Letters From Fallujah (6) John Wayne in Iraq

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Oct 02, 03


Uncle Hank,

Pretty much the same old same old here.  Route clearance, patrols, maintenance, bullshit.  Rinse.  Repeat.  Sometimes we don’t have enough water to rinse but you get the drift.

There’s a village down the road with a sign out by the highway, we drove past it the other day and there was graffiti on it in haji script.  We asked the ‘terp and he told us the sign said “Highway of Death.”  So we stopped and took a picture.  Yep, your graffiti terrifies me.  Posing with our weapons, stripping down to Tshirts, screw you, haji.

We met an Iraqi when we stopped to visit his farm the other day.  He had a nice Belgian made FN FAL rifle.  I’m sure you know Fabrique Nationale (FN) makes the SAW rifle for the US Army.  They also make a nice semi-auto (FAL) rifle for civilians.  So this guy was carrying one slung across his back when we pulled up into his yard.  We just stop by to introduce ourselves and give the local farmers a case of water or whatever we have that they might find useful.  Most people have AKs, its standard procedure to see Iraqi’s carrying AKs but not FN FALs.  There’s lots of farmers out here.  They dig a pit with a bulldozer, maybe thirty to fity feet deep, put a pump in the bottom and fill a bermed field with water.  Mostly onions, rice, wheat.  There’s some cows around but in America the owners would be arrested and jailed for animal abuse.  We talked to him for a while and talked him into letting us confiscate his rifle just so we could check to ensure he was allowed to have it.  We told him to come to the COP the next day and we’d let him know if he could have it back.

He was at the gate bright and early, we brought him into the Company Command Post gave him his rifle back, thanked him for cooperating with us and fed him breakfast.  As he was going out the gate he told us about one of the locals who had a stash of RPGs buried in the berm surrounding his well.  We waited til the next day and pulled up into the terrorist’s yard and parked with the Ma Deuce’s lookin into his windows.  It only took five minutes to poke around in the berm and find his stash.  120 Rocket Propelled Grenades.  We cuff’d him and stuff’d ‘im.  That is, we zip stripped his hands behind ‘is back and put a sandbag over ‘is head.  Then we threw ‘im in the back of the HMMWV.  He wasn’t hidin’ RPGs for anything other than killing Americans.  Piece of shit.  When we first got ‘im in the truck he couldn’t speak anything but haji gibberish.  We touched the muzzle of an M4 carbine to his sandbagged temple and he learned English instantly.  Who knew?  We took ‘is sorry ass back to the COP and locked ‘im up in the Temporary Confinement Facility.  We took ‘im to FOB Volturno the next day, they’ll send ‘im on to Abu Ghriab.

We stopped by FN FAL’s farm a few days later and dropped off a couple five pound bags of rice and gave a shitload of candy to his kids.  It was nice, we actually felt welcome and someone was thankful for our help in this god-forsaken shithole.  He brewed us a pot of coffee.  Boiled water in a pot over an open fire, threw a couple handfuls of coffee grounds into the water and brought it to a rollin’ boil.  He then spooned in enough sugar to thicken the coffee to the consistency of maple syrup and poured it into our shot glasses.  It was even stronger than Searnt Spears “sock filtered” coffee.  Pretty gritty too.

So three or four weeks later we stop by FN FAL’s house and he’s packin up his family and his possessions, he’s movin’ to Ur.  He’s got family there.  He’s afraid his family can no longer stay here, the terrorists are threatening him.  We thanked him for his help and apologized for ruining his relations with his neighbors.  He assured us his relationship with his neighbors was never anything to brag about.  He said they were “goat-f*ckers.”  We thanked him and said our good-byes.

Shortly after dark that night a 12 year old kid runs up to the gate of our COP.  It was FN FAL’s son.  He told us his father had been arrested by the terrorist’s friends.  Imagine that, crooked cops in muslim society, no way.  LMFAO

We rolled out with the Quick Reaction Force about five minutes later.  It was like a John Wayne movie, we rolled up the the local police office and surrounded it with three Ma Deuce’s, two Mk 19’s and a TOW missile pointing at the building.  They held out for almost 30 seconds, we were about to announce who we were and what we wanted when they came out with their hands up.  Holy shit!  Straight out of True Grit.

You know, when Rooster sez “I aim to kill you in one minute or take you back to Ft Smith and see you hanged at Judge Parker’s convenience.”

Then Ned sez “I call that big talk fer a one eyed fat man.”

And the Duke puts his reins in his mouth, draws his lever-action with his right hand, his Colt Dragoon with his left and sez “Fill Yer Hands You Son Of A Bitch!”

They’d given FN FAL quite a beatin.  We didn’t do anything to anyone other than take FN FAL, but haji knew that we knew, they were wide-eyed-scared-shitless.  If more terrorists felt like that we’d have far fewer problems here.  We brought FN FAL back to the COP, got him loaded up in his truck, filled him with fuel and gave ‘im a fistful of solatia money to help out.  One of the other platoons escorted his family out of the AO later that night.

You know, we felt like John f*ckin Wayne after that.  We rode up to the crooked sheriff’s office, jerked open the bars with a rope tied to a horse’s saddle and took our falsely accused friend out.  F*ck you haji.

Then we heard haji blew up a mail truck with an IED.  Hero to Zero in a heartbeat.  Haji better watch ‘is step, mail is better than hot chow!  Asshole son’s-a-bitches.



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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