Monday, June 14, 2010

Part I 'Kinetic Interlude'

During that dark midday frag orders came down multiple times describing slightly different and constantly changing scenarios. Ultimately Golf Company would soon be making its final move on line north towards the ever constant objective, a space of linear terrain marked, outlined and highlighted on the map. This piece of land started directly on the outside of the western wall of the Kuwaiti Agricultural Ministry and intersected with what I remember as a roughly two mile section of the main east/west Highway running out of Kuwait City, a few miles to the immediate east. At this point we were told to expect a battle with what was left of Saddam's retreating Army. It was a strange circumstance that was being reported by command in that the fleeing soldiers we had been chasing are running for their lives and creating huge choke points on roads leaving Kuwait. Some of these Iraqi Soldiers were still holding on to what had been theirs because there was no place for them to go and what they did have was vested in the defense of their previous tactics to arrive at that point. This final push north would begin in a few hours.

Our stick loaded up then the track pulled forward to line up with the rest of Golf Company which linked up with Fox Co. to the east on the other side of that wall making up the Agricultural Ministry's western border. The heart of the Ministry was the Battalion's objective with the support of four reinforced Companies each having a planned responsibility to carry out. The vehicle lurched and groaned its way over the packed sand. It was evening black ink moist sky but still not a drop of particulate falling onto us. At times if a little light came through the oil shroud looked suspended, just a tall building's height above us. It had depth, width, length and a three dimensional elongated quality in angle perspective looking up from earth. Nothing about it was translucent, there was not a thing to hide, it was a reflective dark image staring down at me as I headed straight for it.

Understand that as it was happening then we did not know or see the originating point of the small arms fire as if we could identify it by sight. I only saw the physical form and places of our objective a day later when we were on top of it and the oil smoke had shifted above our heads allowing for a bright desert sun to shine down on what lay before us. The following 24 hour conclusion summary is based on, the information passed to us during post operation briefings, my memories and discussions with fellow 2/4 Marines over the years. During this last move the burning oil, the worst oil spill in the World's history blocked out all light making it impossible to see.

I looked out of the top hatch with my body half in, half outside of the armor of the track. There were a few small lights out in the distance to the front right of our movement but they were completely swallowed up by the night. More grinding of the Amtrack's engine filled the space of darkness then the first shots at us came in from the direct front and right near that wall. Our track turned hard left, the ramp dropped and we ran out to the front hitting the deck a few meters ahead of the vehicle. The small arms fire zipped across our frontage in the form of glowing hot tracers two and three at a time. More incoming rounds from far away rushed by in bursts. The only ones that I could see were the tracers, I knew that for every one of those flying by there were many more that I could not see. Golf Company responded with a heavy barrage in the direction of the source. I could hear commands being shouted over to the right. Silence, then more inbound fire that had been adjusted and was coming more towards us than down and to the left.

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