Crystal anniversary of the Iraq War
15 years ago, we rolled to a firing position on the outskirts of a town in Iraq called An Nasiriyah. We were going to support 1st Battle 4th Marines as they went through the city and beyond. Little did we know about the fierce battle that was already taking place by the 2nd Marine Expeditionary Brigade in the city. The day started when a army maintenance company got turned around and ended up being ambushed by Iraqi forces with 11 Americans killed and several taken prisoner, while the rest were later rescued by Marines. Then as 2nd MEB advanced into the city to secure two bridges that we would use to cross, they came under intense fire from Iraqi Forces. At the time we didnt know but 18 Marines were killed 11 by friendly fire from A-10s, and the rest of the MEB was heavily engaged to fight for the bridges and open up the route.
We were told that Iraqi forces were dropping hand grenades from 2nd story windows into Amtraks, as well as suicide bombers were being used. So for the better part of the day we heard the fire from as we sat in our position near a sewage treatment plant. Then as night drew in, we were wondering if we would be attacked that night. Many through the NVG's spotted a light coming from one of the buildings in the city, and we were all thinking what it could be. Could it be a Iraqi soldier spotting us and relaying our position, could it be a civilian. Many of us wanted to patrol to the building to find out but we were denied permission.
March 24th, 2003: we continued to sit in the position wondering what the day would bring. As the day drew on, we continued to hear reports of the fierce battle within the city and wondering when it will be our turn to run the gauntlet. Our chance came that evening as we fell in behind 1st Marines as they ran the gauntlet. Our convoy stalled as traffic ahead fell to a stop. Then came the warning of incoming artillery "Sandstorm. We vacated the vehicles and jumped into trenches on the side of the road. Boy did the Iraqi's dig good trenches. After receiving the all clear, we climbed out of the trenches and back into the vehicles. Shortly the convoy began moving again and we finally left An Nasiriyah behind us. Yet we were not far from over yet with the fierce fighting.
This is from March 25, 2003
we put An Nasiriyah behind us and continued to push towards Baghdad. The sky began to grow orange, as we continued to push towards Baghdad. We had pulled off the route a couple times to support 1/4 with fire missions. That is when the weather turned extreme for us. We were facing the beginning of 3 days of brutal weather for the entire operation.
March 26th 2003: we spent the majority of the previous night hunkered down in our vehicles and manning the perimeter despite the howling sandstorm that we were facing. But as the day broke, it was a still a sea of orange and sand, but not as bad as the previous night. As we set out, we were once again ambushed along the route. Once the the ambush was cleared, we checked on everything and everyone. my friend moss had turned white as a sheet, and we were wondering why. Came to find out a AK round had gone through the mirror bracket of the vehicle he was in, the same one i was riding in. We took a few minutes to calm him down before we climbed back in and continue on. That night we pulled into a position and the heavens opened up. With the sand still in the air, it didn't rain, rain, it rained mud. It was pitch black to the point NVG"s were pointless. Flash of lighting did nothing more than blind us with the NVG's on. So as the night droned on we rotated out of the positions and back to the vehicles for warmth as the storm made the temperature cold. As the night the droned on, we wondered what the next day would have instilled for us.