Hey ya’ll, Sorry about not writing for a while, but been on leave, and having computer trouble, here.
I am titling this story, "The Deadly Mortars", as this is the bunch of guys I am running missions with now, and they really scare me sometimes - the mortar platoon, that is. Before I went home on leave I went out with them a good bit.
I normally ride in the back of the tub truck with G and V, and W. The tub truck is the truck with an open back, and we either stand or sit in the back of it; and is has armored plates around the sides. G is always standing there, at the gun.
It was a bright and early morning here on the FOB. I had this great big box of candy and things that was sent me by Soldiers' Angels, and I decided, as we were going out on a humanitarian mission anyway, that I could get it all together and give it out on that particular mission.
So I loaded this great big box up in the back of the tub truck with G and V. It was us three in the back, riding there down the road: the big five ton was right behind us.
We got to the corner, up a ways from our FOB, and all the little kids come running out to the road expecting goodies, like they usually get from us. But this day I decided I would wait till we got to the humanitarian site as we were always giving out loads of candy and things to the kids on the corner, anyway.
So I was kicked back on the top of the cooler, leaning back on the cab, and watching the road go by me backwards, with the five ton right behind us. All well and good.
But then, all of a sudden, we got to this sharp turn and our driver practically slammed on brakes to make the sharp turn. There was no way the five ton was going to stop as fast as we did: and they didn’t; the problem here was they was right onto our tails before we ever did start to slow down to begin with. And when we hit the brakes I watched, as in slow motion, first the eyes of the two up front in the five ton get as big around as two set hen eggs that was ready to hatch.
Then I could hear them lock up the brakes, and even noticed the black smoke coming all off the bottom of the totally locked up tires dragging the hot road. And steady as a ticking watch the driver was turning the wheel to the side: by-n-by, my eyes got a lot bigger round than either of the two soldiers in the front seat of that five ton.
The truck got closer and closer to us, and disaster was imminent!
That is when the entire truck went up on two side wheels and kind of grazed the entire side of our vehicle that was stopped by now. After they rode down the side of our lucky tub truck a ways, they stopped too. It finally dawned on G and V what had happened, and they nearly laid one.
This was our near death times one!
Alright, so I thought: what else could possibly happen on this beautiful day in Iraq? We unloaded the stuff for our chaplain, as it was his mission: like wheelchairs, and blankets and things. After doing all this I got back up on the truck and intended to throw out the box of candy.
But all the kids had got a little bit unruly. So I thought to myself: alright now, ya’ll want to play this; well now, you just wont get any of this candy, but it will all go to the kids on the corner after all. So we headed back to the FOB without incident.
We got to the corner, and sure enough: it had to be about twenty little Iraqi kids come running out to the side of the road, the little girls in their very colorful dresses: they looked every bit like the trees in the Fall, back at home.
We went past the corner and down the road a ways before I chucked the box of candy out. I took the thing and threw it as hard as I could to the right, so as to not get any of the kids killed: it was way off the road, now.
But no sooner had I throwed it when this little boy - not more than seven years old - come shooting out across the street from the other side, just like a dog, without even looking once. I stood up from the cooler and nearly freaked as I saw the tiny silhouette of this kid only right in front of the Five Ton, that was steady plowing up the road, full speed ahead. How that kid survived, I can’t never tell: both timing and God, I suppose.
The five ton missed running over that kid, literally, by a fraction of a nose hair. This really shook me up.
Near death times TWO!!!!
Come next day we were out again. I was about nervous by this point, and only wanted to survive the week so I could go home on leave! We went on up town without incident.
But then, we went to make this real sharp turn, and that is when it happened: the fifty cal ammo box just fell plumb out of the side of the truck, and the hum-v didn’t stop but just ran right slam over the box. Somehow, the back tire caught that box just right: big fifty cal rounds started going off all in that box, shooting all out the side of the box, and going everywhere, BOOM! BOOM! BANG! You name it... It left great big burnt holes all in the road where it shot the road all up.
Near death times three!
But I made it home and had my leave, so need I ask for more?
And this, ya’ll, is what it's like with "The Deadly Mortars".
Sara of Soldiers' Angels USA and Richard from Iraq