17 April 03 (Uday’s Lions)

1748Z, 17 April 2003, Thursday

Things changed today. We had a meeting at the company. It’s pretty much official that SASO (Support And Stability Operations) is starting. Mr. Walker’s team was recalled from 3/7 Cav. Him and Mike will be used to lead the [batallion team], along with 1LT Meyer and a 98G specialist. Nate and I are being ripped from this team and will be given two 98G’s (Larry and Nick). I will be the team leader for Team 6 for 3/15 Infantry. We will have completely different zones than we now have to learn and collect on.

This town is in such disarray. Every night you hear gunshots. Tonight it seems a little worse than normal. You’d almost think that gangs are taking over Baghdad. I can make out AK-47 and pistol firing. I don’t know what they’re firing at, but it’s pretty close. I know it’s not us. They’re probably shooting at looters or threatening the local populace. We don’t really do patrols at night yet. I’m not sure if or when we’ll start either. It seems like the shooting starts when the sun comes down cause you hardly hear any firing during the day. Actually, I can’t think of the last time I heard gunshots during the day except to kill the lion that got loose from the zoo.

A few days ago a lion got loose from the zoo and was chowing down on a horse from the pen next to his. It was pretty funny to hear over the radio. Obviously, we had to kill the lion because we didn’t have any experienced people to keep control over the zoo animals. It took quite a few bullets to put that sucker down too. I’m not sure what they used, but I heard quite a few of them. Mr. Young and I got to see some lions at Uday Hussein’s house two days ago. His house was pretty much rubble, but he had a cage in his front yard with three lions in it. Two were lionesses and one was a lion. I teased it into getting some good pictures of its fangs and roar. It was cool. Inside the lion’s cage were what looked like the remains of at least three different people. Bones were scattered all over the cage and I saw three skulls. I could make out some ribs, hips, and a few femurs in there as well. It was always rumored that Uday would throw people he didn’t like to the lions and I guess it’s true. The bones didn’t have any meat on them, but they weren’t bleached to the point they looked like they were really old either. After seeing people at various stages of death and decomposition I can pretty much discern how old bones are now. One of the lionesses looks very pregnant too.

Anyway, tomorrow we have a mission to look for guy to get some information on where some bad people are. We’re also going to look into a weapons cache. We’ve been in the neighborhood before, but not in this particular area. After that is finished, we pick up the other two guys and become Team 6. We’ll see how this works because we don’t have a lot of the things we need. We don’t have a portable hard drive, we don’t have a printer, we don’t have many of the automation things we need. We’re taking the digital camera. It’s irritating. I’m tired of this and just want to end it. I just want to go home. The talk is four to six weeks. Screw that!! I say give us one to two weeks. By the time we start getting things running we’ll be leaving.

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