My Routine Day – Anonymous

Hello and how are you doing? My task today is to tell you in a five hundred word essay, about my day-to-day routine. My routines changed a few time so I'll tell you how each one varied as time went on. We were there for a total of thirteen months. That's a year and a month. That's a very long time to have the same routine.

My first real routine began when we were assigned our jobs for the year it was about three weeks into the deployment. The First Sgt told us that we would most likely be on the radio for the majority of the time. At first I was put on the morning shift with Sgt Shack, Spec James. At first they wouldn't put me on the radio so all I had to do is run peoples arenas.

I would wake up in the morning at 0700 and I had to be down at the talk at 0900. I would get a shower, shave, brush my teeth, take a shit, and do some pushups, and get dressed for work. Then go down to the talk five minutes early. As soon as I got to the FOB they would have chow ready for us and I would eat. After I would eat I would have a window before luck was anything could happen. Deferent people would tell me to do deferent things every day. After the window was over We would get in one of our vehicles and drive down to the chow hall it was about a mile away from the toe. We would pick up chow and then we would go back to the command center and eat after chow. There was a nether window of time where anyone could tell me to do anything. The next few months went on just like that it was my daily routine.

The next thing that I am going to tell you about was my routine after one of our guys went AWOL. He was on the night shift and so when he went on percent leave I took over his shift. I would wake up at 1600. I would take a shower shave use the rest room then get ready for tock grad. I would show up for work at 1655. As soon as I got to work at about 1700 every day I would have to drop a duce. I would get back from the portable johns then we would eat. After chow there was a window of time where people would tell me what to do. Bye the time I was on the second shift they would not only let me get on the radio they made me get on. I can only guess scene I was so good. After work we would take a vehicle up to the phone center. It was about a mile walk so we would ride as often as possible. After that I would go to bed and get ready for my next eight hour shift.

My Story – SPC Abe Smith

Iraq was hot it in the summer and cold in the winter and we were almost always bored, tired, and overworked for the longest time. I worked some of the longest hours that you could possibly imagine. But this is a story on how you need to set goals and reach them life lessons if you will. We got our orders to deploy and here I was a relatively newlywed and I was about to deploy for what we didn't know was a thirteen month deployment. That's not even the worst part of it my wife was pregnant and I had to leave her with all these things she needed done. So I leave and now I have to set my goals but what I didn't do was stick to them I wanted to but I was immature and stupid in the ways that I handled things that came my way. I was having problems before the deployment and I didn't take care of them although I wanted to it just wasn't able to be done and finished by the time I deployed so I went on and made all these standards and failed to uphold them. Just before I came home I was on a hill in the northern country and we were on a counter mortar patrol we were sitting there talking watching our sectors-when a fellow soldier- -. mentioned that the battery had a firing mission at 1800 just about that time we hear the canons go off and then the whistle I jumped in my truck as the first explosion went off trying to start it. Then as the second and third came in I hit the ground all I could think about was my unborn son and how I could die at any second and he would never get to see his father we finally got out of there an down the hill I started thinking more and working harder on things back home I came home got a new house and everything set up so that my son would come into the world with a good home and nothing to worry about. Well he did have. things to worry about L didn't .do the, things necessary with a year worth of mistakes I started fixing them and things were going so well until the last month and I made my last mistake and now with my family and marriage on the rocks I had to put it all back together so I went at it. I started counseling and I went as far as to tell things that I had never told anyone. So here I was trying to set goals that were just impossible to reach at that point and I let myself and my family down I am trying hard and working on it all but I have a few things to say to any soldier who is about to deploy. First set goals but make them reasonable ones don't go too far too fast. When you have them set go for them and don't stop till you get to where you want to be. Be smart control yourself and stay focused on all the small things first and then when those are taken care of you can start to go for the big ones don't let yourself go to fast take it easy and it will be easier on yourself. If you don't you can put yourself in all the wrong situations that you wanted to avoid in life your career your marriage or anything else that you were trying to work on. So in closing set goals work on them and don't let yourself slip. It isn't that hard to get the things you want in life but it is real easy to lose them so always be open upfront arid honest to yourself and to others in the long run it will only help you get to where you want to be in all that you do reach for the stars and don't let anything get in your way life isn't easy but you don't want to make it any harder than it already is it only takes one mistake to get yourself killed or worse one of your buddies who didn't see it coming thought you were there and due to your own screw ups your head was somewhere else and he or she had to pay the ultimate price nothing is worth giving up what you stand for and your beliefs because you didn't set the proper goals and you let yourself get so caught up in fixing them that you are so behind that you quit. So take this for what you will but please take it to heart or you will go down in the long run.

Wolfhound Reflections – SSG Kenneth Townsend B CO 1-27 INF

The Z’s of September is a day 1’11 never forgets. It started off to be a very nice day, well as nice as one could be while serving in Iraq. Prior to moving out for a mission I had a weird gut feeling that something was going to happen so I ensured that I loaded up the soldiers on the M998 with an armor kit and the ballistic window. It was the most protection we could get at the time. The Bravo Company Headquarters Platoon along with a squad from 15t Platoon went into the city of Riyadh for a city council meeting. We provided security for the company commander and the council members as they discussed issues regarding the improvement of their community and the welfare of their people. As the meeting took place we secured the building and sent out patrols around the city. That day my platoon and I took quite a bite of candy and cereals out on patrol with us. We decided to pass it out to the community just out of the goodness of our hearts. As the day progressed we had patrolled the entire city for several hours and ran out of stuff to hand out. The soldiers and I were looking forward to returning to the FOB for lunch in the new chow hall. The meeting ended and the commander came out to the vehicles to leave. We had one more stop a few hundred meters down the road and then it was off to lunch. The last stop took no more than five minutes or so then we were off. I was the TC for my vehicle with seven other soldiers on it. The convoy consisted of four M998’s, so we pushed two over to the road paralleling us on the way out of the city. As we were leaving Riyadh I was the trail vehicle. We were driving down the road keeping the proper distance; I closed my window and then all of the sudden BOOM. I didn't even initially know what had hit us; it seemed to all happen so quickly. The door blew in and smashed into my leg, the entire cabin was engulfed in black smoke and sparks. I was tossed around inside like a pinball machine. The first few thoughts that came into my head were; we were hit with either an RPG or an lED, was I even still alive, then I realized I was still alive and then thought that I was too young to die. It all happened literally in a split second. I seemed to snap back into reality when I heard the moaning in the back coming from my soldiers. I immediately jumped out of the vehicle and as soon as I touched the ground I fell over due to being very dizzy. I got back to my feet and went over to one of the soldiers. He was just lying there in a pool of blood moaning. I saw that security was already being set up so I pulled the soldier out of the vehicle and began buddy aid. His legs were shredded to pieces and shrapnel wounds all over his body. A medivac was called in immediately for him and the other soldiers. I yelled for the medic because it seemed to me he was losing a lot of blood. As the medic got over there I ran over and checked the other soldiers out. They too took a lot of shrapnel all over and needed medical attention. The combat lifesavers came over quickly to help start treating the wounded. I continued treating the wounded until I was forced onto the FLA. Every soldier on that vehicle had some injuries and is very lucky to be alive. The blast was so intense it blew my hearing protection out of my ears. It made me realize just how quick life can be taken and how precious it is. It was a life changing experience for me and taught me to live life to the fullest and to be grateful for what I have. I also have total faith in the armor kits with the ballistic windows, which I was unsure about prior to this experience. That's the story of the first time I was hit with an lED.

Wolfhound Reflections – SPC Frank Pardo B CO 1-17 INF

Ramadan, the Muslim holy holiday, began mid-October through mid-November. Everyone was on a high alert through this holy holiday, higher than average. A lot had changed for the Wolfhounds in the ten months that we had been helping the Iraqi people. We had won the hearts and minds of many Iraqi citizens, but not all. November 11th 2004 had started out as just another day for the Wolfhounds. The units separately conducted their assigned missions, performing outstandingly. As the day grew on violence erupted in the streets of Hawijah. Wolfhound forces were tasked to secure the city and stop the violence.

I remember hearing the news of what was going on against my brothers in arms. I suited up as fast as humanly possible. I picked up the M249 and headed out to my truck to meet the rest of my platoon and receive all the information Battalion had to put out. We loaded up and within minutes we were in route to defend Hawijah against Anti-Iraqi Forces (AIF). Our route was through the Southwest side of the city, on dirt road by NAI2. As we were approaching South Bridge, the AIF opened fire upon our convoy. Small arms fire and RPG fire were coming from every direction. Our convoy decided to push through the enemy held bridge and head to the Western TCP, our assigned location.

I remember pulling rear security out the back of our M998 while the .50 cal was firing on known enemy locations. As we turned onto the street I had AIF forces in my sight and fired rapidly. As we were caught in crossfire of enemy positions, our truck began to lag behind the rest of the convoy. RPG fire became directed at our vehicle, narrowly missing, as the rest of the convoy speed away. As they broke from the ambush site the rest of our convoy slowed to take well aimed shoots at enemy forces in the alleyways, giving us the time to catch up.

Once we reached the Western TCP our FO's called for fire on the wood line where enemy locations had been seen. We performed our duties at the Western TCP, making sure nobody left the city and covering for other units moving into the city. As our third platoon element entered through the western side of the city we were tasked to move with 3rd platoon and set up the eastern checkpoint. Ensuring that no AIF personnel were entering our exiting the city.

After about six hours of guarding the Eastern checkpoint, with the sounds of sporadic fire from the northern checkpoint, things had calmed down enough for us to move back into the FOB for rest and refit. The next morning I moved out with 2nd platoon to conduct zone clearance in the vicinity of the ING building. We had secured the area until the AT element showed up to guard the South Bridge. The rest of the day we conducted patrols through the area to ensure that no AIF forces could get a foothold in our city.

The next two days included the mortar element linking up with 1st platoon and securing the ING building. There were a few close calls with AIF and we secured the city and made it safe for us, the Wolfhounds, and the Iraqi people living there.

My First IED and Me – Anonymous

11th May, 2005

Once upon a time there was a pop-tart that traveled through the mail from Chicago to Kuwait then Iraq, and in Iraq it made to my Con-Ex, as my Poggy bait. Later that week about five 0' clock in the morning we got ready to go, it was time for Route Clearance. I threw the pop-tart into my assault pack, cause I love me my poggy bait, the M.R.E.s don't quiet do it for me. So I threw my assault back in the Humvee.

The time and setting is Gainsmills, Iraq. Northern Iraq about 40 minutes outside of Kirkuk City. It's in the beginning part of our thirteen month tour. The weather is still cold especially in the early morning. We went to the T.O.C. just like any other day going on patrol, everything was just like normal, our complaining and griping, wish we'd still be asleep or better yet back home sleeping, and not having to walk a hundred meters to use the bathroom. We got our convoy number, followed by our convoy briefing the loaded up to roll out. I was the middle vehicle and I and another soldier were the only ones in the back of the truck, obviously our driver was driving and our truck commander was asleep.

We were finishing up our route clearance; we were on our last stretch. Cold from our sweat and the early morning wind, traveling at about 40 mph. Hungry from the work out of dismounting and mounting on the Humvee and clearing culverts. I believe God intervened, because just at the right moment I was struck with hunger, I reached back to my assault pack for that hum hum pop-tart. Thus my reaching down unto my assault pack provided me with cover, cause before that hunger hit me my head and neck was facing the wind, reaching down gave me protection from what was about to happen. Half a second later, I felt gravel and then looked up over the roof of the Driver and T.C. and sand and dirt flew into my mouth. I then realized what happen an I.E.D. hit our truck. I was filled with anger and excitement cause I'd now have a chance to shoot somebody without worrying about Rules of Engagements, them stupid dirty hajis tried blowing us up. After we push through the kill zone we dismounted and my first words were, "That was cool." in my mind I knew God intervened. We all checked up on each other and there were no major injuries. But I saw that the driver was pale and surprised, and told him to sit down and drink water as I turned around to pull security and to find those back stabbing dirty hajis and kill them.

Wolfhound Reflections – SSG Bender C CO 1-27 INF

On one of the company commander's weekly town mayor meetings in the town of Multaka, I decided to go as my commander's gunner. With us was our soon to be new Commander. He was coming along so he could see how the meetings went and to meet the mayor and police chief of Multaka. Along with the commander's vehicle was a squad from 2nd platoon as our security. We all thought this was a routine convoy, or as best as routine as you can get in a combat zone. We pulled into the town and first went to the police station so the two commanders could talk with the police chief before seeing the mayor. While they were in with the police chief, the squad set up the security around the station. The driver was asked to help out, so we were pulling the commander's vehicle around to help provide security. The driver began driving across what looked like to be an old trail. Well it was the middle of the summer, and everything was bone dry, or so we thought. As we were moving to our position, the Humvee began to sink into the ground. The driver immediately stopped the vehicle and tried to reverse out. Well that didn't work, and now we were stuck up to the bottom of the frame. The commander was notified of the situation. We tried to use another vehicle to pull us out to no avail. 2nd Plt's platoon leader radioed to cold Steele base at Gaines Mill to relay to battalion that we needed a wrecker to get the up armor out of the mud. Base called back and said a wrecker was on the way, and they were going to send a 5 ton truck out to see if that would help. 30 minutes later the 5 ton showed up, and we immediately hooked up tow ropes. Well needless to say, the 5 ton was no help due to the fact that we couldn't get it lined up for optimal pulling due to we didn't want to get that touch stuck. Finally the wrecker showed up. We told the driver that the ground was not what it appeared and to watch where he went to avoid getting himself stuck. He was confident that he wouldn't get stuck, and drove the truck to a point where he could pull the Humvee out. Guess what dear reader. The wrecker sunk like a rock in a pond. So here we are two stuck trucks. Well the driver said at least we can use the wench and get the Humvee out. So out comes the wench cable, they hook it up to the vehicle, and then nothing. The cable will not retract. Oh boy, now what. Well by this time the two commanders are done with their meetings, it is getting to be late afternoon, and there are two vehicles buried in the mud. Luckily, we see a local man and his son driving by in a tracked bucket loader. Our interpreter asked the man if he could help us out. The man agreed. So first they hook a tow rope to the wrecker, and as quickly as it got stuck, it was out of the mud. Well now to the commander's vehicle. Here comes the bucket loader, I look in the driver's seat, and here is the man's 4 year old son driving this huge machine all by himself. What a sight to see, and might I add a little scary seeing as the kid's father was walking beside it. Anyways, the tow rope was hooked up, and out comes the vehicle lickity split. The man was thanked and given some well-earned money for his help, and we were on our way back to our FOB. This just goes to show that no matter how well you plan a mission, how many times you have done said mission, Mr. Murphy rears his ugly head to show you that you never, never, never think that everything is just a routine mission!

Wolfhound Reflections – SPC David Clarkson C CO 1-27 INF

My name is Spec David Clarkson. I am a mortar man in C co 1-27 INF who participated in OIF II. During my tour in Iraq my mortar section was called upon to provide indirect fire support to 1st platoon while providing security to a weapons cache. While guarding this weapons cache our split section performed various illumination missions to light up the field adjacent to the cache site. After we were done shooting the illumination missions we were told that we could rest up to prepare for the long night ahead of us.

Later that night around 2300 hours I was resting on the hood of a Humvee when our element came under indirect fire. A rocket round landed about 500 meters away from our position. At that moment I leapt off of the Humvee and began prepping rounds to return fire. The platoon leader called in coordinates for us to fire illumination to light up the field where they believed the rocket had originated from. The instant we got the first round off the enemy zeroed in on our mortar position and began shooting small arms fire at us. At that moment I looked at my gunner and we both knew what was going on. Thankfully there was a berm located directly in front of our mortar position and in deflected all of the bullets that the enemy was shooting at us. Although we were under fire my section was still able to provide accurate and timely fire support to the fire teams that were sent out into the field to repel the attack.

After we were satisfied that the enemy had been repelled we loaded up our vehicles and returned to base to refit and return to the cache site. We arrived back at the cache site around 0100 hours and stayed until daylight broke. As soon as the next day rolled around the local Iraqi police showed up and informed us that a young woman had been shot in the town just down the road from the cache site. They also informed us that the town's people were blaming us for the shooting and wanted us out of there. Of course that was out of the question. So we loaded up the vehicles once again to go and check out the village where the shooting occurred.

As soon as we approached the village everybody in the convoy felt hostility coming from the people of the village from the dirty looks they were giving us as we approached. Needless to say everybody was on their guard as we pulled in to the village. As we approached the house where the young woman had been taken to there were many people gathered around the house, mainly the women of the town, to pray and give support to the family of the woman. The medic that was with us went into the house and did all that he could to save the woman's life but it was pretty much hopeless, she had lost a lot of blood and was fading fast. The woman died shortly after we arrived which didn't do much for the mood of the village people and made us even more nervous about an oncoming fight.

We did a thorough sweep of the area and found no shell casings or anything which could tell us where the shooter might have been when he shot the woman. What we did find out though was that the woman had been pregnant out of wedlock and that the family was very upset with her. We then concluded that she must have been shot by someone in the community and they just used the attack on us as a scapegoat to try and turn the towns people against us, but we were able to convince the town elder that there was no way that we could have shot her from our position and we left the village without any hostilities.

Security Mission to Al Zaab – SSG Jesse Okiyama

This day started out just like any other day. I received a security mission the night before and at first light the following morning at around 0730HR 1st SQD, 2nd PLT, Bravo Company was up prepping for their mission. Immediately after the convoy brief we departed the F. O. B (Forward Operating Base) and headed west, thru the unpredictable city of Al Hawijah, and finally thru the little Al Zaab bridge, nearing ambush alley. As the convoy approaches the bend of ambush alley I watched as the first HUMMY passes through, then the second, then the convoy commander's HUMMV then as my vehicle nears the center of ambush alley a loud and thunderous explosion goes off. As I watched the mushroom cloud rise before my eyes that's when I realized that this was the real thing an IED (Improvised Explosive Device) had just hit our convoy. My squad's sole purpose is to provide security and act as the maneuvering element, so I quickly repositioned my vehicle outside the kill zone, dismounted my squad leaving behind a driver and the gunner to provide security and although I could see that there was damage to the convoy commander's HUMMV, I continued my mission which was to clear and establish security, my team leaders maneuvered there teams up a hillside for about 250 meters and while running out of breath once on top I noticed that I still had over 1000 meters of flat ground to clear. Once the area was cleared my team leaders established security on the high ground while I sent up a situation report. I then moved below to assess the damages only to find that the convoy commander was knocked out with a concussion. We then proceeded to assess the Hummv to see if it was still mission capable, after knocking out the driver and passenger windows to see, the HUMMV was still not mission capable so we knew we needed to tow it. While the AT section hooked up the HUMMV to a tow bar, the Iraqi Police brought us another IED from a school in Al Zaab that we were going to visit. After passing the information to higher and the eminent danger of an attack in the city we decided to cut our losses and head back to the F.O.B.

This experience changed my life forever in the sense of the dangers in Iraq. This was my first IED experience and it is one that I will never forget. That day the realization of the dangers and the thought of people are actually out to kill me were eminent. It was something that I was going to have to live with for the rest of my time in Iraq knowing that around every comer could be someone with a gun, RPG, or even a remote to set off an IED. After that day I knew that the most important people to help me survive were the brothers in arms next to me. They were my life line as I am theirs.

The Day of the Car Bomb – SPC Mark D. Gunthorpe

It was a typical morning in the land of the borzoi, morning dew, rising sun, and the smell of oil burning in the air. 2nd PLT. Bravo Company 1st of the 27th infantry regiment was on QRF (quick reaction force) that day. We got the call in the morning around 0930 to escort E.O.D (explosive ordinance detachment) out to a possible lED spot on a major supply route. Everything was going as planned, we left on time and everybody was ready to accomplish the mission at hand. We left the F.O.B. (forward operating base) and headed east towards a small gas station. There were cars everywhere around all lined up for gas. I remember sitting in the back of the RUMMV and thinking to myself that this was going to be another easy mission. Just as I looked back when we got past the gas station a car that was on the side of the road blew up and threw shrapnel and pieces of the car everywhere. All I could see was a big ball of fire and smoke. The second vehicle in the convoy was slowing to a stop in the middle of the smoke. Immediately I called on the radio to higher and made them aware of the situation, at this point 2nd pit was only about 2000 meters from the F.O.B. After hopping out of the RUMMV and rushing to the second vehicle I noticed that we had taken some casualties and need a medical evacuation. They responded with the bird is on the way and the FLA is in route. Knowing that, I passed the word up to the platoon leader and he adjusted the platoon in a fashion so that we blocked off the gas station, that way we could try to find the enemy with the detonation device. The helicopter landed approximately 5 min later and the 3 personnel that were severely wounded were evacuated and 2 others were taken back to the F.O.B. by the FLA. We then proceeded to search the gas station for the detonator. By that time there was the whole bravo company, one platoon from Alpha co, and two support platoons. We ended up searching the gas station and everyone in it for about 2hrs. Then we called to hire and they said to report to base and cancel the previous mission.

As we rolled into the F.O.B. all I can remember thinking is that I just loaded one of my buddies on to a helicopter and I don't even know if he is going to make it. That moment changed my life forever and to this day I still think about this event at least once a day. Every day I thank god that my friends made it out alive and that even though that day I thought it was all over. Little did I know it was just the beginning of the true meaning of comradery? To see all the troops to come out and help there brother who was injured and to stop at nothing to find the enemy that caused his wounds. True friends are hard to come by, but brothers in arms are forever.

New Private – PVT Conrad K. Seyfried, III

Hello. I am Pvt. Seyfried, Conrad K. III. From what I can say from the time that I had on Rear-D was that I might be getting in over my head. Everyone that I was meeting were telling me that I am going to get eaten up and it’s going to be extremely hard for me when everyone came back from Iraq and I was send to my company. With everyone saying all of that I started to think that I was not going to be able to even last the first few days but things change. I was only able to do so much PT when I was on rear-d because I either had to go do it on my own or I would be doing it with one or two other people because everyone on rear-d was hurt from something in Iraq. I had never really got smoked on Rear-D and I can’t really think of anything that I should have been smoked for when I was on it but I sort of wish that I was just so that I would be stronger now. Time went on and I got to know some of the guys that had been sent to Iraq and had been sent back because they got hurt in some way, and as I got know more of them the more I felt like this is going to be really cool and I am going to have lots of fun at the unit. As I got to know more people the more stories I started to heir about Iraq and the things that have been going on over there and how people were getting hurt and I almost wished that I would have made it to this unit early enough for me to have been sent over just so I could have a story or two to tell. It was finally time for the first companies to start to come back from Iraq and when I first seen everyone that was sent over there back with their families outside the barracks it made me feel like I am an outsider and that I should not have been there because I did not go over with them. It was like that for the next group of guys to come back as well. But then for some reason when the last group of guys came back started to feel like I was a part of something that was really fantastic. Probably because by that time I had some time to be with some of the guys that went over and I started to see and understand how they were feeling about coming back home. With me understanding how everyone was feeling about coming back home I came to understand that it would not be so bad and that there really is nothing that I should worry about when I was to go to my company for the first time. So really all I need to do was Bite the Bullet so says my Grandfather, and so that's was I did and everything is as good as its going to get.

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