Friday, March 26, 2010

5 years ago today

It was 5 years ago that we loaded up our armored vehicles and headed to Baqubah, Iraq. A warm spring day in Iraq and we had the task of going to look at several police stations, District police facilities and a couple potential military facilities. The day was going to be a long one – Easter Weekend in Iraq. We had lived a charmed life so far in the deployment up to that point. On the ground since September 2004 and few exciting incidents other than the daily impersonal bombings, mortar and rocket attacks in the IZ.

That all changed it seems the day I earned the Combat Action Badge. Easter Sunday, 27 March 2005 – 5 years ago. It was that day after an curiously inauspicious day in Baqubah that on our return – someone detonated a large IED aimed at taking us out… suddenly it got to be personal and direct.

Never before that day did we feel like anything other than invincible and immune from attack… after all we had led a charmed life…laughing as we drove past IEDs, charging through the streets of Baghdad, Ramadi, Mahmudiah and other towns with the chip on invincibility on our shoulders. We could not be concerned with the danger as we were completing our often overwhelming job of emplacing Iraqi Military Facilities. Afterall, we started our tour using Nissan Patrol SUVs with the windows down, cruising Route Irish when it was really dangerous…now we were armored. We were American Soldiers with all the answers and swagger we could muster…. until that day someone took it personal.

That day was the first of several ever more direct actions for our members in MNSTC-I. We had 5 months left in country and it suddenly became serious in a manner that I marvel at even to this day.

Ours was not a unique story…many had a far more dangerous task, many had it far safer… we all served honorably from our unit that went to Iraq. What I’m sure of, based upon the experience, is that we also were all changed by the trip and events…. 5 years ago.

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