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I was one of the first troops in my unit to arrive here in Iraq. The unit that we were replacing had spent a year in Southern Baghdad, and by time we arrived they were utterly spent. During those early days I made it a point to talk to as many soldiers as I could to get a feel for the AO (Area of Operations). I figured any institutional knowledge they would be willing to pass along would save my troops a lot of agony in the long run. The troops were more then happy to oblige ? they were willing to do just about anything to guarantee a quick ticket back home. In conversation after conversation I listened to a few vital tips liberally salted with stories of the adventures they planned to embark on when they got home.Red2alpha:
It was only weeks later that I found out that not everyone was desperate to get home - there was one Corporal had volunteered to stay another year in Iraq. That Corporal was Glenn Watkins.
Yesterday my Battalion suffered it's first combat death.
KIlled In Action
He was A CPL in Alpha company, a gunner on his truck. He was killed by a VBIED while standing up in the turret, scanning a grove of date palms for danger. Four of his comrads were wounded, all had shrapnel wounds to the legs and lower bodies. A medic on the CPL's vehicle treated the wounded despite a broken leg.
I didn't know the man, yet, I feel his loss.
He was Corporal Glenn Watkins.
He was killed when his guntruck rolled past a static VBIED (car bomb). The other four soldiers in the vehicle were wounded. I do not blame his death on Donald Rumsfeld or the amount of armor plating that his guntruck had. I blame the cowards that planted the bomb. The amount of explosives that was used was sufficient to kill him regardless of the level of armor. One of the men that was wounded was a medic. Somehow, with two broken ankles from the force of the blast, he crawled to CPL Watkins at was trying to bring him back with CPR while badly wounded himself. I always knew Doc K. was good people. We are now preparing for his memorial and trying to find the cowards that did this.Read about the memorial here. Leave comments at each site if you can.
The war goes on.
18 Apr 05 Update:
I am finally able to post this one because I now have reasonable certainty that we have all off the scumbags involved in the killing of CPL Watkins in custody. They all went down without a fight when we burst through their doors in the middle of the night.Read the rest here.
More from red2alpha:
I quit being afraid when we turned right at the traffic circle. Fear had ceased being an emotion long before then, it was just there like gravity, a constant force the couldn't be ignored - it had laws and rules, it was a constant in life - but it didn't need to concentrated on. The fear had comeback to me at the convoy brief only minutes before. An under tow pulling me out to sea as the platoon stood in a horse shoe around LT Mac.Language, violence, reality, etc., alert.
"Remember, we don't want to get decisively engaged, our objective is the house, so if we are ambushed we'll push through. Sergeant Burt will...,"
This dirt bag we were going after may have had something to do with Watkins being killed; he might be plotting to kill other American Soldiers, maybe plotting to kill us. We were here to stop that from happening.