Updated on March 29, 2019
7 April 2003 (Thunder Run Pt. II & The TOC is Hit)
1034Z, 7 April 2003, Monday
What an unproductive day! At the start of the day I had a plan laid out. Mr. Young ended up going into Baghdad with the Brigade Task Force. I wanted to go really bad, but to no avail. It was a dangerous mission and he didn’t really want to go. While my family means all the world to me and I can’t bare thinking of leaving them behind alone. He’s got a family as well, but he’s also got a good, close relationship with his extended family. Outside of Emily and the kids, there aren’t a whole of people that would really notice that I didn’t come back. The only way they’d ever know that I was killed in this war is if Emily actually called them and told them. My family doesn’t make the effort to check up on me or them. I have Emily’s family at least, but I keep thinking that Mr. Young has a lot more people that would miss him than I do. I tried to take his place, but it just wasn’t happening. The last time the battalion went on this mission a guy died and 2 were critically injured. I don’t know what I’d do if Mr. Young were killed or hurt real bad. We’ve gotten pretty close since we started this.
The S2 told me that everyone is okay and accounted for. One person was shot in the arm and no one was killed. Mr. Young is okay and the task force is taking up blocking positions inside Baghdad. They say that they are going to stay there for the night. I don’t think that’s a very good idea at all. Baghdad is not the best place to stay considering that people can fire from just about anywhere and not be detected. Staying too long in a place like that only makes the likelihood of indirect fire more prevalent.
A missile hit the Brigade TOC today. They are located at the intersection of Highways 8 and 1. It’s not the best place for a Brigade TOC in my opinion, right there on a major landmark. All the MI people are accounted for. Four people died in the blast, two of them were journalists. SPC Mitchell (“Pops”) was one of the other two. “Pops” was a good man. He came back into the Army after September 11th. I’ll miss talking to him whenever I go to the TOC. But, I can’t think about that now. I should have been there, but I have to keep pressing forward. First Booker, now this. The TOC lost a lot of equipment and 14 people were injured. We’re starting to see a lot of Fedayeen people coming up from the south to augment forces in Baghdad. The more that come, the more we’ll kill. I’m getting pissed at the way the Iraqis are fighting. They’re using civilians as shields. They’re forcing people to fight that have no idea how to shoot a weapon, thus causing their unfortunate death. They’re dressing as civilians to hit us at our most vulnerable. They’re fainting death until our convoys pass and then shooting us in the back. They’re still trying to use ambulances to resupply soldiers. If I hadn’t met so many Iraqis that have supported and helped us, I’d hate this entire country. The Iraqi people seem to be such great people and I can’t believe they’re so easily tricked into fighting us.
We searched through those BMPs today and found a bunch of canned and wrapped food that the Iraqi soldiers had stored for themselves. We took the food to the guys that have been helping us the most. These people have no way to get food for themselves, so anything we find we give to them. Of course, I’m tired of eating MRE’s myself. I’ve gotten to the point that I just don’t eat much anyway. There’s always so much going on and when I have time to eat, I’d rather sleep. Earlier today we took them boxes of yeast that we took from an Iraqi bunker we found underneath the highway. It was a huge underground complex that was very well camouflaged. We walked in there and there were like 5 different rooms. We found 5 Iraqi bayonets, some berets, ammo, and a few other things that we’re going to take to the company and give to the soldiers there. They don’t get to see the things that we do, so we try to find things for them to take home. It brightens their day.
1626Z, 7 April 2003, Monday
Not much has happened since I last entered here. We went to the company to drop off some “booty” we gathered from one of the bunkers we searched yesterday. We found a few bayonets, some ammo, and Iraqi TA50. Earlier today a missile hit the Brigade TOC. Four people died, two of them soldiers. The other two were journalists. Two people from our Company were injured. SPC Branche, a cook, was hit in the face and lost two teeth and had gashes in her face. PFC Nerio’s leg was injured. The First Sergeant was thrown against a wall from the concussion and CPT Somers lost his hearing for a bit. Unfortunately, the news on Mitchell was true. I was hoping I didn’t hear that correctly or that it was another Mitchell, though I wish no Mitchells had to die. On the agenda for today was 1) bust into some government safes, 2) drop off food supplies to some locals, and 3) go to the company and drop off some stuff. I decided that we’d go to the company last. We might have been there when the missile hit too if we hadn’t spent so much time trying to find the welder. He was supposed to link up with us here at the TOC. When we went to go find him, his NCO said he sent him directly to the service station at which the safes were located. When we got there, we spent about 30 minutes trying to find the guy only to find out that the safes had already been pried open. The missile directly hit the building everyone was staying in. SGM Congora’s face was burnt almost beyond recognition. He was evacuated and will probably end up back home. About fourteen people were injured pretty badly. The whole company was shaken up when we went by to see them, even CPT Somers. No one is sure exactly what hit, but they said it has to be a missile from the size of the explosion. Some people outside the building said they saw it coming in and described it as a missile. We’ve been through a lot. Just about every possible projectile the Iraqis could through at us has targeted us and we came through without so much as a scratch. These guys are the rear echelon people and they get severely hit by a freaking missile. Something seems odd about that. If I didn’t think so before, I really think we’re being carried in the Lord’s arms on this mission. There was a reason we didn’t get to the company when we should have. I worry about Mr. Young being out there alone without us, but he’s doing pretty well so far. The hardest part is yet to come. He’s got to survive being stationary in Baghdad for a whole night.