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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I know there's some info stored deep within a few brain-housing groups here.

From nervewracking, to frustrating, scary, hurtful and even funny...war stories are a healthy outlet.

Maybe we can get something going....
 

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I'll get some things started with a little tale.

January 2008, our unit, a stripped to the bones Marine LAR company, is assigned to a rinky-dink "police station" in the middle-of-no where Anbar Province. The mission was to mentor the Police and deter the oil smuggling that was rampant. Conflicting missions, of course, as the smugglers-in-chief wore uniforms of blue and operated behind our backs - another topic for another day.

Fragged with a mission to clear some dried up river beds and search for enemy, the unit prepped personnel and equipment. As the 2IC, I knew I'd stay behind and handle the patrol base and communications while the Skipper led the mission.

As the patrol stepped off I assumed my role in the COC - command operations center - briefing the staff on what to expect and making sure communications gear was operating up to par. Now that may sound jazzy, but bear in mind that we were in a half destroyed building, in the middle of the dessert, with no heat or electricity and most of us hadn't washed out rears in 4 months. My "staff" was 19 year old communicator and a 20 year old Navy Corpsman; one who had joined as result of an ultimatum offered by a very understanding small town criminal court judge.

The terrain in western Anbar was wide open. Though the Bn Hq was over 75 miles away, we could still see lights in the distance on a clear night. As such, the mission was essentially uneventful. A few ancient artifacts were found, such as a US issue M16A1, but otherwise crickets and we heard little from the patrol.

Back at the COC I took things seriously. Without the excess folks to trip over, I set my sights on cleaning up the hell-hole we worked in. Garbage went out and things were headed the right way. Eyeing a mountain of cardboard piling up in the corner, I pulled out my "old timer" and went to work. I didn't have the means to shave, but I sure kept that little knife sharp.

So sharp, in fact, that while cutting up the card board I noticed that my leg was soaked in a warm, red fluid. Never felt a thing. I had a general sense of where it was coming from on my thigh, and put on some pressure. I then told the young operator, "Hey bud, go grab the Corpsman". As he turned around and saw he turned white as a ghost, before scrambling out. Having still not looked, I decide to take a peek while he was out. Sure enough...4" long and an inch deep straight into my thigh. And what a time for it to happen - when you're the senior man on deck.

Minutes later the young corpsman comes scrambling full of ambition and ready to save the world. Manning the radios with one hand and keeping pressure on my self-inflicted wound with the other, I said, "Doc, I just need you to put a few stitches in". He assured me it would be no problem, as they stitched chicken thighs in his basic school. As he got his kit ready and a half moon shaped needle set up in a clamp I pulled the pressure off. No sooner than Doc saw my leg did he hit the floor.

After spending a few minutes bringing Doc back into the fight, he explained there was no-way-no-how he was stitching my leg, and that if he dabbled in it the chief and medical officer would have his rear end back at camp. This turned into me explaining to doc there was no-way-no-how I was going to be evacuated and leave a LCpl in charge of the patrol base during a mission.

After this back and forth went on for a bit - we decided I'd stitch my own dang leg, and Doc could say he never knew. After my best effort with Docs little half moon needle - which was probably too dull to stitch a banana - I opted to use a straight 18 gauge needle through the flesh, and I could pass the suture material through the inside - something I'd learned along the way. Worked well enough to get me patched up with 6 crude but tight stitches, keep the COC running, and keep the young Doc out of trouble.

Sure left one hell of a scar - be careful with them knives, fellas.
An 18 gauge hypo leaves a hell of a hole!
Andrew
 

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My unit missed out on Desert Storm by 24 hours. So I'd not have any personal war story to tell.

My late father and two uncles served in WWII, my father in the Pacific and both uncles in Europe. A short story from my father follows as he told it to me.

His unit was in New Guinea at the time and this occurred after most combat operations had ended.

A mess cook was knifed to death by several Japanese soldiers that entered the perimeter looking for foodstuffs and the cook surprised them. The Jap soldiers escaped into the jungle as the alarm went up. A few hours later my father and several other troops were assigned to hunt down the Japs. With native guides, they followed the enemy's trail for a couple of hours.

Upon entering a clearing they surprised a wild sow with piglets. The sow charged the group whose members scattered and went up trees the best they could.

My father and another soldier were unable to reach the trees. The other soldier dropped his rifle and ran causing the sow to charge after him. My father emptied his M1 Garand at the sow killing it.

Within seconds the native guides pulled GI issued razor blades from their bags and had the sow butchered within minutes. My father said the group ate well that night, being the first fresh meat they had in months.
He did say they never found the Jap soldiers and never had another problem at camp.

Andrew
 

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When I was in Iraq after KBR took over the cooking and I was unemployed "I was A cook" I chose to be a crew serve gunner in helicopters instead of a gate guard. I got to know the pilots and crew chiefs pretty well and one day we are all hooked in on the com system and this come out of my headphones.

"Ladies and men, this is your captain speaking. Hell Airways Flight six-six-six is now departing for the plain of Meggido. Please keep your lunches inside your stomachs. The no-freaking sign is lit, and will remain so for the duration of the flight. If an in-flight emergency occurs, it will be announced by my scream.

Well I about fell over I was laughing so hard. God, there is just something about being a soldier in the company of good comrades in arms. Joel Lee

 

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Between May 2003 and Sept 2004. And the Chinook was O.D. Green, that sand color is the dust on her after a sandstorm!
 

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When I was in the army in the 1980's, I was a cook and on my first field problem in Germany in middle October. So they had Me guard our food garbage pile with an ax handle. I was told to yell loudly and wave my arms if the boar or sows pigs approached. And to hit them with the ax handle if they got into the garbage. Me a 20 year old E-1/E none at 5"8" 146 lbs. soaking wet kid from rural W.I. with a 28 inch waist is going to stop a 650 lbs. hog or hogs? I think not. The hogs would climb under our Mobile Kitchen Trailer etc. if you did not pull the steps off the M.K.T. they would sometimes climb up them and go inside.

Anyway it was my 1st Sergeant that had given me that task, and I was not fond of him for that. The X.O. we had just got told to go over to T.O.P.'s tent with a canteen of coffee and see if he was inside, I said "1st sergeant, it is private Alioto are you in there"? I open the tent and here is top, trapped in his cot with the biggest dang Boar hog I had at that time ever seen laying on the floor if front of the stove snoring! I took one look and said "oops, sorry 1st sergeant, I didn't know you had company". And re closed the tent. well he cursed me out and called my name in a whisper as I walked away laughing to beat all get out and drank the coffee in between fits of laughter! After a while after I finished the coffee and had a cigarette, then I found the X.O. then I told him what had happened and he called the m.p. unit. I don't know how it ended because I left the unit that day for in lieu of getting ready to be sent to Desert storm.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Oh yeah, that's a dirty bird for sure.

The MOPP suits and gas masks dated your pic...lol
 

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Caprivi , Angolan Border ('83 - too long :wink: )

A couple of blokes had a rooster as a pet. The dang things' MO was to wake us up at 03:30. A real PIA. Until, one evening when we got it fired up on Rum & Gin ~ just for the hell of it. You know how it goes.

After this binge, we took him outside and lay him down in his tree for the night. A very croaky call came from him at about 11:00 the next morning. We had our recipe!

It always took a while for him to rewind after a session in the mess. He slowly but surely worked his way back to the early hours before sunrise. As soon as he started up too early, he was back in the mess for another session. So it continued for some time, until he landed in the pot!

Juiciest chicken I ever had. The best ever!

We were fed and well rested!

:elefant:

Photograph Vehicle Photography
 

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In 1969 I had a chushy job (for those of you who might not recognize sarcasm, this is it) as a Gun Bunny in a 105 howitzer battery on a firebase between AnKhe and Pleiku along Hwy 19. I deceided that I wanted a little more excitement so I transfered off the guns and became a Forward Observer. My first mission was a short scouting mission with a 12 man infantry patrol looking for the hiding place for the snipers that were harassing tanker out on the road. The first two days were uneventful; slogging over a mountain and through a couple of rice paddys, but the third day became more exciting. I was walking two men behind the Lt. through triple canopy jungle when I noticed that there was a hole in the dirt pile the Lt. was walking over: " Lt, Lt, your walking on a bunker!" We all stopped. There were more bunkers all around us. The rear of the column came up and the machine gunner said that he had seen a few more bunkers behind us. There must have been at least a dozenFortunately, no body was home. We moved up onto a ridge and I wanted to call in 8" artillery, but the Lt. decided that "We are not going to poke at the bees nest". He decided that we had found what we were looking for and that we should leave before any body noticed we were there. I noted the location and gave it to a near by 8" battery so that they could drop some rounds on it some night during Harassment and Inderdiction fire. H&I was one of those things the gun bunnies loved: getting up at 2 in the morning and shooting 120 rounds or so over a period of 2 hours and then cleaning the gun as the sun came up. Some how, it all seems like fun now.
 

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There's a few from me... but one of my most... humbling? goes as follows.

I was an 88M, a heavy wheeled vehicle operator. Stationed in Germany we deployed to Hungary/Bosnian theater in late '98. We were based on Taszar airfield in Hungary.

And our main mission was re-supply- food, ammunition, and mail into Bosnia and Croatia. We'd drive from Hungary in, usually around a 14 hr day. We used american CB radios for internal convoy comms. Usually just jokes, "hey watch that truck"... this idiot... etc.

This one day, everybody's in rare form- a lot of kidding and chit chat on the radios. I'm in one of the lead trucks.

There's a town we just called "the left turn" because as we went thru, we turned left at this huge town square. There's a huge, old castle-like government building in the square. Beautiful, even after being war-torn and ravaged.

This day, we make our usual turn.

And as we do, a little old lady steps off the curb and onto the edge of the road. Frail, bent over, hanging onto a cane as she moved slowly. At first, I tensed up. It was weird...

Then, she raised her head looking straight at me... Made the sign of the cross across her body, and blew a kiss at me in my truck.

She repeated that for every single truck in our convoy as we passed. We all knew that in a predominantly Muslim area, she was in effect risking her life doing so.

The entire rest of that trip - not a single time did anyone use a radio...

That single act changed me. Changed the soldier I endeavored to be from then on... it was no longer about me.


edit: found some pics! This was the left turn, my buddy SPC golden blocking traffic in the "happy hooker" wrecker.
building was so big side to side, it was impossible to fit in a single picture.

Mode of transport Transport Vehicle Motor vehicle Asphalt
Landmark Holy places Building Architecture Medieval architecture
 

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There's a few from me... but one of my most... humbling? goes as follows.

I was an 88M, a heavy wheeled vehicle operator. Stationed in Germany we deployed to Hungary/Bosnian theater in late '98. We were based on Taszar airfield in Hungary.

And our main mission was re-supply- food, ammunition, and mail into Bosnia and Croatia. We'd drive from Hungary in, usually around a 14 hr day. We used american CB radios for internal convoy comms. Usually just jokes, "hey watch that truck"... this idiot... etc.

This one day, everybody's in rare form- a lot of kidding and chit chat on the radios. I'm in one of the lead trucks.

There's a town we just called "the left turn" because as we went thru, we turned left at this huge town square. There's a huge, old castle-like government building in the square. Beautiful, even after being war-torn and ravaged.

This day, we make our usual turn.

And as we do, a little old lady steps off the curb and onto the edge of the road. Frail, bent over, hanging onto a cane as she moved slowly. At first, I tensed up. It was weird...

Then, she raised her head looking straight at me... Made the sign of the cross across her body, and blew a kiss at me in my truck.

She repeated that for every single truck in our convoy as we passed. We all knew that in a predominantly Muslim area, she was in effect risking her life doing so.

The entire rest of that trip - not a single time did anyone use a radio...

That single act changed me. Changed the soldier I endeavored to be from then on... it was no longer about me.
WOW man, that is deep. :congrats:
 

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One more story from my father's time in WWII.

He was on patrol with his platoon, in the Philippines. The patrol entered a palm grove and the soldier next to my father was shot in the hip by a sniper in a palm tree. My father, who was now a sergeant and carried a Thompson submachine gun, sprayed the top of the tree with a whole magazine.

The Japanese soldier, who had a rope tied to him, fell from the tree and stopped at head height from the ground. He was shot in several places. The Jap soldier looked at my father and bowed his head to him, much to his surprise.

As my father went to cut the man down from the rope, another US soldier ran up to the man hanging by the rope and smashed his face in with his M1. This soldier then proceeded to look in the Jap soldier's mouth for gold teeth. Needless to say, he died at that time.

Now, knowing how my father was raised to always try to do right by others, he brought that other soldier to the commander, whom after being told what occurred, brought charges against that soldier.

My father never told me this story until the day I took him to see the movie "The Thin Red Line." We were watching a scene where a US soldier was pulling gold teeth with a pair of pliers, from wounded Jap soldiers. My father just started sobbing and I did not know why. So he told me this story.

The movie brought back memories that he harbored for nearly six decades.

Andrew
 

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Great stories, fellas. I look forward to hearing more!!
Sadly in every generation, not all who wear the uniform are honorable men.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
The sad story reminds me of one close to home for me.

In 2009 I was on my fourth tour in Iraq, again embedded with the local police in a lovely little Anbar city.

We were having a big problem with VBIEDs - car bombs. Big ones, usually at least a few hundred pounds of explosives. They were generally suicide missions, and it usually took quite a bit of investigation just to try to figure out what the vehicle may have looked like..we usually only found major drivetrain components.

One day a truck pulled up to a police checkpoint and the driver told the young police man, "that guy behind me ain't from around here". The young policeman, 18 years old, stopped the truck and told the driver to get out so he could perform an inspection. The driver told him the door was broken and he needed to get out the passenger side. As the young policeman walked around, the driver pulled out a Glock - an issue police weapon - and the two exchanged gunfire killing each other.

Very shortly thereafter it was discovered that the truck was a giant IED, and he was likely on his way to blow up one of our stations, or some other government building.

Back at the station, I walk out to see Police gathered around a truck, with one in the bed of the pickup slugging away at a mans face and spitting at him. Only when I go close could I see it was the dead insurgent. I had to break up this mess, and it wasn't a sight you want to see.


The story doesn't end with simple dissatisfaction in the human race, however, as that wouldn't be enough.


Being the man was so young, and he not only died fighting, but potentially saved a ton of people, I decided to make something of it.

I wrote up an award for valor - a US award - and sent it up the command. There's a process for foreign awards and I was familiar with it. I wanted the kid to get some recognition, and for others in the police to see how we valued valor. It was sure to be a hit.

The award came back approved and as written, with English and Arabic copies. We reached out to the Mom, Dad, and important folks in the community and set a date for a ceremony. We got a correspondent from Public Affairs and picked him up early so he could be there to take his photos and seal the deal in history.

Mom arrives in Muslim mourning garb - a black scarf over her face that cannot be removed for a certain number of days. They were told to stand in front of me and military and police were called to attention. I read the English version loud and proud, followed by the Arabic translation. Once we finished, I shook Dad's hand and told him I was sorry for his loss, and then reached out to hand Mom her deceased son's medal.

No sooner than I did so, she whipped her scarf back and says, "Where's the money - I don't want this". This all happened in Arabic, but I understood quite well by that time. My heart sank to a new low as I saw not only my plan fail, but that she truly saw her son's death as some sort of a paycheck.

Without saying a word - I walked away and led the Marines to our trucks. The young buck from public affairs hot on my heels writing in his notepad while trying to ask me what happened. I ignored him a bit - but he was persuasive. I said there'd be no story, and no award was given. He may not know to this day what happened. No one ever asked.
 
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