Letters From Fallujah (5) The POG FOB

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Sept 07 03

Uncle Hank,

Still on COP Factory guarding some radioactive shit we haven’t even seen, not that I mind not seeing it but we don’t even know where it is.  We found 23 IEDs buried along Route San Juan the other day.  Artillery rounds wired to be be command detonated.  That means someone is watching, all we have to do it catch his ass watching and we’ll make him a good terrorist.  You know there’s only one kind of good terrorist.  Sarnt Spear and his buddy cleared half of them before EOD showed up but those boys stay busy.  When the EOD guys showed up they’d driven two hours after clearing some IEDs on the other side of Ramadi.  They were wore the f*ck out, been on the job since 0400, it was late afternoon by the time they got to us, it was 2230 by the time they finished.  I’d rather be a grunt.

We found out there’s a Logistics base about 30 miles south of us.  We drove down there the other day.  They’ve got a MARS phone so I got to call Mom.  I don’t know if they had that when you were in, it’s the Military Auxiliary Radio System, as I understand it HAM radio operators catch a signal and pass it on to another one till the signal reaches someone who can patch it thru to a phone line then the phone at the number you dialed rings.  There’s a hell of a delay and sometimes it just doesn’t work but its better than nothin.  Mom cried as soon as I said hello.  You should have seen the POGs (Personnel Other than Grunts) at the gate.  When we drove up covered in dust and filth, and they saw the “Double A” patches on our shoulders you’d have thought John Wayne and the cavalry showed up to save a wagon train of settlers from the indians in an old western movie.  Sarnt Spear told ’em we’d run a couple patrols around the place ‘cuz they were feelin threatened.  POGs always feel threatened.  They even had a PX, we bought chips and soda and jerky and snacks we barely remembered.  Sarnt Spear talked to the mess hall and got a bunch of hot chow we took back to the COP for everybody.  It was the first hot chow we’ve had since we left BIAP and they’re gonna fix some for us two or three nights a week!  I never thought I’d enjoy mess hall food like I do now!  We’re shittin’ in tall grass now!

We’ve developed a kind of routine, at sunrise we’re clearing Route San Juan for about three hours.  We drive beside the road, never in our tracks from yesterday, Haji is sneaky, if he figures out our pattern he’ll plant IEDs for us or try an ambush, f*ck Haji.  Then we catch a couple hour nap and we’re back out in the afternoon just drivin around being seen, pokin around here and there.  Then its another couple hour nap and we’re out agin after dark.  Then we set up and observe through the night sights, we’ve caught a few Haji’s planting IEDs but they didn’t live long enough to provide any intel.  The Ma Deuce has that effect on ’em.

We’re still livin under camo nets and sleepin on cots.  The bugs are ferocious, it’s like John Wayne said in “True Grit,” “Everything here will bite ch’a, stick ya, sting ya or poke ya.”  What a shithole.  We spend a couple hours every evening sittin ’round a romantic poo fire, teasin’ whoever Sarnt Spear picked to stir it.  Then its either back on the walls pullin’ guard duty or back out on patrol.  Iraq sucks.

Love ya!


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  September 8, 2018

    the beat goes on. good stuff, Allen


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