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War Stories

I arrived in Iraq shortly after the Fallujah Blackwater Incident in April 2004. The team I was assigned to had arrived early and called for a special convoy to transport us to the Green Zone. Other than a few sniper rounds whizzing by, it was uneventful. However, the next day, I received word that the same convoy I had ridden in the day before was ambushed. The place where I was sitting in the convoy no longer existed, and the person had perished. What a difference one day can make. A running story was told about all the newbies in the Bagdad Palace; on day one, when the mortars are raining down, the newbies ask, "Where's the bomb shelter?" At the end of the first week, they ask, "What's for lunch?"

While in Iraq, I was to train the Iraqi Garrison Commanders to take over for the Coalition Commanders. I was embedded with the Iraqi military and went where they went using their equipment. We rode around in Hyundai, not Humvees. We carried their weapons and used their equipment. I quickly found a new respect for the Army members supporting the same mission because they were there for the long haul. When I was done with my military assignment, I went home. One late night, my view of my position in the National Guard was changed forever. The events of that night still haunt me. I was not a drinker then, but I joined in with the team regularly after that.

I was working with two Army Captains, helping them prepare the Iraqis for taking over the mission of protecting their bases. All hell broke loose in Fallujah again, and the two Captains loaded up a bus full of Iraqi Military members and headed for Fallujah. The mission was to regain control of the Iraqi Military Base in Fallujah. I should have gone with them; however, the average Air Force member had not been trained or equipped for ground combat. I was a liability. They arrived, and the American Captains were ready to lead the new Iraqi recruits into battle. However, the Iraqis refused to get off the bus! Why? Not because they were cowards; this was their home, and they refused to fight their friends and families. By the time the Captains understood the Iraqi's position, the bus was already surrounded by "insurgents." The insurgents said, "Give us the Americans, and we'll let you go." The new Iraqi recruits refused and said, "Don't force us to fight because we will use the full force of American weapons on you." A short time later, the standoff ended, and the bus returned to base in the Green Zone. Other than that night, I never heard this story again.

All military members take an oath to follow the orders of those in leadership positions above them. For the most part, you don't question these orders. However, all officers are trained to keep the name of Lt. Calley and the Nuremberg trials in mind. The correct understanding of oath is to follow "All lawful orders."The impact on me from that night? Was it a lawful order to have the Iraqis attack their hometown where everyone they know and love lived? At the time, I thought, "I'm so glad this will never happen in America." They made you into a weapon and told you to find peace while asking you to attack the very ones you love.

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1 komentarz

Lynn Verot
Lynn Verot
11 wrz 2023

Thank you for sharing brother.

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