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Wolfhound Reflections – SPC Nigel James C Co 1-17 IN

I am Specialist James. I am a soldier in C. Co 1/27 Infantry. These are my true and honest reflections as it concerns my deployment to Iraq. First of all I will admit that at first I did not see the importance of us going to Iraq to participate in Operation Iraqi Freedom. My feelings were that there should not have been any U.S. military presence in Iraq. My opinion changed however.

My feelings now are that we as a nation, a leading nation, took the right steps in deploying to Iraq to help the people of that country regain their freedom which they had been denied for so long. When my unit arrived in Iraq I was a bit surprised at what I saw. It wasn't as terrible as the media had portrayed it to be, as far as the ground combat was concerned. At times there would be spurts of violence and resistance by anti-coalition forces, but for the most part it was not fighting day in day out 24 hours, 7 days of the week. The living conditions leave much to be desired. Contrary to how the media makes it seem, the majority of the Iraqi people are farmers or shepherds and simple people trying to survive in an oppressed land. When I heard how many millions of dollars’ worth of oil flow through that country on a daily basis is when I realized how cheated the Iraqi people have been for so long. Basic needs are extremely hard to come by, such as, clean running water, indoor plumbing, schools for the children, etc ... Upon witnessing these things for myself, it really made me think that the majority of our fellow citizens back at home in the US have no idea of the importance of the small things that we, on a whole take for granted. Not excluding myself, of course, I am just as guilty of doing that as anyone else.

As the deployment went on throughout the months and I saw the work that we had done to help the Iraqi people and saw the projects that we helped to get underway it made me proud to be there doing my part. The best part is seeing the gratitude in the eyes of the children as you hand them books and learning materials. I thought of my own daughter and how I would feel if my family had to live in some of the conditions that I saw. These are the things that have caused me to change my outlook on the mission to Iraq. As much as I hated being separated from my family for 13 months and at times thought that the mission wasn't worth it, I am a better man today because of that mission. I feel that being deployed to Iraq with my brothers in arms, doing my duty as best as possible, seeing the positive aspects and the success of our overall mission has helped me to mature as a man and a person. Our deployment has taught me humility and a greater appreciation for everything available to myself and my family, even the seemingly small and insignificant things that we take for granted on a daily basis. I find it rather amazing that this "war" has helped to make me a more calm and collected person. Now don't get me wrong. There were times during our mission when it became necessary to do what comes naturally to an infantry soldier. We did our raids and our cordon and searches and everything required to ensure our safety as well as the safety of the non-combatant Iraqi people. My focus on this particular piece of literature is on the positive aspects of my unit's deployment to Iraq and my feelings on that deployment, therefore I would rather not discuss that part of our mission that may or may not have required us to be brutal at times. I am hopeful that another soldier will someday read this and be able to say that he/she felt the same way about being in Iraq.

My overall reflection on the mission to Iraq is that, as individual soldiers and as a unit we were successful in our mission. We did what was required of us and did it well. I did not like being away from my family but I am happy that we were able to help less fortunate families begin to have hope for a better future for their children as well as for themselves.

 

1-27 Medics – SSG Eric Z. McConnell

28 April 2005 

25th Division knows, 1-27INF has the best Medical Platoon in the Division. Not only do we have the highest percentage of Medics that are fully 91 Whiskey transitioned but we have also seen the most wounded and the saved the most lives. I, SSG Erik Z. McConnell, was the 1-27INF evacuations NCOIC as well as the Civilian Gate NCOIC. I went on 32 evacuation missions and successfully ran the civilian gate without ever compromising the safety of the FOB McHenry. However, I did not do all of this on my own. I had the help of all the 1-27INF medics.

Most of the missions I went on SSG Stiltner went with me. He was actually the Treatment NCOIC, however he was always more excited about going on Evac missions than staying and running the aid station. On the morning of the 7 April 2004, we were awakened by incoming mortars and the sound of ADA firing at something in the field outside of the FOB. After about an hour everything went back to normal. At 0800 the medics opened the civilian gate and prepared for the daily business, this day seemed to be very different. Only one of our interpreters showed up for work and there were no contractors or civilians waiting to enter the FOB. Normally we would have at least 30 people waiting to enter. Around 0830 we received mortar fire. The rounds landed close to the civilian gate, which was nothing new since the majority of the incoming rounds land by the civilian gate. It's a good thing the enemy doesn't know how to aim the mortars!

A few hours pass and a firefight began in AI Hawijah. The Evac team is alerted and the crews are waiting for the word of any wounded soldiers. In my FLA were SSG Stiltner (TREATMENT NCOIC), CPT Sherman (PA), SPC Davenport (FLA DRIVER), PFC Ondus (EV AC MEDIC), and myself. Over the radio I hear that we have two wounded soldiers and they are in need of the evacuation. So, now we are waiting on the word from the command to move out. Our escort was B co and the AT platoon. As we headed out the gate of the FOB McHenry I could feel my heart pounding and the adrenaline was fully pumping. All of the soldiers lock and load and prepare for whatever is thrown at them. In route to Al Hawijah I'm riding TC and receiving radio traffic on the wounded soldiers. It is my job to find out the injuries and inform the crew so we know what equipment to have ready.

As we pull into Al Hawijah all you hear is automatic weapons fire from all around you. You see soldiers stacked on comers and firing down allies while bodies of insurgents are laying all over with their weapons they had in their hands now laying on the ground beside them. Once we pulled into the ING compound we all jump out of the FLA and went to work. Lucky for us and the soldiers that were injured there was no life threatening injuries. Some had shrapnel and others had bullet wounds in the extremities. SSG Stiltner went out of the ING building and was using At's radio to inform command and the aid station of the number and type of injuries. All of the sudden he hears rounds bouncing of the concrete in front of him and jumps out of the way just in time. An insurgent was shooting an AK47 down into the compound and nearly hit SSG Stiltner. One of the AT NCOs was in the guard tower and spotted the shooter. He then trained his sniper rifle on him and fired. Like a movie the guy fell out of the tower doing summersaults all the way down. IT was almost in slow motion. Shortly after that I was inside treating a patient when I realized I needed some supplies from the FLA. So without thinking I ran outside without my Kevlar on. As soon as I stepped out the door on of the Iraqi army SGT's grabbed me and pulled me to the ground, yelling RPG. Shortly after hitting the ground I heard the explosion and felt the concussion of the RPG blowing up in front of the FLA. Boy was that cutting it close! Without hesitation I jumped up and got the supplies we needed and went back in the building to continue treating the wounded.

We made two trips into Al Hawijah that day my 2nd crew made one trip. None of the medics were injured that day and all soldiers that were injured lived, and most were treated and sent back to duty.

A Medic's Perspective of OIF II – SPC Compton

Well going into the theater from Hawaii we really didn't know what to expect. Going to Kuwait was totally different from what I had in my mind. I thought people would be driving around in beat up old cars or riding around on camels. In reality they all pretty much drove around in newer cars. Most buildings were modem and the roads were really nice. We stayed in Kuwait for about 2 weeks, getting our equipment ready, and training. Training included weapons qualification, convoy live fire, and just getting used to getting things done in the hot desert environment. On the convoy from Kuwait to Iraq, we really didn't think about anything but what we were doing at that particular point in time. Iraq was also very different than what I saw on the T.V. It pretty much was a 3rd world country. I just couldn't believe that this country had the 4th largest army in the world. Then again there was. a war going on. On the way up north we saw a lot of people on the side of the road. The children out running around cheering, smiling, and laughing. The men would be out with their hands behind their backs, kind of like standing at Parade Rest, looking at us, kind of almost like inspecting us. We all pretty much kept our eyes peeled for anything that could happen. Going up to Hawijah, which was about 40 miles west of Kirkuk, took us about 4 days to complete the journey. We took responsibility of FOB McEnery on the 12th of February from the 4th Infantry Divisions' 1-12 Infantry. Task Force 1-27 had just assumed command of the largest area in AO Warrior. Now, just being a medic, we had a lot of different missions that we had to do. We had sent 12 medics out to the line companies. We were responsible for running the civilian gate of FOB McHenry, and we still had to run the Aid Station and all the duties that were included in with it.

From the moment we took over, we knew that the people of Hawijah didn't like Americans too much. We had mortar attacks and lED's. Some of the mortars that were lobbed at us came pretty close. In the beginning they were only getting about 100 meters away from the gate. In time they got closer and closer. I think that the closest one that we had to the gate was about 25-30 meters away which was an air burst over at the detention facility. In March, I was tasked to be the ALOC Medic for a week. Which gave me a break from eating the food that we were getting feed. The ALOC was located at the Kirkuk Regional Air Base. Now, the Kirkuk airbase wasn't really all that. It just had some amenities that we didn't have at McHenry. It just had a bigger and nicer chow hall, a PX, burger king, pizza hut, and not to mention you got to meet some females. Wellbeing in an Infantry Battalion and not getting to see females all that much, it was nice. Well my job at the ALOC was to be the medic on all of the resupply convoys going to McHenry and Gaines Mills. Now, when I was the ALOC medic, not much went on. I guess I was good luck or something. After my week of "R&R" in Kirkuk was finished, I was sent back to McHenry to once again work at the civilian gate.

Actually working at the civilian gate wasn't that bad. Some of the interpreters that we had spoken English very well. Abdullah was our best one. Abdullah was from Schmett village which was right outside of the city of Za'ab. This guy had a wife and 5 kids and was in the process of building his own home. We got to learn a lot about the Iraqi culture and also got to learn about the Muslim religion. We also got a chance to learn some interesting and colorful words and phrases in Arabic. They in turn go to learn the American dialect of English. When an Iraqi goes to school to learn English they are taught the British dialect of the language. They soon found out the difference between the way that we talk and the way that the British talk, which was the way they were taught to speak English.

Well soon after my return to McHenry from Kirkuk, I once again packed my bags and moved to another place. The destination was Chemical Ali’s house which was now known as FOB Gaines Mills. Since we had a line company at Gaines Mills, C co 1-27, we had to provide an ambulance crew. We also kept our FSB assets over there also. Pretty much, nothing really happened over there. They got an occasional mortar round every once in a while, but that was pretty much it. We did however get to do some pretty high speed training with the Special Forces medic. He pretty much had shown us some stuff that made our treatment of casualties on the battlefield a lot better. And some of his SF grunts did let us shoot some AK c 47's and some MP5's. After about 3 months over at Gaines Mills I was moved again back to McHenry.

When I moved back over to McHenry, I did get a chance to witness some gunshot wounds, shrapnel wounds from lED's and even some burns. When we found out that we got extended it hit some guys really hard. For the most part we just grinned and bore it. We just took the extra time to make sure that the new- unit replacing us was really trained up on what they needed to do their job well in Iraq. All in all I look back at it all and think the deployment went very well. Some of us didn't make it back which is sad but the majority of the battalion and the task force survived and will live with the memories of our 1'3 months in Iraq. Though I wouldn't want to repeat it gain, I think that we came out of it better than we went in.

Thank you for the time to read my paper on some of the accounts that I have experienced on my tour of duty in my first combat deployment.

Reflections of OIF II – SSG Christopher M. Allee

05 MAY 2005

During the time that I was in Iraq, there were times that I wondered what the hell I was doing here. You read in the newspapers all across the country or look on the internet to see that we are not doing anything for this country and that the people wanted us out there. I arrived to the country of Iraq on the 16th of October 2004. I was coming from a Division level job that was based out of Afghanistan. When I first got to FOB McHenry it was not what I expected to see. Soldiers were living in Conex's, had a chow hall that was not a tent as was to be believed from newspapers and TV shows. After I was introduced to my new chain of command it was time for me to go on my first mission. The rest of the soldiers were used to the common missions that they had performed for over ten months already yet there was a common attitude that there was a mission ahead and that it was time to go to work.

The first mission was to go on was Route Clearance, this was the type of mission where you had to stop and search all suspicious locations for possible lED's (Improvised Explosive Device ). Watching my fellow soldiers get out of the vehicles to check these locations, trying to learn what they were doing and how to react to any situation that might occur while out of the relative security of the FOB. An lED is any kind of bomb that is used to wound or destroy personnel and vehicles. They can be made from any explosive material and put inside a dead animal to a coffee can. Most of the I EO's that we found over there were 155 mm rounds that had PE-4 shoved in the nose of the round, with a detonator. While this mission was dangerous over time the fear left and experience set in. After the first month went by I started to get to know the area. We were coming back from a city council meeting in the town of Abassi when my vehicle got hit with an lED. Looking back I remember watching TV and seeing explosions go off and there was a big fireball and sparks. THIS was NOT the case. No one was on the road, BANG!! It went off. There was no fireball or sparks, just a huge cloud of gray and brown smoke. Shrapnel and rocks went in all directions. No time to duck or get out of the way, you could not push pause on the OVD to wait for it to stop or slow down. By the time you knew what was going on it was already over with. A lot of times we were lucky, and took no casualties but the vehicle would bear the brunt of the explosion. Though there were times that we took casualties. Ninety percent of the time the vehicle was the only casualty. One of the other missions that we had to do was present patrols to check out our Area of Responsibility which was Za'ab. In Za'ab we would check the Counsel building, Police station and the local housing areas for possible terrorist presents. We would talk to the local Mayor to see if anyone in the area seemed dangerous or moved in and out of town frequently. Over the next few months I got to learn the area and the locals, they seemed eager to help us find the insurgents and get them out of there towns and villages. However some of the locals were fearful of retaliation from insurgents they helped the Coalition Forces. The insurgents would often times attack the local’s families as a scare tactic, so that the head of the households would not assist the Coalition Forces.

My overall experience while deployed to Iraq and to Afghanistan were that though all the explosions, fire fights, ambushes, and attacks on the local town’s people it never ceased to amaze me how soldiers bond and comfort each other when nobody else will. We all have our stories, and as much as we try to explain it to our love ones, they will never fully understand what we have done and continue to do for the United States of America and for the country of Iraq. I am proud to be a soldier, I am proud of my country.

"WOLFHOUNDS”

 

Reflections of Iraq – SPC Joseph Bergen HHC 1-27 IN

I will never forget when the word came down that 2nd brigade was deploying to Iraq for Operation Iraqi Freedom 2.1t was Shocking because I knew before reporting to Hawaii that the 25th had not deployed in mass since the Vietnam war. As everyone knows we were originally supposed to deploy to Afghanistan for a 6 month tour. In sight of that, I think that every soldier handled the change of mission well and approached the new mission head-on. It was a little over-whelming when we first arrived in Iraq because at the time the insurgency uprising was a fairly new phenomenon, as well as the placement of improvised explosive devices, the mechanics of how they work and how to counter and avoid them. All that soldiers and the American people heard through the media was about roadside bombs, insurgent attacks and how coalition forces and civilian contractors were being killed or wounded every day. I would have to say that when we first crossed the Kuwait border into Iraq that I've never been so nervous in my life. My platoon was hit with our first roadside bomb 8 days after we arrived on F.O.B McHenry. It blew up right at the back of my Humvee. No damage was inflicted on the Humvee, myself or any of the soldiers riding in the back. The Humvee from 4th 1.0 that was riding along with us was hit with shrapnel and sustained minor damage. Thankfully no one was injured in that vehicle either. I know that I will never forget the sound of that first I.E.D going off, and the unnerving feeling that someone actually wanted to kill me with that blast. The reminder that these people wanted to kill me and didn't have any regard for me or the fact I had a wife and 2 young boys at home waiting on me. In the calm ness after that attack, as well as the other roadside bombs, firefights, and mortar attacks that followed, I always found myself wondering what my family was doing and how strange it was' that while they were sleeping, working and just living a normal life I was in the middle of fighting to save my own. I wondered how they would react if they knew that is was in the middle of a fire fight or sitting in my conex as mortar rounds were dropping inside the F.O.B. But make no mistake, our mission and our AO was not as difficult or as dangerous as I had originally expected.

My personal opinion of the Iraqi people is that when they see American or coalition forces coming they are cowards. They will only attack if they can run. I won't go into my personal politics or feelings on the war itself. What I will say that my experience in Iraq (for better or for worse) changed me forever. Regardless of where the road ahead takes me, I will always be proud to say that I served in the United States Army as well as Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Before I close this out I have to say, let us never forget all the soldiers who did not come back and pray for the safe return of everyone currently serving over there.

"WOLFHOUNDS”

 

Reflections of OlF2 – SPC Ascencio

Lots of things crossed my mind as soon as I heard we were getting deployed to Iraq. All the thoughts and memories of my loved ones came and went as the days shortened for our departure to the country of Iraq. Finally we were here, all the noise and excitement of my fellow soldiers around me made feel full of emotion but at the same time nervousness. No one knew what to expect, all the stories we heard in the news about soldiers getting hurt an all the firefights that went on, and all the explosions just made me worry about being here sometimes. Throughout the deployment I and my fellow soldiers experienced something that we will never forget. The loss of some very close friends, and all the shouting and commotion we were involved in every time we went out to a city, and to make sure the people of Iraq were okay. These memories I know will live in me for the rest of my life. Despite the fact of all the hardship that we experienced in Iraq, there is also the satisfaction of completing the mission the "WOLFHOUNDS" were assigned to do. All the way from FOB Gains mills to the countryside of FOB McHenry the Wolfhounds have proven themselves once again to be the "Top Dogs" of the 25th Infantry Division. I am proud of being a soldier and the people who I served with but most of all I am proud of being a Wolfhound. I believe and know that every single soldier that went out there did their best to get the mission done, and for that we should be grateful. I am happy to know that when the battalion left we made Iraq a much safer place for everyone there to live in. Helping the people establish a fare and safe government had to have been one of the most unexpected things the world thought could ever happen to Iraq, but I know what we did. The United States of America made that happen and that is why I say that we have improved the future of the Iraqi people. In generations to come I will be proud to say that I helped to liberate the people of Iraq from a dictatorship, controlled by Saddam Hussein. I thank all the people that made this possible including the families of all the soldiers.

The Battle of Hawijah II – SSG Gregory

11 November 2004. It was a normal day at FOB (Forward Operating Base) McHenry in the western tip of the Sunni Triangle. We were well into the Islamic religious month of Ramadan. During this month of prayer Islamic extremist believe if they die while fighting the infidels Allah will reward them greatly in the afterlife. Due to this strong belief insurgent attacks had noticeably increased from an already high volume of activity. Indirect fires on Forward Operating Base McHenry, lED's (Improvised Explosive Devises) and sporadic direct fire engagements were being executed daily, at an alarming rate.

The Battalion had received some intelligence that indicated a large insurgent uprising inside the city of Hawijah before the end of Ramadan on the 15t of November. This intelligence proved to be true midday on the 11th of November. Insurgents attacked the Iraqi Army HQ's with small arms fire and RPG's. Since Alpha Company was in charge of the patrolling and protecting of Hawijah, we immediately prepared and deployed to destroy the enemy. 2nd Platoon, which I am a part, was on Base Defense and was ensuring the perimeter security. The Battalion QRF, and the rest of Alpha Company geared up and headed out. As for 2nd platoon, we anxiously awaited replacements to relieve us of our FOB security duties so we could join the company in riding the city of hostile forces. After about 30 minutes 2nd platoon was fully relieved from the towers and prepared to enter the city. The other platoons had left in such a hurry that little consideration was given to the transportation needs of my platoon. All we had left was a lightly armored cargo HUMV and an armor-less 5-ton truck that needed to move approximately 30 soldiers. Seeing as how the rest of the company was fighting and we were still in the FOB we piled into the vehicles as fast as we could and began our journey. As we drew near the edge of the city, the sounds of fellow "Wolfhounds" in contact echo through the streets. Small arms fire and RPG explosions everywhere. I look around at my squad and say a quick prayer, asking for my Team Leaders and I to make good decisions and keep the men safe. Around every comer I expect contact, at every abandoned vehicle we pass an impending lED. All of which didn't come. We arrive at the Iraqi Army building, stacked as tight as we could get into the back of our soft skinned 5 ton when we finally make contact. I am uncertain exactly where in the city we are taking the fire. Bravo Company had already established security at the Iraqi Army building and immediately began to suppress, to allow us to find cover. We dismounted and found cover inside the City Council Building. The contact ceased and I linked up with the Platoon Leader to figure which part of the city we were going to begin to clear. The guidance came down that we were to move to the west of the city and begin clearing north to push the enemy into 3rd platoon who would then finish off the retreating enemy. We remounted the 5- ton and began heading west to execute our mission. The route we had to take led us through one of the housing areas that dominated the city. About 1 and a half miles into our route we made contact with a single AK-47 gunman hanging out of a 3rd story house window. The insurgent was directly over top of the 5- ton, which was carrying about 25 soldiers. After taking about 15 seconds of almost point blank fire from a distance of about 25 feet, at our 9 o'clock, we dismounted and began to take the building the gunman occupied. During our dismount we came under fire from 2 RPK heavy machine guns off of the twelve o'clock of our vehicle. Now we have an effective fire ambush from two sides. While shifting the squad to deal with the second threat we came under RPG attack from the six o'clock of our vehicle. We were unable to maneuver for about 2 minutes, until we could mass enough forces to gain fire superiority and get a 50-caliber machine gun positioned to suppress. Once the threat was destroyed and the 3-story building was cleared we brought COE in place to assist with over watch as we began to clear the surrounding blocks and further destroy targets of opportunity. During our systematic clearing COE engaged numerous targets and provided a perfect over watch of our maneuver. Located with the sniper team was a 240 B gunner who was instrumental in suppressing the enemy contact we made during street and building clearing. Once successfully cleared and all hostiles destroyed we were ordered back to the Iraqi Army Complex for reconsolidation and reorganization. During our movement the platoon made contact with two insurgents, which we quickly destroyed, and took a few sniper shots which we could not pinpoint.

The flawless performance of my squad, from the team leaders all the way down to the lowest ranking man, made me more proud of a group of men than I ever thought possible. Every single soldier demonstrated a true sense of teamwork, courage and dedication to their fellow soldier.

The Wolfhound Medic's Contribution to OIF-II – PFC Condus

I'm sure many of the essays being written about what went on in Iraq are very exciting and have many great war stories, but I'm sure not many of them cover the importance of their jobs in the same light I hope to cover in this essay. In particular I wish to cover what it is the medics of 1-27 infantry did over in Iraq to contribute to OIF-II. I may not seem like much to write about in light of all the glamorous work the infantry has done, for example, killing many terrorists during the countless firefights we had in our AD, the high value targets we have captured, and all the patrols and missions they did to make Iraq a safer place. But behind every great infantry platoon, there is a great medic. If it weren't for the medics our battalion wouldn't have been successful as it was. Medics contribute to the war effort by giving the soldiers a psychological advantage, maintaining the strength (health) of the fighting force, as well as win hearts and minds.

If you stop to think about it, one of the most important keys to success in war is to have a sharp mind. To have a sharp mind one must be focused on the job at hand, which comes from training and experience. The other is being confident that things are going to go your way and that you will succeed no matter what. A major factor that one will in inevitably encounter in war is death. This can at many times be a psychological hindrance to accomplishing the job at hand, this is where medics come in. A good medic will instill faith in their soldiers, by being calm and maintaining composure when one of their comrades has been injured. This is not an easy task, one has to understand the all the doubt, anger, and frustration that ensues when you are and everyone else is standing around one of their comrades who has just been severely injured by an explosion or bullet, and appears mortally wounded. The medic's ability to stabilize and save this soldier's life all while making appear like nothing serious has happened can greatly affect the other soldiers' mentalities and give them the courage and strength to go on fighting knowing that if by chance they should get wounded that they have a great medic who will save them.

I'm sure that we have all heard many stories of great armies being wiped out by lesser armies because of illness. An example would be how Alexander the Great forced his soldiers to constantly drink water in order to ensure they wouldn't be casualties of the extreme heat they faced during his battle in Egypt. Or how the US lost more soldiers to trench foot in WWI than to death by enemy fire. It is for this reason that medics are given the job of ensuring that the army maintains adequate health to go on fighting. This is no simple task for a mere platoon of 30 medics who have to take care of an entire battalion, in fact it is a 2417 job. Not only did the Wolfhound Medics have to perform various missions, patrols, pull security, but during those jobs as well as during their down time they were expected to treat the other soldiers suffering from various ailments be it: fever, diarrhea, sand fly fever, flu, etc. even if it meant having to lose much needed sleep during the middle of the night to help treat a fellow ill soldier. This helped to ensure that the soldiers were healthy enough to complete their missions, destroy the enemy, and come back in one piece.

The last and arguably one of the most important jobs of the medics along with the other soldiers was to win the hearts and minds of the Iraqi people. If you stop to look at the day to day living conditions of the Iraqi people you will see that many are rather sickly and malnourished, or to put it plainly not healthy. Many suffer from ailments typically not seen nor heard of in the US. Once again this is where the medics come in to play. Strategically if you think about it, curing the sick and helping to improve living conditions thus leading to a more comfortable life, would only serve to help the Iraqi people view us as compassionate and caring people instead of the baby killing, blood thirsty infidels that they had stereotyped us to be. This helped lead the way for the people to trust the US which in turn means they feel confident knowing that if they turn over the terrorists or gave us information of their whereabouts that we would capture and/or kill them without any repercussions of their actions coming back on them and their family. This also came in to play when the medics had to provide treatment to the enemy in several cases. That is a hard job in itself morally, knowing that this guy was just trying to kill you, or maybe even killed one of your fellow brothers in arms and you are trying to save his life, to try to pump him for information, as well as the Geneva Conventions states that you must do it. By doing this we have been able to make arrests as well as thwart various attempted ambushes against the Wolfhounds by doing the humane thing and providing treatment so they are well enough to talk to the interrogators.

As one can see by reading this paper, the Wolfhound Medics have contributed their fair share in the effort to stop terrorism and to free the Iraqi people, by providing the soldiers with a psychological advantage, maintaining the health of the battalion, and their contributions to the objective of winning the hearts and minds of the Iraqi people. There are many essays on the specific stories about the events that went on over there and all the heroes that are in 1-27, without being redundant and repeating the same great stories over and over, I just thought I would give more insight into the lives of I-27's silent heroes, the medics.

My 500 Word Essay – Jaunathon E. Martin

My name is Spc. Martin, Jaunathon E. and I don't have a lot to write because I try to forget bad situations about being over there but I will try to give you a good idea of the circumstances that we faced .For instance it was a cold a dreary morning day where everyone was still tired from the last three day mission. At these times for soldiers, we are tested on our will and surety of duty. This particular day since our patrol group went out after the mission, there were a selected few who were to get the day off. So I and a few other soldiers, roughly about 6 people got the day off. However I was tasked out as the guy in charge since I was the highest in time in rank .The task that was set out for us since everyone else was on mission, so the task was to get sand bags done, clean the common areas make them sparkle and shine and do a police call around the chuts, that’s what we lived in. The day seemed long and relaxing but I still felt the immorality of a disaster waiting to abide us on this day .It was around 1100 when we finished common areas. So I told the group to go and get chow and after that chill out in their rooms. The chow that day was great I think it was some kind of pasta with meat that we had more or less it filled my stomach right up, a good feeling to me. After I finished eating I went to my C-Hutt to go to sleep but first I went and checked on everyone first and they were just chilling enjoying their much needed off time. So I finally get to my room and fall asleep as quickly as I got there. I think the hardest thing for a leader/NCO / team leader is when you lose a soldier that is something that rips my heart out every time I think about; I start thinking that I could take his place instead of him being a victim. Surely as after 3 hours of sleeping there was the pop in the air of incoming, it sounded like it was going to be close as hell and it was in the middle of the time I heard the pop and the impact I dropped from the top of the bunk bed to the floor and quickly put on my flag vest and dropped to the floor. Since the sound was closer than usual I started hoping that my guys were alright ,so after the impact I went outside and started searching for my guys .Everyone was in their room at the time except one guy who was even closer to the incoming than I was his name was Spc Karbowski good thing he was alright .So next thing was to go and see what damage was done and to my surprise it was a lot if any of my guys were in the shower area they wouldn't be alive today especially since I was overlooked for CLS . The round they fired at us was two air bursts it shattered everything around the showers and in it. That day things were as uneasy as ever. When the Company came back they were surprised about the whole situation. Everybody came and took pictures of the events effects .1 then understood some of the mental strives that leaders have to deal with in life that could damage not only the person's mind but his soul.

Life at FOB McHenry – Anonymous

Life at FOB McHenry was, as the saying goes, a mixed bag. Meaning that that were bad aspects about it as well as good. Let's touch base on the bad aspects first, this way we'll leave the good aspects as lingering on your mind after you read this. First of all, the FOB was in Iraq; that in itself is probably the worst thing out of all of them, bar none. It goes without saying that anyplace is a better place to be than Iraq. Stuck in say, Peru without any identification or money, halfnaked, while being chased by the local authorities? Hey, at least you're not in Iraq ... that's the point we're trying to get across here. It's either too damn hot, or too cold, too dusty and dry or muddy as hell, and the sand flies are almost as bad as the kids that have adopted 'mister, give me' as their national anthem - both just won’t leave you the hell alone. You never have hot water in the showers when ya want it or even cold water for those hot days. There were *never* enough sand bags ... 'nuff said on that subject. The food served from the DF AC on most days was marginally better than say, an MRE that had been sitting in an old moldy box for roughly five years. Lack of supplies (read: toilet paper), details that would come down from above that made absolutely no sense, especially after you had just finished pulling convoy escort and a patrol back-to-back, sand bags (did I mention that already?), your roommates stinky feet, care packages that never seemed to make it your way, two hour waits to place a phone call that had a 50/50 chance of working to begin with, having to pick weeds for the Sgt. Major, pulling detainee guard ... the list can go on and on. Now, the good parts about the FOB, was that out of anywhere else in that godforsaken country, FOB McHenry was home for an entire year ... and by that I mean after the mission was complete, whether it was going out on patrol, doing convoy escort, route clearance, having to baby-sit the ING for a few days straight, going after a hardtarget, whatever it was ... when the mission was complete and the day was done, the only place you looked forward to getting back to was the FOB. It was the one place where you could actually kick back and relax, at least for a little while. Everyone knew everyone else there; there was rarely a strange face to be seen. Early evening barbeques with your platoon as the sun was starting to set, sharing books to read with your roommates, Texas Hold 'em in the DFAC late at night, getting a hold of local-made movies of all the recent titles that had just come out, all the practical jokes we were always playing on each other, getting care packages and letters addressed specifically to you from complete strangers ... those are some of the good things I remember about my time at FOB McHenry. So overall.. life on the FOB had its good and bad points. Either way, I will never forget the experiences I had there and the friendships I made.

My Iraqi Story – SPC Nickalus Maxwell C CO 1-27 INF

Stories about my year in Iraq? Well, to tell you the truth r don't remember the year to well. In fact, it seems that most of the year is pretty fuzzy; but there is one thing I do remember very well. That one thing was the misconceptions that I had of Iraq.

I'll be honest; I was pretty scared to go over to Iraq. I think I was scared because of what some of my friends who had gone had told me and also what I had seen on the news. Wen, I found out within the first thirty minutes that not all of Iraq is like what we see on the news. In the bigger cities, yes, it is like that; but not everywhere. That real1y through me off I wasn't ready to go to war in a place that, minus all the trash and the frequent dead dogs on the side of the road, looked very similar to Montana. It’s weird to believe that you're getting deployed to a place that looks the way you see it on T.V., and then when you get there it looks like the place where you lived for seven years. Now, granted there are more hills in Iraq and the buildings are a whole lot different, but the land is mostly flat and agriculture is the main source of income. I also didn't expect for there to be grass there. I thought "desert", therefore I was thinking I was going to see nothing but sand. Boy was I wrong. Now, just the way it looked was not the only thing that threw me for a loop.

Another thing that really got me was the fact that they have seasons over there in Iraq. Once again, now that I look back their seasons are a lot like those of Montana. It is hot and dry during the summer, and it’s cold and windy during the winter. Iraq doesn't really have an Autumn but they do have a spring. Their Spring varies on temperatures from day today. It could be cold and rainy one day, and then the next day it might be sunny no chance of rain. I do remember when we first got there and it snowed. We talked to the locals and they said it was the first time it had snowed there in forty two years. I had also heard that there are dust storms all the time, and I was kind of intrigued as to what one of those looked like. Well, I only seen one and it wasn't that great. In fact it sucked because I ate sand and got sand in my eye which really pissed me off.

The other thing that I had been mistaken about was the fact that not everyone hates us. When we first left to go to Iraq that it what I believed. Once we got there and started going to the villages I learned that it’s only a few peckerwoods that want to blow us up. At least that's how they act in front of us. Even though the kids were pretty damn annoying and had no manners, they sure did like us being there. I think they were actually glad we were there. And it wasn't that we didn't like them, but we didn't like the fact that they demanded money, water, and meals ready to eat. All in all I believe the people of Iraq were glad we were there.

Probably the last thing that I was mistaken on was their transportation over there. I thought it was all buggies, donkeys, and camels. Come to find out they actually have automobiles and the vehicle of choice for the Kirkuk region was a white and orange 1937 Datsun pickup. Some families actually had three or four vehicles. We really didn't see any camels except for when we were down in Kuwait on our way to the zero and qualification range. That is another reason for some of my misconceptions of Iraq because down there was all sand and there were a lot of camels. We didn't see many vehicles there either. I figured that Iraq would be just like Kuwait was, but I guess that every place has their own traits. I guess once I started writing about some of the misconceptions that I had, I realized that I did remember more about Iraq. Not necessarily many stories but certain details about Iraq in general really stuck out in my memory. Maybe in deploy somewhere again, I'll try and learn more about the place as a whole not just a certain area.

Roughnecks!!! Cold Steel!!! Wolfhounds!!!

 

My Thoughts On The Iraqi Election – SPC Josiah Faber HHC 1-27 INF

In the Iraqi election, my platoon was given the duty of supporting the ICDC at AL ZAOB, during that time we secured the ICDC compound and made raids on high profile targets to make sure the elections ran smoothly in AL ZAOB. During one instance, we heard shots in AL ZAOB, my platoon left with the ICDC to go find out what happened. When we got there we were told by the ICDC that had been hit by an IED and we pulled security for them while they searched houses looking for the terrorist. During the time we stayed at the ICDC compound we were developing a common bond with the ICDC because we were working so close together that it was inevitable that we come closer to understanding one another. At some times it was very painful being there because it was raining, and it was cold, and there was not enough room to sleep, but knowing that we were part of history made it easier. During the time we were at the ICDC compound, our schedule was we pulled base defense for about an hour and had three hours of downtime, then the next 24 hours were patrolling and raiding. We were also happier during the elections because we knew we were going home after the elections and we were very excited about that. We ate MRE'S during the time, except on a few occasions when the ICDC brought us some chicken and tortillas, which we appreciated. My thoughts on the overall elections of the country were that I hoped that they were successful and were able to elect a good president who could lead them out of poverty and terrorism so that they were happier, wealthier, and able to concentrate on having fun, instead of constantly being worried about food and maybe being killed if they do or say something that terrorists would not like. If you ask me if the elections were successful I would tell you that I'm not sure yet, I think the voting was successful, but whether the government actually is successful only time will tell. In some parts of the country, the voting turnout was not good, but in others it was excellent, so hopefully the rest of the population who didn't vote will have seen that voting was a good thing and participate the next time there are elections. I think the terrorists were very unhappy with the elections, they didn't want anyone to turn out, but they couldn't stop most of the people, because the people are learning that the terrorists are not in control, and are not doing what is best for their country, so I think the elections helped to weaken the terrorists a lot. So I believe that yes, the elections were successful, in terms of voting it was successful, in terms of weakening the terrorists it was successful, but in terms of whether the Iraqi government will actually be successful in helping the Iraqi people, only time will tell. What I hope for is that they will be successful in giving the country freedom and make sure the next elections are more successful than this one.

Wolfhound Reflections – SPC Kyle Pindel 1st PLT. A CO 1-27 INF

The day had already started off bad after spending all night in the city of Hawijah anticipating an attack from supposed insurgents in the city. Nothing really came of that except a close call with a couple of mortar rounds. We had returned to FOB McHenry to get some sleep and chow. We were alerted again about 1000 hrs. to go back to the city because the ING and Iraqi police were getting sporadic fire all over the city.

We arrived in the city and came in from the east. We set up in area near an apartment complex and awaited orders from the CO. We could hear random gunfire coming from all over the city. As I listened to radios from the up-armor I was driving I heard that 3rd PLT was getting contact inside the city. We sat and waited for orders from the CO. We started to get pop shots from what we thought was coming from a house closer in the city. So we returned fire and moved in on the house. Nothing resulted from that, except no more pop shots. As we were waiting again the Raider element (scouts) was moving through our AO to secure the northern TCP. They started to receive contact near the north bridge. We moved from where we were to assist. As soon as we moved across the bridge we started to receive RPG fire. I remember a dud RPG hitting a building near us and spinning across the street. Then we received small arms fire from a large crowd down the street about 600m away. Lt. Concha instructed Spc. Sumser on the M-240B to engage the crowd. He let loose quite a display of ammo as the crowd ran in all directions. A small white truck came around a comer right in front of us and started to drive away. Spc. Sumser engaged along with Spc. Murphy who was on the other M- 240B right next to us. The truck stopped and no one moved inside. The platoon started to move down the road dismounted. Spc. Sumser was engaging the crowd down the street that started to reform. About that time I saw a man carrying an RPG come at my vehicle from the side. I screamed to Sumser to turn left but didn't hear me, so I engaged him with my M-4 as he turned around and ran away. Lt. Concha told me to move up the road and turn left to cut him off. We moved forward and turned left and saw the same guy running away. Sumser let off a burst at the guy but he quickly ducked behind a building down the road. We then saw 2 more guys shooting at us from the front and Sumser returned fire. I maneuvered the Humvee down the road to get a better position to engage. We came to an open area and we saw more guys down the road as Sumser was engaging them we got hit from the side by small arms. Sumser fell out of the turret and hit the floor. I turned to my left as saw 2 men shooting at us no more than 50m away. I engaged the men dropping one of them before they could run. About that time my windshield in front of me shattered as we started taking more contact from the front. Sumser had dismounted out of the vehicle by this time and was engaging with his M-9 and the RTO Spc. Coombs. We then moved back to a better position where we weren't so exposed. As I stopped the vehicle a man popped out from a behind a building with an RPG. Spc. Coombs was in the turret and tried to engage but didn't realize that there was a bullet hole through the M-240B's bolt causing it not to fire. I tried to get out of the Humvee to engage the man but he shot the RPG. It hit the front of the truck right in the grill. It took me a moment to get my senses. The truck was still running but I could notice fluid spewing out from the hood. At this time Lt. Concha made the call to return to the CCP because of Sumser's wounds to his hands and neck and the current state of our truck. I drove the Humvee back to the ING compound as Lt. Concha and Spc. Coombs laid down suppressive fire out the side. We made our way back to the ING compound were the CCP was located. As soon as I entered the gate and got the truck parked it died. We dismounted and met up with B Co. 1 SG who was occupying the CCP and asked for a ride back to the rest of our platoon. We left Sumser to get treated and linked back up with our platoon. Nothing more happened to 1st PLT that 1st day then searching houses for Insurgents.

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