This Easter I am quite happy to be at home for a quiet day with the wife and kids. Last Easter was very different, and it was the start of a series of events that led to a big drop off in my writing. Actually, it all begins a few days before Easter, but that will wait, because since it is Easter I want to recount what it was like for us last year.
We had recently made a big capture and a significant haul in XXXX[insurgent group] ordinance to include rockets, mortars, ammo, etc. - but the real shocker was the plates and explosives to make over 200 EFPs. This was a major blow and threatened to undo a lot of back-channel bridge building that we had been working on for months. But our message was clear - come into the open and join the political process, or we will continue to support and encourage Iraqi Forces to hammer you. Losing the EFPs was really bad for XXXX[insurgent group], because they were provided by Iran, and losing them means answer to their Iranian masters.
But more later, the point for this story is we had surprised them, and there had been no response. Odd really, because they usually made a show of tit-for-tat. Our catch was a big deal on our side, so much so that we were responding to RFIs from Gen P, plus having to deal with all the fighting over who should get credit for the intel, for the catch, etc. Fact is we were happy to let our conventional Brothers take as much credit as they wanted, the real issue was ensuring our Iraqis got credit so that we could boost their profile and get them more funding.
Quick backstory - the MOI felt that the unit we were training was too politically independent, too close to the Americans, and they didn't like the outspoken General in command. The Ministry had been trying to starve them of beans and bullets to make them complie. Our hope was to get them enough, what I call fuck you money, and top-line press coverage that the GOI would be forced into better support.
So what did this mean for your faithful correspondent? Lots of fucking paperwork, RFIs from Group, RFIs from the Iraqis, RFIs for the 101st, RFIs from the S2 who was blind to our original reasons for the mission. And several, shall we say, "sit-downs" in the family style, with CO over just exactly where did I get my info.
From my journal entry of that day:
23 MAR 2008 - EasterI was in my rack about 45 minutes, I was in that nether state between wake and sleep when
There has been quite a bit of interest in the HVI and I spend most of the day trying to get back to people and tie different threads together, go thru his XXXX, DOCEX and such. I spent hours answering RFI from people I couldn't get to return my e-mails putting this all together, and now everyone is trying to either cover their fourth point of contact, or claim it was their idea. Ugggghh, I need to lie down because I have a massive headache and am tired.
a concussion I more felt than heard jarred me up and I was on feet and moving before my concious mind was able to catch with what was going on.
WHOOMP, WHOOMP, WHOOMP-WHOOMP
These coming in close to each other, usually it was a WHOOMP......WHOOMP.....WHOOMP, you could almost picture the hajji dropping one, grabbing another, holding....drop, WHOOMP. But there are at least two tubes firing, I can't see a damn thing, but I know my route well by now. I peer in the bunker -
- damn it there must be three tubes firing. Some of the guys are in there, the Capt'n and my Linguist. "Terp M", as we called him, is already on the phone - I think to myself he's come a long way. He finally realizes I need him talking to people right away instead of running around like a .. well you get it.
God damn, these guys staying out there, I hope there's some birds in the area to smoke 'em. Usually these pop a few and run so we can't a fix, but these coming consistently, the TOC's gotta have a fix on 'em.
Shit, these sound closer than usual (they weren't - it turned out they firing 81mm at us instead of the 60mm they usually did). Capt'n - "GOD DAMN, SOMEBODY WANTS TO KIIILL ME!!!!" We can't help but laugh. The barrage went on for a long time, turned out not be the only one in Iraq at the moment, but we did get hit with the most, and for a tiny little firebase - it was a significant message that they pissed the fuck off....and they were only getting started.
We found out later that at almost the same moment, the Green Zone was getting well wishes from Iran.
Happy Easter Infidel.