28 February 2008 (ON PATROL)

We went to Abaiji early this morning, escorting a route clearance team up Route Cobra all the way to Route Asp, then west to the sketchy bridge on the east side of 14th Ramadan.

The sappers’ ramp brief was out of fucking control. They had a handout and everything. They should compare notes with the 2-25 support guys. They could sit around holding hands and singing Kumbaya together. I’m sure it would be quite an emotional experience for all of them.

The trip was time consuming, but it wasn’t very difficult. We dismounted a couple of times to check culverts and things, and the sappers stopped to check a few things themselves. They didn’t really find anything, other than some fence wire.

There was an air weapons team, consisting of two AH-64 Apache attack helicopters, covering our movement. They were flying at treetop level and making hard banking turns and stuff. It seemed like they were having fun. I wish I could have gotten some of it on video.

We stopped at the intersection of Routes Asp and Garden to check a specific bridge. Intelligence suggested that the bridge might have been rigged with explosives, and no other coalition forces had been out there for quite awhile, so they wanted to check it.

There were no explosives.

One we passed Route Gardens, the engineers continued moving west. We split the platoon and patrolled back and forth on Asp to make sure the route remained clear for the return.

We finally found a suitable spot for a patrol base and recon’ed the area. My squad found, what we thought, was a better location for the traditional triangle patrol base, but AB called and said 1SG wanted us at his location. So we moved to the HQ and 4th platoon patrol base, which consisted of a few buildings that they were sharing with the Iraqi Army and Police.

Bobby Gene was feeling sick, and he really didn’t look well, so I sent him to the medic. Doc Yasko had rolled his ankle walking through the palm groves, so he was preoccupied with his own injury. SGT Heckman and Bridges flipped out on the doc. An hour later Alleman (Bobby Gene) was being evac’d to Baghdad, because they suspected he had appendicitis.

Note: He returned to Taji on March 2nd. It was pneumonia.

The Iraqi army killed several sheep, and we ate local food for dinner. They prepared rice, lamb, bread, and something the reminded me of pickled ginger. It wasn’t too bad. The rice was really good, but the meat seemed like it was mostly fat.

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CPT Veath and local leaders.

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CPT Veath and dinner.

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CPT Veath and local leaders.

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L to R: LT Grossman and LT Schardt

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As it got later in the evening, 4th platoon said that they needed help with security. It started with 2 guys per hour for about 10 hours, then it was 1 1/2 hour shifts, plus a 3rd guy for an hour at a time. SFC Grimes kept coming to me for help instead of going to my platoon sergeant. I think maybe he thought that he could push me around some, where he wouldn’t be able to do that with one of his peers. He even had me unload two homemade wooden outhouses that they had brought along. Apparently our headquarters platoon built them. Donovan, one of our supply guys, had written a poem about porta-johns on the inside of each door. These outhouses would help our young soldiers gain a new experience; burning shit.iraq 065

This whole thing seemed like a bad FTX.

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