Life In Iraq -- A Soldier's Year Long Tour Turns To 16 Months

I left off with it was going to be a long year; little did I know it would turn into 16 months. In order to get to the end of my story, I need to go back a little.

Brian Photo

Whenever the Battalion was getting ready to deploy we kept telling the Battalion Leadership they were going to have a have a QRF (Quick Reaction Force). The had made PSD's (Personal Security Details) for our Commander and key Battalion staff and a couple of other specialty teams but no QRF. Finally, about 60 days before we left we were ordered to stand one up. The only problem with this that I and others saw was that all of the great shooters were already on the other teams. I ended up taking a Medic, which to me was key, a Commo guy (also key), and a PAC (Personnel Action) clerk and a dukes mixture of other Soldiers from our Headquarters Battery.

Now, when we hit the ground and were getting settled, I gathered all of them around me in my hooch and told them this, after getting all of them a large trash bag: "Bring me one completer uniform, complete with undies, socks and a t-shirt."

After all had done this, I instructed them all to put their items in the garbage bag I had provided. The youngest most inexperienced Private spoke up and asked why? My answer? Because if we are out and we hit an IED (Improvised Explosive Device), get shot at, a dog barks, and somebody pisses their pants, craps their pants we always have a fresh set for you to put on and we burn the soiled ones. Now if this should happen. I told them, I will get you a replacement set and I will lose my stripes should this be made public. I never had to replace a uniform and I never lost a stripe. Best bunch of Soldiers I ever worked with.

Jumping forward a bit -- we had been in there a couple months and we were on an old Iraqi Air Base Q-West. There were lots of bunkers all around the fob that went way underground. Saddam Hussein had just been captured and they had given the speech about him being found in a hole like a rat. Well, after one particularly long and hot day we came in and parked our vehicles on line and I had the Soldiers cleaning weapons and checking trucks and radios like always. Our First Sergeant came around and tasked me with clearing these bunkers because the Iraqis were watching us -- no shit really? We are running up and down the road with trucks with guns on top -- hell yeah they're watching. So we cleared the bunkers the next morning.

More to follow. Time to make the donuts.

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