In Iraq for 365

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

Thursday, December 09, 2004

Outgoing artillery

Outgoing. It’s a great thing, but scary. If you don’t know that there are great big cannons nearby about to fire and you suddenly hear a really loud boom and your body is vibrating from the atmospheric pressure change and you’re used to hearing mortars impact and bombs detonated, outgoing can make you crap your pants. I had to change underwear three times today.

Here I sit in my perfectly safe chair, inside the perfectly safe palace, on the perfectly safe camp, and as I write this post, artillery shells are leaving a very large steel tube, also known as a Howitzer, causing so much vibration that the palace windows shake and I flinch. The noise is much different than an explosion, but it doesn’t matter, anything loud equals a flinch and a sprint to the bunkers (if I’m not under a hardstand).

There went another one. Flinch. Flinch.

Think you’ve got sleeping problems? Try sleeping when the artillery boys feel like sending those huge 155 mm artillery shells at midnight. Once I hit my head so hard on the bunk after feeling my trailer shake that I cut the top of my head. Then, I ran to the bunkers bare-footed over the thick travel. My feet hurt worse than my head that day. Gosh, those rocks are jagged, especially late at night when loud booms are echoing.

After about two or three rounds, however, you get the idea that it’s not enemy fire and it’s safe to do whatever. Another one. Flinch. Flinch.

I remember in training environments the artillery soldiers would conduct fire missions, laying lead down range, while we (infantry) moved about in the woods. Never once did I flinch or get nervous about the loud, thunder-like sounds of artillery. But then again that was training. This is for real. Here, people die from incoming. A lack of reaction time could mean difference between life and death. If you hear one impact, you’re bound to hear a second and third and fourth.

So, I’ll just keep on flinching and running to the bunkers. I just hope I don’t flinch too much when I get home. I don’t want people thinking I have a nervous twitch.


At 10:05 AM, Blogger Kim said...

Your stories show so much that we can't understand from seeing it on television... again, thank you and stay safe!

At 6:57 AM, Blogger JUST A MOM said...

Glad they are out going! Hang in there!

At 12:35 PM, Blogger ac blue eagle said...

Remembering: I recall staying the night at Camp Carroll, Republic of South Vietnam, up near the DMZ, in June 1970. Artillery went off at intervals all night. Between that and the rats crawling over my sleeping bag, I did not get a lot of sleep.
Good luck there.

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