October 15, 2004
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.