In Iraq for 365

About my experiences in Iraq... the frustrations, the missions and this country... and the journey home

Saturday, November 06, 2004

Market raid, new guys and the bad guys

When we capture really bad guys, it is so gratifying. Last night, I went on a market raid where terrorists were hanging out. I can only imagine what their conversations were like before we showed up.
“So did you see that convoy come through the other day?” one terrorist says.
“Yeah, I can’t wait to try and blow it up because the Americans are trying to rebuild our schools, hospitals and give us freedom,” the other terrorist says. “Don’t they know that Iraq is supposed to be ruled by people who keep everything for themselves and not for the people?”
“Hey, where did you hide your bomb making materials,” another said. “I am so good; they will never catch me.”
Then, we show up with enough ammo to take on anybody. We had Iraqi National Guard too, and you could just see the frustration on their faces. The ING soldiers are tired of seeing these terrorists and foreign fighters sending suicide bombers into their convoys, and tired of hearing about another innocent Iraqi civilian killed by the terrorists, and tired of not getting the credit they deserve for hauling in the bad guys.
Well, I’m here to tell you that the Iraqi security forces in Mosul are tough and they don’t mess around. These guys went into this market and cleaned house. They captured a slew of folks who have probably been responsible for hundreds of deaths.
We (the Americans) secured the site as the ING soldiers conducted searches. Of course, I roamed the area with my camera, snapping photos and ducking behind cover just in case a bomb goes off or somebody decides to shoot at me, neither of which happened. I used my new night vision on my camera AND IT STARTED RAINING. I think it’s rained maybe once since I’ve been here. My lens fogged up a few times and it was difficult to get the “perfect shot.” I managed to snap a few pretty decent pictures, of which will probably never be seen by anybody other than me, a few generals and my grandchildren.
People ask me all the time, what’s your favorite mission. Don’t get me wrong, I love school openings, hospital dedications and other ribbon cuttings, but man, I love the rush of a raid and the looks on the faces of the terrorists when they know they’re caught. Yesterday was special, because it was with a new group of Soldiers. They have been here for a month and have seen more combat than most soldiers have seen in a year. They performed superbly and were very excited to have me along to take their picture. At the end of the operation, I was soaked, had a great story to write and damn proud to be an American soldier.

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