Updated on February 3, 2017
6 April 2003 (My Crispy Guy Extraction Kit)
0433Z, 6 April 2003, Sunday
It’s been really nice in the evenings lately. The days have been quite unbearably hot. You can’t have too much activity because just walking around drenches you in sweat. That’s all we did late yesterday was walk around to various sites that had weapons and showing other people where they were so we could destroy the tanks and ammunition.
The dinner thing didn’t pan out last night. We started down the road towards Majid’s house but he met us halfway. He had about 25 packs of cigarettes with him. We brought a Captain with us who was a representative to the LTC. We stopped on the side of the road with these guys and talked a little. They were concerned about resupplying their little store they have. All the major lines of communication (roads) are blocked and civilian traffic is prohibited right now. A lot of the smaller routes are blocked as well and these people are pretty much stuck here for a few days. They kind of have to fend for themselves for a while. He wanted to give the cigarettes to the soldiers, but we told him that he didn’t have to pay us off. Previously, these people had to pay off the military to keep them safe. We made sure he knew that he didn’t have to do that with us. But, we told him that we’d buy the cigarettes from him. He sold them to us for $1 per pack and we sold them to the soldiers for $1 a pack. You can imagine they went quickly. He’s going to bring us some more today. I think he should charge $2 a pack myself. Supply and demand you know.
1111Z, 6 April 2003, Sunday
I just got done listening to the BBC World News station on Nate’s shortwave radio. One of the main stories they broadcast was about our American tanks rolling into Baghdad for the first time. They were talking about this being the first incursion into the Iraqi capital. Then they said that Saddam Hussein was quoted as saying that Americans had not entered the capital yet and that the footage of them rolling through Baghdad was filmed in some other city. I think that’s humorous. Does he actually believe that we make this stuff up? Is he that out of touch with reality? There’s not one person south of Baghdad here that has any doubt about it, of course. We lost a guy there. That’s okay though because tomorrow he will have twice as many tanks rolling through “some other town.” This time we’re gunning for his presidential palace. We already own his international airport.
At some point today or tomorrow we’re going to blow some safes we came across while searching Iraqi positions. There are two at a service station and one at a battalion headquarters that we couldn’t get into. I’m still waiting on them to finish blowing all the ammo from the BMPs we found yesterday. Most of the ammo has been blown and the BMPs have been moved out of the woodline and put in line for destruction.
A little later in the day a guy came to us and asked if we could escort him to pick up the remains of one of his family members killed by one of our tanks. He said that he was afraid to approach the vehicle for fear that he would be shot as well and they wanted to give him a proper burial. We escorted him out to a burnt out car where inside was the extremely fried corpse of his son, slightly hunched over towards the passenger side of the vehicle. The family broke down immediately and I couldn’t stand to look or smell it myself. I felt desperately bad for the family and for the first time actually started to feel remorse for my presence. I left the family for a few minutes to gather myself and just recollect.
When I returned the family was trying to get the corpse out of the vehicle but they didn’t have anything with them. It just so happened that I had about 5 pairs of rubber gloves that I kept in my pocket for administering first aid to Iraqis as well as some 550 cord and large trash bags. I don’t know why I had that stuff, but it became apparent it was exactly what we needed. As we pulled the son from the car, parts of his body were seared into the vehicle. As we pulled on the torso, his legs came apart from it and we had to get them out separately. When we fully reclined the body to pull it out of the vehicle, a wet substance began oozing from wounds in the back of the head. They say that when your brain is damaged it becomes complete mush. This was unbearable and I almost lost the contents of my stomach. It took some time, but we were able to gather all the body pieces from the car and place them in the garbage bag. When we were done, the family thanked us profusely and invited us to be guests of honor at the funeral. We felt awkward accepting an invitation like that and told the family that they should have a private funeral. They offered us food or water (which we politely declined) and we went on our way.