced to take it off his site again, it will never die.
This is what CNN wrote on their website about what happened yesterday here in Mosul:
Mosul clashes leave 12 dead
Clashes between police and insurgents in the northern city of Mosul left 12 Iraqis dead and 26 wounded, hospital and police sources said Wednesday.
Rifle and rocket-propelled grenade fire as well as explosions were heard in the streets of the city.
The provincial governor imposed a curfew that began at 3 p.m. local time (7 a.m. EDT), and two hours later, provincial forces, police and Iraqi National Guard took control, according to Hazem Gelawi, head of the governor’s press office in the Nineveh province.
Gelawi said the city is stable and expects the curfew to be lifted Thursday.
Now here’s what really happened:
I was in my room reading a book (Thin Red Line) when the mortars started coming down. Usually when we get mortared it’ll only one, maybe two mortars. But this mortar attack went on for almost 20 minutes. Each one impacting the FOB every couple minutes. Something was up. My roommate ripped open the door and yelled “Get your guys, Go to the motor pool! The whole BATTALION is rolling out!” Holy shit, the whole Battalion? This must be big. So I ran over and woke my guys up, yelled, “Get your fuckin shit on and head down to the motor pool! Time: Now!” I grabbed my shit and started running to the motor pool, hearing small arms fire off in the back ground. By now everybody was running to motor pool. Putting their cloths on while they were running. At the motor pool, everybody was strapping on there shit and getting ready. One by one a Stryker was rolling out of the motor pool ready to hunt down whoever was fucking with us. People were hooting and hollering, yelling their war cries and doing the Indian yell thing as they drove off and locked and loaded their weapons. These guys that are attacking us just fucked with the bee’s nest, and now they’re getting the swarm. As I got the vehicle ready to go I overheard on our radio that shit was hitting the fan all over Mosul, large amounts of people attacking us with small arms, RPG attacks, burned vehicles, and there was a bunch of people in all black armed with AK’s over Mosul. Fuck. I overheard one of our iraqi interpreter say in broken English, “Give me gun, I want to kill these motherfuckers!” As we rolled out the main gate, our FOB was getting attacked, we had soldiers laying down in the prone up on the outer perimeter of the FOB firing there weapons out. We rolled down the main exit out and drove down a busy two way street. I was the T.C. for our vehicle, my job is to be behind the .50 cal, and operate the system, which allows me to fire it. This was only my second day as a T.C. Sitting right next to me out the hatch was my Plt Sgt.. Shortly as we were driving down the main street leaving our FOB, a man, dressed in all black, jumped out from the side corner of a building, pointed his AK47 right at me. Right at my fucking head and all I saw was the fire from his muzzle flash leaving the end of his barrel and brass shell casings exiting the side of his AK as he was shooting directly at me. I heard and felt the bullets whiz literally inches from my head, hitting all around my hatch and 50 cal mount making a “Ping” “Ping” “Ping” sound. I ducked the fucked down in the hatch. I yelled “We’re taking fire! 3 O’clock!!! Turned the gun around towards where the guy was and fired a burst. I fired a burst right over our back air guard hatch where our First Sgt was sticking out of and shooting. He yelled “Tell him to stop fucking shooting over my head!!!” Shit. My bad. I looked over and my PLT Sgt who was sticking out the hatch next to me a couple seconds ago was now dropped down from the hatch and now on his back. He was yelling, “I’m Hit! I’m hit!” I looked at his helmet and a bullet went right through his helmet and exited through the other side. Holy shit! I didn’t see any blood on him. He looked completely dazed though. He took his Helmet off and observed the holes in his helmet. No fucking shit, the bullet entered his helmet, and exited through the other side, missing his upper forehead by like 1-100th of an inch. A fuckin miricale. He was standing right next to me, that’s how close the bullets were from hitting us. We continued driving. We had to drive to the Mosul Bridge that was right next to the Mosul hotel about a couple miles away. There was reports of a buncha people, wearing all black armed with AK’s hanging out there. Our job was to locate and kill them. We were driving there on that main street, when all of the sudden all hell came down all around on us, all these guys wearing all black (Black pants, and a black t-shirts tucked in), a couple dozen on each side of the street, on rooftops, alleys, edge of buildings, out of windows, everywhere just came out of fucking nowhere and started firing RPG’s and AK47’s at us. I freaked the fuck out and ducked down in the hatch. I yelled “WE GOT FUCKIN HAJI’S ALL OVER THE FUCKIN PLACE!!! THERE ALL OVER GOD DAMNIT!!!” Bullets were pinging off our armor all over our vehicle, and you could hear multiple RPG’s being fired and flying through the air and impacting all around us. All sorts of crazy insane Hollywood explosions bullshit going on all around us. I’ve never felt fear like this. I was like, this is it, I’m going to die. I cannot put into words how scared I was. The vehicle in front of us got hit 3 times by RPG’s. I kind of lost it and I was yelling and screaming all sorts of things. (mostly cuss words) I fired the .50 cal over the place, shooting everything. My driver was helping me out and pointing out targets to me over the radio. He helped me a lot that day. They were all over shooting at us. My PLT was stuck right smack dab in the middle of the ambush and we were in the kill zone. We shot our way out of it and drove right through the ambush. The street we were driving down to escape, had 3 to 4 story high buildings all along each side, as we were driving away all you could see were 100’s and 100’s of bullets impacting all over these buildings. Finally we went over to the area we were supposed to be at. We parked the vehicles there, and dismounted the guys. The Pepsi bottling building across the street was all up in flames. Then after a couple minutes, we were told to load up and go back to where we got ambushed. I’m not going to lie, I didn’t want to go back. Fuck that shit, I don’t want to get killed. That was the last place on earth I wanted to be. I was scared to death. But we had to go back, and we did. On the way back I was up out of the hatch, scanning , I saw people running down steets that we passed with AK47’s, I didn’t have a shot at them with the 50, cuz we were going way to fast and how the gun was positioned. We past several men with a AK’s running down a street, I pulled out my Berretta and fired a several shots at them. We rolled back to the area where we all just dodged death, and we were taking fire from all over again. Again, I fired and fired and fired and fired and fired. At everything. We were taking fire from all over. I was just 360ing the 50 cal and shooting at everything. We were taking fire from all over, and every single one of us had our guns blazing. At one time I saw a dog try to run across the street, and somebody shot it. Again, at one time I had the 50 cal traversed and pointing all the way back of the vehicle and I was firing at some guys who were shooting at us up on a rooftop, and I didn’t know I was shooting right above the guys heads who were in the back airguard hatchs on our vehicle. My roommate (Sgt from Idaho) tapped my arm, which startled the hell out of me and I quickly jerked back and looked at him and he yelled, “Hey!! Get that gun to the 12!!! Let that one go!! Your doing good!!!” He later told me, when he tapped me on the shoulder, and I jerked back to look at him, I had this crazed look in my eyes that kind of freaked him out. Hovering up above we had Army Kiowa and Apache helicopters flying around. At one time I had to grad something from outside, and on top of the vehicle. So with my hands I did the sign of the cross thing on my chest, said a prayer (Please god, I don’t want to fucking die) and as my Plt Sgt layed down some suppressive fire, I got up out of the hatch, got my whole body completely outside of the vehicle and went over, got what I needed and went back to the hatch, as fast as possible. Scared out of my fuckin mind as I did this. RPG’s were still whizzing by and non-stop gun shots were being fired all over. We had our guys in 3rd Sqd dismounted, they had both 240’s with them and they were in heavy contact with the enemy, firing AT4’s and everything they had at them. Strykers were also launching missiles back at them. I got down in the hatch and started scanning my sector with the 50. Suddenly about 300 meters away I saw 2 guys creeping around this corner, they were hunched down sneaking around hiding behind a stack of truck tires. I could tell by their body language something was up. I placed the cross hairs right on them, but I didn’t fire, because I didn’t see a weapon on them and I wanted to wait. Next thing you know, I saw another guy come out of that corner with an RPG in his hands. I freaked the fuck out and yelled “RRRPPPPGGGGGGG!!!” My hands was shaking like crazy, my cross hairs were bouncing all over the screen. I gathered my composure as fast as I could, put the cross hairs on them and engaged them with a good 10 round burst of some 50 cal, right at them. Get Some. My Plt Sgt said “good job!”. I didn’t see anybody move from behind those tires after that. Shortly after that the vehicle parked directly in front of us took an RPG. This gunfight went on for 4 1/2 hours. A Stryker got fucked up with three RPG’s, and their TC (The guy who wrote SOF magazine that letter) took shrapnel to the face, and had to go back for medical attention. So 3nd squad was now going to roll in our vehicle because there vehicle was all fucked up and had go back to the FOB to be repaired. The ING’s showed up, and they were clearing the buildings on the street. 3nd squad was helping them, and I was providing over watch for them with the 50. Then all the sudden mortars started impacting around us. These bastards were now firing mortars at us. Time passed and we were extremely low on ammunition and all out of water. My entire DCU uniform was completely wet from sweat and filth. So we all mounted up and drove back to the FOB to get more ammo, water and re-fuel. On the way to the FOB we passed a watermelon stand, all the watermelons had bullet holes in them. In fact, everything on that street had bullet holes in it. The cars, the buildings, everything. There were thousands and thousands of brass shell casings littered all over the streets. Our vehicle was also covered inside and out with brass shell casings and links. Once we got to the FOB, and parked near the motor pool to re-supply, a Sgt ran up to us holding all his gear and his kit and asked, “Hey you guys rolling back out? Do you have room for one more?” This guy who asked us if he could ride with us back out, was in that vehicle that was right in front of us earlier that got RPG’d. They had to drive back to the FOB because the LT was seriously hurt. And now he was now asking us if he could come with, to go give em some more hell. We had no room for him in our vehicle, we were jam packed because we had the guys from third squad with us because there vehicle was out of commission from multiple RPG hits. Since there was no room for him, he gave us all the ammo and his water he had on him, and told us “Go get em.” By now it was night, and we were now fully stocked and ready to roll back out. I didn’t want to go back out, but you don’t have a choice, you have to. Right when we were about to leave the gate, they told us to go back to the motor poll and stand by. So we drove back packed the vehicles, and waited. I was chain smoking right now, one right after another. My nerves were completely shot and I was emotionally drained and physically exhausted. My hands were still kinda shaking. I was sitting up against the tires by myself on the side of the vehicle smoking a cigarette. I’ve never been through anything like that. I’ve never felt fear like that. And I’ve never seen anything like that. Usually these guys do this hit and run bullshit, but these guys today were on the offensive and showed no fear of us. My friend from San Diego, came over and sat next to me. Asked if I was O.K., and I told him “I don’t know.” We discussed everything that happened today, how it went down, what he did, what I did, what they did. Then the Battalion Commander came by the motor pool to check up on us and told us all we all did a great job today. Finally they told us to go back to our rooms. I went back to my room, thanked god, and passed out on my bed.
Note: I dont think CNN’s report of only 12 dead is accurate.
Quote of the day: “I just want this day to end.”
If you get a chance, do check out the other posts he has left up. And I know this might seem a little out of place here on Shyzer, but I promise it will all make sense in due time kiddos.