There he lay amidst rubble, debris and expended ammunition rounds. A dead body. This is a sight I’ve become all too accustomed to: a lifeless human lying on concrete or sand with thick puddles of bright-red blood seeping from underneath the body. This fella tried to kill Americans. He and a couple of his buddies sat atop a mosque and fired at Soldiers. They had RPGs, AKs and crew-served weapons – certainly, enough weaponry to cause casualties. But they had no luck. We kicked their asses!
No matter what your so-called cause is, you don’t mess with the best and expect to walk away alive. The American Soldier is the smartest, best trained and best equipped in the world. My message to the dirt bags who want to kill me and my fellow brethren: Bring it on, just make sure you have life insurance.
Today, I was called upon to document the aftermath of this firefight and the reaction of the Iraqi security forces. Because we’re culturally sensitive, Americans do not go into mosques. So, insurgents often use religious buildings as cover as they attack us. We can shoot at them if they’re inside shooting us, but we can’t go in. Luckily, we have good, dependable Iraqi National Guard soldiers in Mosul who go inside the mosques and clean up what’s inside. When they went inside today, the ING soldiers found enough ammo to supply a squad.
To get a good panoramic shot of the mosque and the damage, I climbed up a six-story building on a ladder that felt like it was made of plastic straws. The only action I saw on this trip was when my camera met the jiggling paper-thin wood of the ladder. My lens cap fell to the ground in dramatic fashion, turning in the air before it touched the ground. I would later find my cap and place it back on its lens.
After documenting the body, the bullet holes and the shattered glass, we left the mosque and headed back to the camp, where my photos were used for briefings. Another mission completed!
You might see clips of it on CNN today as a CNN reporter was with us. I’m sure I managed to get in their shot a few times. I’m the guy in uniform with the big Nikon.