The raid was very interesting. Real-world door-to-door room clearing urban combat stuff. The section leader we were following, Sgt. Kitter, who’s Texas twang made me feel pretty damned safe, was very agressive and seemed to know his stuff. He was climbing all over the roofs and ordering his Marines around like he’d done this a thousand times. What a good dude. We also went into a set of rooms that housed an old Iraqi man with his family. They were caretakers for the school and had just been hassled by a group of insurgents. It was hearbreaking to hear how they’d scared the daylights out of the poor man. I watched as Lt. Awtry…the platoon commander, handed a little girl a blue chem-light…she smiled. Will she remember this kindness when she grows up? What side will she be on when the chips are down. I wanted to think that gesture would go a long way — for both the parents and the child — but I wasn’t sure.
I talked with the interpreter for a few minutes while Capt. Powledge formulated a new plan with Lima Company commander, Capt. Quinn. He is Iraqi. A Sunni from the north…I forget which town. His wife is in school there. He has no kids. He’s been living in San Diego. I asked him if he thinks things are getting better. “No,” he said quickly. “It is the same for the last three years.” “Before, it didn’t matter if you were Shiia or Sunni or Kurd (he pronounced these “sheeeya, sun-nee and kord). But now, it matters…” his head shaking in disgust.
We moved out. None of the insurgents were found. No shots were fired. But Awtry was pretty convinced that the insurgents used the school as an overwatch position and to detonate IEDs when they saw US vehicles go by. When I got back to camp, I took a look at the map…just across the dirt road from the school, within plain view, was the place the 7-ton truck had been hit…where the 12 Marines were injured and the one killed…the place with the severed feet. I had a feeling we’d be back to this place…and so would the terrorists.
Before I go, I want to say again that I hope all of you reading this are praying for the health of our friends Walker and Janet’s new son, Michael. He is surely as strong as his parents and will come through this trial unscathed, I am sure of that. Keep the Carters in your thoughts please. And keep the widow of Samuel Tapia and his beautiful daughter Samantha in your prayers as well…
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