Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Part I 'Ghost Enemy'

All of a sudden gunfire erupted in front of us. It was a few bursts at first with seconds of silence then within no time the situation became what I would recall as mad minutes. Tracers I could see and rounds I could not were ricocheting off of the radio tower and the buildings making up the compound. Because we were behind them and could not identify one target, no one from my position fired a single shot. We just stayed as low as possible watching the minutes unfold and waiting for the outcome. I truly felt then as I do now that I was merely an observer of this thing called war. More gunfire to the front in the form of a spectacular light show. Thousands of rounds had to be going down range and across our frontage. I remember being able to see muzzle flashes out in front of me to the right just before the hot red orange projectiles zipped(853meters or 2,800ft per second) at an angle across the hill. With all of that shooting going on I thought to myself that not one shot felt like it was coming toward us. All of it appeared to be either going away from where I was or away and across at an angle. There were also a few loud bangs that started when Sgt. Funkhouser theoretically tossed the first grenade of the offensive over a wall that caused another half dozen to follow. I later learned that one of the grenades that Sgt. F threw actually bounced off of the SSGT's helmeted head. Confusion sinks deep in the dark room of the desert landscape. More loud reports of small arms unloading their lot stock ammo into the void as I watched in the prone position for a sign telling me what to do next.

It had to have been ten minutes of total ammo chaos but it felt longer as it was playing out. Golf Co. unloaded an extraordinary amount of munitions down range into a somewhat empty target. Quietness crept back in, no more shooting just indiscernible voices from across the gap yelling over the silence. The grunts were shouting commands and their statuses to each other just like in training. It was dark again in all directions. Everyone was okay and the objective was secure. We moved from our support position forward and walked across the fence that had been mowed down by the big tracks. Everyone seemed jacked, completely elated that they were alive and talking to their smiling friends who were alive as well. We did not stay on that hill very long but I remember realizing that I never saw any wounded or killed Iraqi soldiers. Two or three of their commanders crawled out of a dug in bunker and immediately surrendered when the shooting was over. Apparently almost all of the Iraqi Mechanized Infantry Unit had beat it north and west when they found out that we were were on the way. Their retreat and/or complete humble surrender would become another of those reoccurring themes during the Gulf War. Lets face it, they were decimated weeks before we had arrived. The combat sorties had relentlessly cut the Iraqis off leaving them dangling hungry and thirsty in the wind. All of that shooting had actually occurred and not one shot was fired back at us, yet anyway.

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