Thursday, February 21, 2008

What's Arabic for, 'If I just close my eyes, maybe they won't see me'?

I was in the FOB's HQ room, conducting a qualitly control check... on the coffee, of course. I was also interested in conducting a raid of opportunity of the candy cup on the Staff Sergeant's deck, but he knew a good thing when he saw it (twizzlers), and he also knew a sneaky Sergeant (moi) when he saw one.

It wasn't gonna happen, I was beginning to fear.

Might as well get an AO update while I was here, I thought. While perusing the items of interest next to the AO map (and keeping an eye on the wary Staff Sergeant), I noticed a pin at a well known intersection. It was at a cross-roads in kind of an out of the way location, and to my knowledge, hadn't really seen too much action. We had different colored pins for the Area of Operations (AO) map, color indicating what type of event happened. The color of this pin indicated that it was an IED/Landmine recovery, unexploded. Jumping to the events description page, I got kind of pissed and had a chuckle, as well.

Seems that one of the other MAPs had been in the area, checking out some convoy's report of suspicious activity. Now, we all knew that 'suspicious activity' as reported by a convoy could be nothing but complete bunk, reported as an immenent attack, to legitimate intell... reported at the end of the convoy, roughly 5 hours to late to act upon. The good Sergeant however, wasn't taking any chances (good for him).

Arriving at the intersection, he paused for a moment to take stock of the scenario. Like I mentioned it was in a kind of an out of the way location, with not much but some rather large hills off in the distance to the east and a few small, rolling hills off to the near west. The intersection itself was a 'main' road, north/south, with one lane of travel each way. The intersection part was a road that T-intersected the main road, leading off to the east, and eventually a small town by the river. The Iraqi dirt and dust was everywhere but the poorly paved, cracked road top.

The Sergeant directed his MAP to go off road to the west for the intersection approach. By avoiding the road alltogether, he didn't have to worry about civilian traffic, a possible SVBIED (Suicide Vehicle Borne Improvised Explosive Device), or buried IEDS or landmines. Weaving his way through the hills on the west side of the intersection, he noted that traffic was very light (possibly a bad sign, as the locals tended to know about and avoid any immenent threat), and that other than one nomadic goat herder way off in the distance, there were no people within view, wandering around. There was one small building, about 300 yards away from the intersection, in the southeast corner. No other buildings present, and besides the hills he was currently occupying, very little in the way of defilade for an enemy to hide in.

He dismounted his vehicle, slowly climbed one of the hills, inspecting the terrain along the way, and then by using one of the squad's personal scopes, got eyes on the intersection. It was fairly evident that someone had been very naughty recently, right along side the south east corner of the roads. The Sergeant called it in, got the EOD rolling, blocked off the road and then noticed something interesting.

What would you think, if you were the Sergeant on the scene, when, after discovering what was later determined to be an IED of a HE mortar round origination, you noticed, amidst the complete lack of local persons, driving, walking, or anywhere else in the immediate vicinity, you notice two guys hanging out on the roof of the only building around, looking right back at you... through binos of their own.

What do you do, in a situation like that? Pop the bird? Wave? Let Ma Deuce say, 'hi!'?

He wandered over, to make introductions, sure.

He found two very nervous local guys up top, and around the back of the house a wheelbarrow with some IED making materials / leftovers. On the guys he found a patrol brief for one of the up-coming convoys.

Whiskey, Tango, Foxtrot, over.

There are lots of locals in the bases and FOBs in Iraq. They can be found in jobs ranging from landscaping and maitenance to working in the Iraqi National Guard. Undoubtedly, some are not who they claim to be, and are actively working against us. Part of the game, I suppose. They do what they have to do, and we do what we have to do. We (at least most of us) keep that very strongly in the forefront of our minds, and take the utmost in care in any and all paperwork that could give anyone an edge up on us. Looks like someone in the convoy's origional station wasn't so careful.

I did get a chuckle out of the time, effort, and nerves that must have been expended by some very sneaky desert-ninjers, only to hand the result of their efforts over to two amateur schmucks who, after doing what was reportedly at best a half-assed camo job on the IED, pick the worst hiding spot in a terrible ambush location.

I left the HQ, only temporarily in failure for my constant search for sugary deliciousness, to see who on the FOB had a cigar or two with which I could toast my fellow Sergeant's successes.


threadbndr said...

I vote for intro via Ma Deuce! That can't be a good thing and hopefully the leak can be tracked back and plugged.

Old NFO said...

Heh... reminds me of the barber at CRB, during the day cutting hair, at night cutting throats as the local VC commander. Took a while to find him...

Murphy said...

threadbndr: I like the way you think...

old nfo: Hope y'all did him a professional courtesy and just 'took a little off the top...'

inkgrrl said...

In response to your post title:

Hara hara hara yalla hara!

Which translates to "'shit shit shit move it shit!"

Forgot how to say oops in arabic ;-P