Deleted Scenes

Combat can be pretty heavy stuff with all the gallows humor and what not, so it’s pretty hard to be offended by anything. However, this photograph actually managed to offend me.

The details of this story are fuzzy. Some of our guys were visiting a man and his family to reward him with some new shoes for being so helpful with intelligence. The mans’s brother allegedly threw a hand grenade from within the house. The grenade never made it out of the house and exploded inside the house, wounding one or both of the men. It is unclear who the grenade was intended for. It is assumed that the grenade thrower was unhappy with his brother’s giving information to the Americans. Despite whatever nuances there might have been with the story, a soldier with a reputation for acting decisively entered the building and shot and killed both men.

The only fact that I am certain of is that two men were killed. I also trust that there was an explosion or grenade. I was a part of the force that responded to the event. The rest is hearsay and conjecture.

Then rolled in Hunter Six– the battalion commander.

Hearing that there was bloodshed, our BC came to the scene with his coterie to skulk around. While the family of these two men were in the backyard and out of sight, grieving in what I can only describe as the most memorable display of human anguish I’ve seen in my life, this man poses over one of the dead bodies and has his photograph taken. I do not know who took these photos. (JCH 2012)

The house belonging to the family

Lt. Col. Mark R. Warnecke, New York Army National Guard, commander of the 2/108th Infantry, FOB O’Ryan, Ad Dujayl, Iraq.

The M4 fires the 5.56x45mm cartridge and has a 14.5 inch barrel firing a 62 grain projectile at 2970 ft./sec.
The AK-47 fires the 7.62x39mm cartridge and has a 16 inch barrel firing a 122 grain projectile at 2330 ft./sec.
The M24 fires the 7.62x51mm cartridge and has a 24 inch barrel firing a 174 grain projectile at 2580 ft./sec.

Below are the results against quarter-inch steel at various distances, as conducted by a few of the snipers in our company. The single most interesting thing here is the fact that the AK-47 round never penetrated the steel, but the smaller, faster M4 round did.
standard military rounds vs. 1/4 inch steel plate

standard military rounds vs. 1/4 inch steel plate

On our way up to Samarra, we passed this mysterious, inscrutable building in the middle of nowhere.

Qasr al-Ashiq palace

Qasr al-Ashiq palace

Qasr al-Ashiq palace

Qasr al-Ashiq palace
After a little research, I’ve come to believe that is it the Qasr al-Ashiq palace:

Samarra is a fucking spooky place. The entire vibe is much more tense than anywhere else I’ve been in Iraq. The guys below, believe it or not, are friendlies. If I saw them anywhere else, or not in an ING vehicle, I would not assume they were friendlies.

You may recall we shot a chicken farmer whom we thought was an insurgent. Well, we patched him up and he is doing quite fine now! (photographer unknown)

chicken farmer healing nicely

chicken farmer healing nicely

chicken farmer healing nicely

chicken farmer healing nicely

Ray and Socky get the CIB!
Ray and Socky are awarded the Combat Infantryman Badge. (photo from Ray)

Darren with the circular saw
Darren builds the frame of the climbing wall.

Phase one of wall complete
The first phase of the wall is already up.

With a little teamwork– including from the ICDC!– the frame starts going up.

Darren secures the frame
Darren secures the frame.

Almost done
Almost done.

Ray climbing
Ray climbing.

These are photos of the family we almost wasted:

I really love the photo above. The guy’s hair on the left is awesome, and the dad covering his head like he’s a boxer on his way to the ring is priceless.

Civilians who are not dead.

I like to imagine that the guy on the left is the second oldest son, but his dad favors him more because he’s more level-headed than the oldest son with the pompadour from the first photo. He’s more adept at the family business of dirt farming and is not as promiscuous as the first son who has been caught gazing at women’s ankles at least twice. The son on the right is the mechanic of the family and is a realist. He’s the most quiet, but he’s also the only thing that keeps the family together. He is trying to make a straight face, but at the moment I took this picture, he was hating on me hard. To be totally serious, I really like these pictures because they are of people who we didn’t kill. Something about having pictures of people who you almost killed seems really weird to me, but kinda cool in way. I’m just happy they’re not dead.

Photo of a cute Iraqi kid who I almost shot but didn’t mean to.

This kid is from the country. Country kids are much better behaved than kids from town. I absolutely love this kid’s shirt. If you look closely, you’ll love it too. It has the word “Skate” printed in the pattern with silhouettes of snowboarders. This photo pretty much has everything. Behind the boy is the oldest woman being hysterical and sitting on the ground are the young women, whom we ignored, just like they always are in Iraq.

Photos of the week of cute Iraqi kids who I want to shoot

Something I can not reiterate often enough is how monumentally misbehaved Iraqi street kids are. But some of them are just so darn cute, you can’t help but want to squeeze their little faces– until they suffocate.

“Trust Jesus”

“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.”
Matthew 25:31-33

It’s good to see that someone involved in the aid process of donating clothing has a sense of humor. You can’t see it really well, but this kid is wearing a t-shirt with a cartoonish goat printed on it and entitled, “Trust Jesus”.

Here’s a super short photo essay about an Iraqi man who failed out of the Iraqi National Guard for drug use, started running with a bad crowd, then was stupid enough to store some illegal weapons and improvised explosives at his home. We call him Crackhead Bob. Someone ratted him out and we did a soft raid of his house, meaning we knocked on the door rather than kicked it in. The Iraqi Police did a lot of the work on this one, much to their credit. But we’ll discuss all that later. Here’s a few quick photos of Crackhead Bob, his naughty items, and some of the beautiful artwork in his home.

One RPG, two artillery rounds. Awesome!

Crackhead Bob
“Um, they’re not mine, I was just, like, holding them for this other guy. No wait, actually, I took them from him, just tonight, and I was going to give them to you tomorrow morning. Yeah.”

violent posterviolent poster
Violent religious imagery! Awesome! What better way to show your piety than a calendar depicting a head on a fucking pike! Wait, on second thought I could be totally wrong. Maybe these are horror movie posters. Yeah, that makes a lot more sense. Duh. What was I thinking?! A head on a pike?! Come to think of it, that does kinda look like Bruce Campbell.

dead baby poster
Dead babies! Awesome! This guy is really into some hardcore horror movie shit! I hope we find his stash of Fangoria.

Islamist poster
The best one yet! A poster for an extremist sect of Islam! Awesome!

The kids in town would use sling shots to knock these falcons out of the trees, then pluck their flight feathers to keep them as pets. Ray liberate five of them and nursed them back to health. Three of the five survived. Once they could fly again, Ray released them.

Ray and a kestrel

This is Chris with Melissa, perched atop the Humvee known as Malibu Barbie, providing overwatch for the morning’s raid.

One of the gas mask canisters we found at the place we dubbed the “chemical plant”.

EOD robot
There were several occasions during April where we escorted EOD so they could destroy suspected IEDs. The process is pretty simple. You put a few bricks of C4 on the IED and remotely detonate it. To safely get the C4 to the site, the EOD guys use robots like this one. The control device for these robots are really cool in a geeky kind of way. The future of warfare is owned by the geeks, mark my words.

trucks with inert bombs
What do you do when you’re driving back from a mission and you see trucks driving down the road full of bombs? You pull them over and ask them what in the name of fuck they think they’re doing. We made these guys drive to our base and spend the night. Once we were convinced that the bombs they had were in fact inert that they just wanted to use for scrap metal, we let them go. The whole thing was slightly unnerving.

Okay, so we’ve been in Iraq for a little over two weeks now and have performed a lot of different missions. Here are a few photos from a few fairly typical days:

On one of our first days, we did a little FOB (forward operating base) guarding. This is the view from a front gate guard post, protecting incoming convoys like this one.

During a patrol down a rural road, Matt says, “You’ve got to be fucking kidding me. Oh my god, you aren’t kidding me.” Yes, we drove through a flock of sheep, but that’s okay because from our dashboard, plastic Jesus watches over his flock. Which brings to mind a song.
Feel free to sing along:

Oh, I don’t care if it rains and freezes,
long as I got my plastic Jesus,
ridin’ on the dashboard of my car.

I can go ninety-five miles per hour,
long as I got almighty power,
ridin’ on the dashboard of my car.

Hit a car, hit a truck,
plastic Jesus don’t give a fuck,
ridin’ on the dashboard of my car…

For a few days we had to guard a bridge. We got swamped with kids wanting food. “Mister! Mister! Gimme food!” It helped pass the time, playing with the kids. Once we finally gave them MREs, all they’d do was ratfuck the candy out of them and dump the rest. (Santo with Wazina in the background)

One of the kids had a can of dip. Sean showed him how to pack it. Remember, education is the key.

While exploring the area around the bridge, we came across this mystery thing, across a canal and behind a locked fence. Some kids were pointing at it. I seriously don’t know what this is but am curious. Any ideas?

While guarding the bridge, we would stay at a nearby FOB that now is home to all the dead Iraqi tanks.

Our beautiful accommodations at the visited FOB. I slept on the concrete floor the first night, later upgrading to an inflatable sleeping mat with a slow leak.

Does this photo really need a caption? Shitters set up next to a missile. Photo by Matt.

The field showers were actually really awesome. They had hot water and good water pressure. They were run by an unattractive overweight female specialist that many guys concluded they would have sex with if given the chance. You’ve heard of “beer goggles”, well this phenomenon is known as “field goggles” and is even more severe.

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