One of our standard duties is to drive up and down a major road in our AO to look for IEDs, hopefully without getting blown up by them first.

Today we were going to document the locations of all the dead vehicles on the road for eventual removal, such as this tank.

Another dead armored vehicle, probably once amphibious.

Since dead animals are a common place to hide explosives, we have to dispose of them as soon as we find them. Jeff, in the foreground, waits for a light for his cigarette and for his dog.

The dog being disposed of. Jeff got his light.

We recently found a dead cow, bloated as hell with all four legs in the air, but before we could get back to it, some other unit burned it. Damn them.

Any vehicles that are stopped on the side of the road, we stop and inspect to see if they are up to no good or if they just need help. Communicating with the Iraqis is nearly impossible, so we tend to stick to hand signals. To an Iraqi, the “thumbs up” used to mean “up your ass”, but now we have taught them that it means “A-Okay”. This ambiguity is absolutely sublime. Kids all across Iraq (and soldiers) can now use an obscene hand gesture with impunity. Here Jeff gives an apparent, “The bus doesn’t seem to contain any weapons or terrorists. It’s A-Okay.”, but in reality what he means is, “Don’t give me this ‘broken down Iraq fantasy tour bus’ shit! Where are you hiding the fucking RPGs??!! Oh, what, you don’t speak English like the rest of the world does? Fine. You know what guy, just shove it up your ass.”