Wednesday, July 17, 2013

A View of Iraq – Inside the gate at Al Asad in January 2004

Ok, I’m not done with showing some photos from Iraq.  Here are just a few shots of us after we got through the gate at Al Asad.  If you go back a couple of entries, you will see that I left off at arriving at the gate.  We were waiting for “rooms”, if you will – what temporary space we would occupy for the night before we were back on the road again heading for Rifle Base.  The theater commander had long since ordered a stop to night convoys ever since the IEDs had started in the latter half of 2003.  Oh, the armored cavalry regiment that was our final destination was the 3rd ACR – the name Rifle Base should have told me that (nickname “Brave Rifles”) but it’s been a while and I was never a part of that storied unit.  At this time, I was a part of the 11th Signal Brigade in the 86th Signal Battalion.  Which I have recently learned are no longer based out of Fort Huachuca, AZ.  They are now located at Fort Hood and Fort Bliss, respectively.  That blew my mind to learn that but that is another story.  Let us get back to Iraq.  My lieutenant (LT) and I were on this mission not only because the team we were recovering was a part of our platoon but because we were very familiar with where the various bases and outpost were in country at the time.  We had escorted quite a few convoys throughout the theater since being there.  Me even more so since I had been in the theater for 11 months by that time.  It had become my secondary mission there.  Rolling out the gate was always a serious matter.  A lot of soldiers and marines were blown up on those Iraqi roads.  So this mission, because it was very close to our last there in Iraq was a bit vexing because crap seems to always catch you just before you get the hell out of Dodge.  But that’s ancient history.  Have a look at the pictures and let me know what you think if you can.  Enjoy.
On our drive through Al Asad base.
 Another gate.
 My LT was walking back to his vehicle.  He was in the lead HMMWV, it is tan and just behind the larger truck with the shelter on it.  There are three green HMMWVs between us – the escorted from the 3rd Sig Bde.
 PFC Jackson and SPC Hall.
 A box of bottled water – you did not go anywhere without any.
The muzzle of my M16A2.  While we were out of the gate, it stayed resting across my chess with the pistol grip just to the right of my center mass – locked and loaded.  The barrel would be sticking out the window to my immediate left.  That was how I drove.  And I always drove if the mission permitted it.  Good times.