1 March 2008 (ON PATROL)

We continued pulling guard and firing illumination (lum) rounds throughout the night, until squad leaders were pulled together for a meeting around 0300. We had received intel’ that there were two brothers who were planning to attack us with RPGs (Rocket Propelled Grenades).

At 0400 we headed south to raid the house of the suspected attackers. It was more of a duplex than a single-family house.

Kirby was excited. It was his first raid. On the way there, I handed him a taped up block with a green loop sticking out of it and told him to keep it in his pocket in case we needed it. I didn’t tell him what it was.

George almost always rolled with my squad, so the local informant rode with us on this raid. He was looking at my screen inside the vehicle while George talked to him about where we were going. Finally, he told us when we reached the target house, and I called for the platoon to stop.

We were through the door and had that place locked down really quickly. By the time I had the 2nd floor and the roof of the house cleared and secured with Fraleigh’s team, SGT Bridges and his team had the two guys we wanted flex-cuffed on their knees in separate rooms of the house. Lloyd’s squad took the south side of the duplex, and we had hit the north. We were supposed to have a grenadier fire a flare to signal that we had reached the rooftop. My grenadier would fire a round to the north, and Lloyd’s guy would fire his to the south.

When we reached the top I told Colleran, “fire your lum to the north.”

He turned and fired a round straight east over Route Cobra where our Strykers were parked.

“Or east, whatever,” I said.

The intelligence we received from our informant was right on, except for the RPGs. Our soldiers searched the entire house and found about $650 in American money, and a couple of AK-47s.

In addition to the American money and weapons, we found a lot of Saddam Hussein coins.

The informant who had given us all of this information told us that the brothers had a black BMW with the RPGs inside. After we cleared the house and didn’t really find anything of significance, I went outside to check the property. I saw a large tarp with some stuff piled on top of it behind the house, and when I looked underneath I found the black BMW. I thought I had hit the jackpot, but when I opened it up there was nothing inside.

I went back into the house, and AB and George were in the kitchen questioning one of the suspects. He was on his knees next to the kitchen cabinets, and Fraleigh was standing close behind him.

Kirby came up to me very excitedly and asked if the taped up block I had given him was really C4. He must have been hoping I would say no, because his eyes got really big, and he walked away very slowly and gently.

LT Schardt called AB and I over to the other side of the room and asked for our take on the situation. He was mid-sentence when something under the edge of the cabinet caught my eye. I shined my tac-light under the cabinet, and just walked away while the PL was talking. I pushed our suspect out of the way and knelt down to reach under the cabinet. I pulled out an antique looking shotgun. LT Schardt just kind of stood there with his mouth open. The gun was close enough that our suspect could have reached it, but after closer inspection, we found that it wasn’t loaded anyway.

We spent a few hours in the house, and amazingly enough, there were two small children sleeping on the floor in the main room. We searched the place without ever waking them up. An old man there told us that we were good men, doing our duties. He told us that he appreciated that we had been quiet and respectful of his property, and that we hadn’t broken anything. His door was a total loss, of course, but aside from that, we had really not trashed the place. He offered to make us breakfast before we left, but we declined.

In the end, we brought the guys back with us for more questioning, but we didn’t even detain them. We asked them to come along. When we got back to our patrol base, the MPs there threw a hissy about proper paperwork. I told them that we weren’t detaining these men, so there was no need for paperwork. They finally shut up about it.

I’m assuming that the men were taken home later that morning. We left them with the MPs and headed back to our vehicles. We had a couple of hours until we needed to roll out with the psy-ops team again. By the time I got back to our squad’s area, my guys all had their gear off, and they were getting ready get a nap in before the next patrol. I walked over to Kirby and asked if I could have my bomb back. He handed it to me, and I dropped it on the ground. I think he held his breath waiting for it to blow up.

“C4 is pretty stable, Kirby. It’s the blasting caps you have to worry about,” I said as I went and laid down.

When we got back, we were told that one of the 4th platoon guys had walked off of the roof of one of our patrol base buildings while on security. He had to have his face sewn back together.

Carpenter was having an off night. He sideswiped SFC Grimes’ Stryker on our way out of the patrol base, then he scraped some HESCO barriers, and finally clipped a plywood shack that the CLCs had built at one of their checkpoints.

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