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Mike Yon, Lt. Col. Erik Kurilla, and courage under fire
Bullets flying by, and enemy weapons firing: PaPaPaPaPaPaPaPaPaPow? zinnggg?.GawGawGawGawPaPaGawGaw?different types of weapons were shooting.He would "save" the man again later that day too. You can read all about it - and a whole lot more - here. (With photos of the incident too.)
One of our big machineguns started boomboomboom?boomboomboom...boomboom boom, and then our guys with those little rifles they carry, poppop...poppoppoppop.... to my left?poppoppoppoppoppoppopp to my right, and then, boomboomboom PaPaPaPaPaPpoppoppoppopp GawGawGaw BOOM PaPaPpoppopGawGaw GawGawGawPaPaPpop popboom boom boom.
This was an appropriate time to run for cover. Enemy bullets snapping by. I saw at least two soldiers smiling?authors are not allowed to carry weapons PaPaPGawGaw BOOM PaPaPpop zinnggg--dust clouding the air?sure would be nice to have a gun instead of a camera right now boompop Gawsnapsnap boom boompoppboomGawGawGaw.
I looked back to where we had been because the prisoner [the American soldiers always remind me that I should call prisoners "detainees"] was still there, hand-cuffed, and on his knees, with the radio transmitter lying beside him on the ground.
We had left the prisoner in the open. Bullets were snapping, and I'm crouched on a knee behind a Stryker. When I look back again, I see Kurilla standing out there, alone, next to the terrorist on the sidewalk. Bullets are kicking up dirt and Kurilla gives us a look, What the hell! You left the prisoner!
For a moment, I nearly ran back out to drag the terrorist behind the Stryker, but then I thought, Nope, he?s a terrorist! If Kurilla gets shot, I?m definitely going to get him. But the terrorist can get shot to pieces and I don't care.
Instead of doing something useful?and I feel marginally guilty about this, but not too much?I start snapping photos as the Commander drags the guy by the collar to get him to the cover of the Stryker. I can't believe Kurilla is still alive after nearly a year of doing this.
Yon also relates a later event - an illustration of how important such stories are, and perhaps a clue as to why they aren't often told (emphasis added):
I woke up early one morning, waiting by my cell phone for a scheduled radio interview, when a gigantic explosion rocked the morning darkness. That was more than a five-banger.Read it all, and pass it on. There's no reason for anyone to "sit in the dark."
I walked to the TOC and asked what exploded. Blasts that large can defeat Strkyer armor, but no patrols called in to say they had been hit. I asked "Q," who was manning the counter-battery radar, if he saw anything; maybe flying parts were tracked by radar, but Q showed me the blank screen. No radar acquisitions. Just another giant explosion in the night without explanation; there have been many.
I walked back through the dark and did the radio interview by cell phone. During such interviews, I get the impression that people at home are losing faith in the effort, though we are winning. But at home they cannot see it, and when I said goodbye that time, I sat in the dark.
I can't help but think that if John Kerry had won the election we'd be winning the war - or at least the headlines in the papers would have more LTC Kurilla and less Lyndie England.
Yon's comments about Abu Ghraib are interesting too. He mentions the air conditioning - which from the media reports is just another torture device.
He doesn't have a comments section, so I'll publiclly thank him here. Thank you sir, for being the voice that should be heard.Posted by Old Soldier at August 10, 2005 04:50 PM
And here's a not so every day non-hero that makes the rest of us Reservists (certainly the anti-Bush ones anyway) look bad.CDR Don at August 10, 2005 05:19 PM
Mr. Yon is an *incredible* writter. Every time I read his posts about what is going on ... you get so emotionally into the story.
With this post: he has such a great background with history and then ties it in with what he wears! How did the count down effect you as you were reading? How many of you were REALLY REALLY wanting Kurilla to dump the terrorist in the hands of the police?
And the ending! ARGHH, where/when is the next post!?
Why why why is this man's work not being published by everyone?Posted by arrasmith at August 10, 2005 05:42 PM
WHY is he the only one reporting like that out of Iraq or Afghanistan????
Michael is going to have one helluva book to write when he gets back. ABSOLUTELY AWESOME writing.Posted by Brad J at August 10, 2005 08:32 PM
Micheal did a great job truly represting the war in Iraq and the way the soldiers react to situations. I will be honest, at first i supported the war in Iraq. Saddam was an evil guy and needed to be taken down but i dont necessarily agree with the US tactics. Regardless, I support our president and our troops in Iraq and around the world.Posted by Peter at August 11, 2005 07:28 AM
Michael Yon reports that Ltc Kurilla was shot three times today, but continued to direct the attack until a corpsman gave him morphine and his soldiers carried him away. Prayers for this brave man wouldn't be out of order.