LAN party!
A bunch of guys from 3rd Platoon visited our bunker for a platoon vs. platoon LAN party of Counter Strike!

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.

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

My rejected Calvin Klein fragrance proposal ad campaign:
“Ambush – for men.”

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.

This is what an IED made from 155mm artillery rounds does to an up-armored Humvee. Six soldiers from my company were injured in this attack, and two Humvees were disabled.

The irony here is that the guy on the passenger side (or TC for “truck commander”) was probably saved because his window was down, rather than up. Notice how the shrapnel punched through door, but was stopped by the lowered window.

The windows and windshield of these Humvees are made of some really interesting material. On the outside you have hardened glass, but on the inside it’s a soft, transparent material. If you press your fingernail into it, it’s slightly soft and leaves an indent, then slowly regains its shape once you release pressure. In these two photos you can very clearly see how this flexible quality basically “caught” the shrapnel, sorta like Kevlar.

The guy who sustained probably the most serious injury was hit with shrapnel that punched this hole. The small piece of metal just barely missed the armor plate, penetrating the skin of the vehicle. (This Humvee is different from the photos above. This vehicle has add-on armor as the vehicle above is an up-armored Humvee.) Below is the view from the inside. The shrapnel entered his arm lengthwise then stuck in the bone like a dart of push-pin. The wound was painful and there was a good deal of blood, but he was medevac’d from the scene without incident.

Two of our battalion’s mechanics, working on one of the Humvees damaged by the IED.

Segun Frederick Akintade
The spot where Akintade died. It bothered me that so much evidence remained as a result of this event– I didn’t want to give anyone the satisfaction of seeing it. After I took this photo, I threw all the medical trash in the weeds, out of sight, and used my boot to obscure the blood with dirt.

IED trigger materials
The IED trigger materials we found in the backyard of a building near the attack site

A very large family
An incredibly large family, anxiously waiting while we search their home

The door Kirk and Willy couldn’t seem to breach

Segun Frederick Akintade
Segun Frederick Akintade. Photo by Anthony, taken in Kuwait, 4 March 2004.

The Two Tits
Whiskey, providing overwatch for the engineers while they put the concrete barriers in place, from the landmark we referred to as “The Two Tits”

wounded Iraqi

wounded Iraqi
Matt, on the right, works on the wounded Iraqi

Karl, in his Bradley
Karl, in his Bradley

radio duty
People who get in trouble get reassigned to headquarters and have to monitor the radio. I spent a few late nights sitting here.

combat xmas tree
A combat Christmas tree– complete with an AT4, belts of 7.62mm and .50-cal, smoke grenades, and high explosive 40mm grenades.

duty first
The bunker we stayed in just before leaving Iraq. The First Infantry division’s motto is “Duty First”.

The wait in Kuwait

Matt giving Willy an IV to help him hydrate his hangover

Standing in the awesome homecoming ceremony formation. Notice Ray looking back at me.

It was a packed house at the ceremony

Mike and his son. I have to admit that I really envy this guy. Incredible career and family.

final formation

final formation
Our final formation of the deployment. From the right: John, Willy, and Ray.

Felix showing off his chin and the leg it saved

The Alamo

The Gap


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