Letters From Fallujah (2) Volturno

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August 18, 2003

Uncle Hank,

Before Sarnt Spear left for the leader’s recon he gave a warning order, get everything ready to roll tonight at O’dark thirty.  Of course he added, “I wanna be able to look at the trucks before dark, me and the LT’s shit is packed, put it on the trucks.”  He’s got a serious pet-peeve with load plans.  Every truck has to be exactly like the others, f*ck its a pain in the ass but Sarnt Spear is a master of being a pain in the ass, he lives for it.

So him and the LT got back about 1600, they said some idiot shot at the helicopter they were in from his front yard.  Sarnt Spear thought it was f*cked up they didn’t shoot back, I agree.  Aviators are pussies though.

He went through the trucks with all of us standing behind them at a rigid position of parade rest, he likes to think he’s still on the trail sometimes.  He also has a reputation for tearing the trucks up somethin fierce.  The Load Plan is one of his many pet-peeves, one of the worst, you’d rather put your beret on backwards than screw up the load plan.  All he did was walk thru, ask a few questions, where’s the new night sights?  Then he says “Jonsey, get me 100 rounds of .50 cal from truck number two.  Terell, get me 100 rounds of 40 mike mike from gun four.”  The named soldiers looked around confused then burst into motion, simultaneously we heard, “Take your mother f*ckin time turbo, I ain’t got nothin better to do.”  Feet pounded across the sand.  “Awright turbos, put that shit back, good job.  Y’all are actually ready, we’ll kick some ass tonight.”  What the f*ck?  I ain’t never seen no shit like that, even the Squad Leaders are wonderin if it’s actually SFC Spear.  LOL, I heard ‘im talkin with the LT, he said the Squad Leaders are actually men now and need to be treated as such, he planned this shit hours before the inspection.  Uncle Hank, he’s got us right where he wants us.

We SP’d at 0230 hours enroute to Fallujah.  Couldn’t see shit, just green road in desert.  We rolled into our new FOB at BMNT.  What a shithole.  The locals came in and stole windows and frames, wiring and switches, sockets, anything that could be ripped out of the building.  It’s one of Uday and Cusay’s palaces.  The actual palace was hit by a bunker buster months ago, there’s a wreck of a building standing that was torn up by a couple of big assed bombs earlier. There’s an irrigation ditch running into a square mile walled compound complete with guard towers, there’s still some nasty water left in the ponds the buildings are built around.  There’s lion cages on the far side of the compound.  No lions, the locals probly ate them.  The Mortar Platoon got the caretaker’s compound way out away from BN HQ.  Further from the flagpole is always better.

We drove here in the middle of the night, what little I saw was green and there was no activity.  Can’t tell you much about the terrain, flat, torn up by random bulldozers doing I can’t tell what.  Random piles of trash from old wrecked cars, scrap iron and yesterdays trash.  Soda cans and chip bags drift everywhere like snow against pine trees.  It’s pitiful, what a shithole.  When the moon came up it was this putrid green color because of the malaise of wind borne shit particles and dust.  Mostly shit.  It’s disgusting.

My p’toon is way out back in the compound with its own wall and a big ass house.  It’s hot as hell all day and the stone building radiates heat all night, it never cools down.  This is some miserable shit.  It used to be the caretakers compound.  Pretty nice digs.  There was a US unit here earlier, someone quoted Kipling on the wall.  “When the women come out to cut up what remains, just roll to your rifle and blow out your brains and go to your god like a soldier.”  Sarnt Spears recognized it right off and quoted a couple other heinous verses.  That kipling dude knew soldiers and understood them. Sarnt Spears told us if we put positive graffiti on the wall we’d be good to go.

Some haji with a mortar shot at us our first night here, we shot back in 11 seconds.  Sarnt Spear had looked up the capabilities of the russian mortars the terrorists use.  He looked up the max range of their mortar system, figured out the optimum range to fire at us from and we all had an elevation to fire that range.  When haji shot at us we aimed at the flash and returned fire.  Haji didn’t shoot again.  Patrols didn’t find anything but haj only shot one round, we shot four, we musta scared him.  Maybe next time we’ll kill his terrorist ass.

Apparently porta-potties are beyond haji’s capabilities.  All we have is wooden shitters with a thrid of a barrel underneath.  I’ve heard enough of your stories to recognize them but stirring the shit is something you never quite described.  Sarnt Spear is an anal retentive ass, “whoever is on the top of my shit list… stirs the shit barrels.”  I know enough to not piss him him off but some of my buddies, well they’ve stirred shit for hours.  Sarnt Spears and the LT come out with all the NCOs and the latest one on his shit list, wow that takes on a whole new meaning, stirs the diesel fuel/.poo mixture.  Sarnt Spears even calls it a “romantic poo fire.”  All the wooden shitter’s here are filled with sniveling and whining grafitti from the Third Infantry.  Apparently they’re nearing mutiny because they feel they’ve been here too long.  Poor mechanized weak-dick bastards.  You oughta hear Sarnt Spear go off everytime he comes back from the shitter.  “Sorry assed, unmotivated, undisciplined dirty nasty f*ckin legs, whining and crying ‘cuz they been havin to do their jobs.  goddamnsorrysonsabitches.”  Tomorrow we have to make the grafitti “go away” I have no idea how but it has to be gone.

There’s missions comin up, we don’t have any info yet but we’ll be rollin off the FOB soon.  I’ll let you know when I know.






About the Author:

I joined the Army in 1988, served in the 25th IL (L) , 24th ID, The Infantry Training Brigade, The 82nd Airborne Division, Ft Polk and again The 82nd Division until I retired in 2008. I was a mortar maggot and retired with the rank of Master Sergeant.
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  1. Vassar  August 2, 2018

    Wipes tears. My dad told me about landing in North Africa in ’42, a little place with a funny name, and the weeks they spent there in the desert, before prepping for the nvasion of Sicily. Said the Arabs would come in at night and take anything that wasn’t tied down, and more than once remarked about the black flies, wwas never sutre if they anchored on the donkeys or their beards.

  2. Allen  August 9, 2018

    Every creature I encountered in Iraq, from the flies to the cows wanted us to kill them, they saw death as the only relief from the misery of life in the shithole that is Iraq. “Please kill me, life sucks, do it now.”


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