EVERYBODY Loves A Hero
Anyway...she told me her daughter was over in the fight...she gave me her e-mail and sent me this letter---a soldier's letter. I'm HOPING she sends me more. If she does, I will post them here on Saturday Nights, just because--soldiers are HERO's. I mean, they even protect Nancy Pelosi, and that's deserve a lot in my book, I'm not sure I'd be so brave. (said tongue in cheek)
As you read this play by play explanation of a unit under fire, remember, while we are watching baseball games, many of our finest Americans are facing life and death. This stuff is happening everyday, and we don't really hear that much about it. I hope, like me, you will get a huge sense of pride out of our troops, and this Sunday, say a prayer for them all.
God Bless them---and thank you Lori, "army" mom, for sharing this with me.
And thanks to Jason for sharing your story...I get upset when my water boils over onto my stove, let alone having gunfire whiz by my head! I have no idea how you guys and gals do what you do...whew!
This is the actual report from a gunfight back in October, with a friend of mine in Afghanistan. His name is Jason. He and his unit are Reservists. Jason is a farmer in Alabama and 1 weekend a month he "plays Army". All of his men are up there in age. Im sure they never expected what was going to happen.The letter below is what Jason sent to me.------------------------------------------------------------------------ --------------------------------------------------------Ok, this is my sworn statement that I submitted and swore to. This is about a play by play action of the events of that night. Keep in mind, there were 7 of us and 105 of them.My callsign is Sensei 4, the other trucks were Sinsei 1 and sinsei 3. 3Fury 11 is the higher HQ and 3 Fury 6 is the squadron commander (O-5). It still gives me chills to read it.------------------------------------------------------------------------ ----------------------------------------------------------- On the evening of Thursday 11 October 2007 at approximately 1930 hrs, the ABP on the roof noticed a subject moving down towards the South of our position. We took our flashlights, NVG’s and a thermal sight to see what was there. We saw a movement of something but could not positively ID what it was. Around 2000 hrs, I took my blouse off and was preparing to go to bed. We had just made out the night guard roster and were discussing what, if anything should happen.
All of a sudden I saw a brilliant flash followed immediately by a large ‘boom’. I felt the building rattle and my chest rattled too. I immediately grabbed my IBA, helmet and M-4 carbine and waited for a quick role call. All were present for role except for 1 man, CPL Thompson. We were trying to find his location when I heard him engage targets with his M2 .50 Cal machine gun on the NW side of Spina Shegha.Once 1SG Beard and I determined his location, we exited the building and maneuvered into our fighting positions.
When I was exiting the building I heard bullets whiz by my head. I heard over 7 whizzes. As I was making my way to provide cover fire for more of my men, I remember being knocked down and cutting my leg and knocking off my NVG’s(night vision goggles). I believe it was the back blast from an RPG. I maneuvered my way to a position to provide cover fire for my gunner, SPC Peterson. I was engaging enemy targets to the South where I saw muzzle flashes. After I provided cover fire for SPC Peterson and he made his way to our gun truck, he provided cover fire for me.
I made my way to my vehicle and immediately got on the BFT and relayed a message to Lighting Main, the 4-73rd Cav, the 4-73rd Cav TOC and to 3 Fury 6, the 82nd AD commander. I told them that we (Sensei elements) were in contact, heavy contact. I then got out of my vehicle and engaged more enemy targets. This time to the North.
After firing another complete magazine at enemy targets, I got back on the BFT, relayed a more detailed message and reloaded a magazine into my weapon. I relayed a message and told them of heavy contact from 3 sides of Spina Shegha. We were receiving fire from the South, North and West. Towards the East was Pakistan and that we were NOT receiving fire from the East. I relayed my grid coordinates, my call sign and frequency.
I had 1SG Beard monitor the radio while I got on the BFT and continued to keep higher informed of the situation. I asked for illum rounds and CAS and then got back out and continued to engage enemy targets to our North. During this time, 1SG Beard fired an illum round from his M203 to provide illum. We were able to see 10-15 enemy come down the mountain towards our location. We engaged them.I could see muzzle flashes and told my gunner where I saw the flashes. He could not see them so I told him to fire where my tracer went. I fired a shot and then he engaged the threat with the .50 cal machine gun.I made my way by foot to Sensei 3 and checked on them.
I then ran to Sensei 1 on the NW side of the building and checked on them. While doing this, I could see rounds impacting around my feet. I was wearing NVG’s and I had an IR chemlight attached to my helmet. I maneuvered my way to a better fighting position and continued to engage enemy targets.
I then made my way back to my vehicle, got inside, passed up another can of .50 cal ammo to my gunner and I got on the BFT to send an ACE and SALUTE reports. I sent them to higher and continued to tell my driver a SITREP.I was outside engaging targets when this time my gunner, SPC Peterson said the threat was to the left (NW side) and we could not see them. He then fired a 6-9 round burst into the position so I engaged the threat with my M-4 carbine while SFC Jerome Flott and 1SG Kenneth Beard also engaged the threat with their M203. 1SG Beard was firing SPC Peterson’s weapon to provide more firepower. He was on the NE side of the vehicle and I was on the NW side.I heard over the BFT and radio of CAS assets would be in the area in 10 minutes.
I grabbed my interpreter and ran and told the ABP commander that we had CAS coming in and to get all ABP soldiers inside and on the roof of the building. I instructed the ABP commander to NOT fire on aircraft that were in the area and that they were friendly. I then grabbed my interpreter and took him to the vehicle while I went back out and made sure that the ABP was going inside or on the roof.
I continued to see muzzle flashes and I returned fire to where I saw flashes. I then made my way back to our truck and then I told the CAS, an A-10 Thunderbolt, call sign Hog 15 our position and told him where contact was coming from and how to mark friendlies. Friendlies were being marked my IR chemlights and anything north of the building was considered hostile forces and to engage any and all targets that were there. He saw our ‘fireworks’ and said that he could not see any enemy targets in the area but could hear radio chatter over his commo and on his government box.
After a few minutes, he had to leave the area to refuel. About the time the A-10 had to leave, an AH-64 Apache helicopter, call sign Capone 11 showed up overhead and continued to make a presence and I told him of our positions and how we were marked. He dropped a flare and lit up the area and we continued to engage more enemy targets and informed higher of the situation at hand via BFT.About this time, I got a message from the 4-73rd TOC that a QRF platoon was being sent to help us out. I informed the QRF of our position and told him that the area was considered ‘very hot’. He told me that he was going to use blackout drive and come to our location.
I grabbed my interpreter and ran to the ABP commander and told him that we had friendly vehicles coming in the area. The commander also told me that he was running low on ammo. I told him to call BCP 12, roughly 15 minutes away and to bring ammo and more men. I informed Capone 11 of the friendly elements coming into the area. I told him they were driving with white lights on and their ‘whoopee lights’ on top on too. I assured the ABP commander that our CAS would not fire upon the vehicles.Once the ABP reinforcements arrived, I told them, through my interpreter, to distribute the ammo and for the replacements to get on the roof and engage targets as they appeared.
The ABP brought 15 men in 3 trucks and left 6 men and a truck there at Spina Shegha and took the other men and 2 trucks back to BCP 12 to defend their position.As I was making my way back to my truck, I heard a call for a medic. One of the ABP had an injury that needed attention. I went to Sensei 3, grabbed the medic, SGT Jones and told him that we had wounded. He immediately grabbed his medical bag and while I continued to engage more targets, I provided cover fire for him to go inside the building.
Once he made it to relative safety, I went inside and observed the situation at hand. I took this time to change my magazine for my weapon. I was on my 4th magazine at this time. The ABP soldier had cut his finger and was bleeding. It was a scrape but was bleeding badly. As SGT Jones finished up with him, I told him to run with me and the interpreter to his vehicle and to wait further instructions if we had more wounded that I would come get him.
I then ran with my terp back into the building to see if the ABP had any more wounded. They did not. I then ran with my terp to our vehicle and I continued to send up another ACE report. We were black (<25%) of .50 cal ammo, green on everything else and that our vehicles were fully mission capable. About after an hour and 15 minutes of heavy fighting, we called for a cease fire and to listen for a few minutes. We could not hear any more firing. I got on the radio and talked to the other Sensei elements and asked them for a SITREP and ACE report. Once I got this, I sent this information to higher. Capone 11 was still on site and he could not see any more enemy targets. I was tracking our QRF on our BFT and after several attempts to contact them, I got a message through to them and they came to an impassable road and needed our assistance. This was about 0100 on Friday morning, 12 October 2007.
I grabbed my terp and told the ABP commander that we needed to go help the QRF. I assured the ABP commander that we were not leaving and that we would be back as soon as we got the QRF and showed them where to come. We found the QRF at their last location which was about 3 klicks away.
I linked up with the QRF commander and told him to turn his vehicles around and to follow us back to Spina Shegha. About 1 hour after we left, we returned and I linked up with the ABP commander to see if anything happened. He told me no so I linked up with the QRF commander, Apache 14 and positioned his vehicles and gave him a quick SITREP. He us that he would have his men provide security for our force and that we would not have to worry about guard duty and that his men would provide for us.
I went to bed around 0330 and got up at 0600.I was not able to sleep too well.When I got up, I linked up with Apache 14 and asked him if his men were doing a battlefield assessment of the enemies suspected positions. He said that his men were doing this already. I asked him if he found anything and he told me that they found 30-40 dug-in fighting positions with overhead cover. This is why the CAS could not see them. He also found fresh footprints, a small campfire and several blood trails. He also said that the only way we would ever see the fighting positions were to see the muzzle flashes and that they had a clear view of our building.
Also during this time, I inspected the building for any signs of battle damage. I found several RPG holes in the walls including one inside the building. This was the first RPG fired and it hit right outside the door of where the ABP(Afghan Border Police) sleep.About an hour later his men returned from the sweep and told us of what they found. I then told Apache 14 that we were fixing to leave and since they were going back to Chawney, we included them in our convoy. We returned to Chawney, then to Gardez without any further incident.