Saturday, March 19, 2005

The Adventures of Cody Badger Part 1

This is a series I want to write about how it is over here in the war. My blog has been mostly humorous and light hearted so far. If that's the experience you want from my blog that's fine, just don't read any of the entries about the fictitious Cody Badger. All the events are fabricated and are in no way meant to reflect real events that happened here. They are, however based on real events that have happened while I've been here. Some of the experiences are mine, and some are things that have happened to other guys. Also there is some profanity and violence in these entries. There is no way to capture the feeling without them. I apologize if it offends, but that's what it's like here. I'll post a disclaimer before each entry so you can consider yourself forewarned. Please don't let your children read these. This one is pretty mild, but the will get worse.

My name is Cody Badger. I'm a soldier in Iraq. I didn't grow up wanting to be a soldier, it sort of just happened. I got out of High School about a year ago and didn't really have anything better to do. An Army recruiter came to our school before we graduated and it sounded like a good idea, so I joined. When I went through the MEPS station I took the ASVAB test and had to pick a job based on my score. I never was all that smart and didn't really care what I scored. I just wanted to shoot stuff so I was going to pick Infantry no matter what my score. A month later I was at Basic Training at Fort Benning. That's where I met Steve Bennett. Steve was a lot older than me, but we were assigned to be battle buddies from day one. A battle buddy is a guy that goes where you go and you sort of keep track of each other. Since everything is done alphabetically we were always together. He stood right behind me in line for chow, we drew our weapons and turned them in in the same order. I think the only time in Basic I didn't see Steve was when I was asleep. But even then I could hear him. He slept on the bunk above me. A year later he's my room mate and my squad leader in the infantry unit I'm in in Iraq. I'm glad we got stuck together back in Basic. I know nothing's gunna happen to me as long as Steve's around.

I don't really know why Steve joined the Army. He'd already been to college, and was married. His wife had a daughter the month we left to come here. He only got to see her for a week before we mobilized and started heading out. That must really suck. Anyway, he's the smartest guy I know. He knows when the insurgents are going to hit us. It's like he can feel em coming. I guess it's a gift, but all I know is I'm glad he's on our team.

One of the first things we did when we got to Iraq was go to the range and zero our weapons. We had taken our turn and were waiting outside the area they made up for the range when some jerk takes a shot at us over the wall. It was over and done before we could even react. We were standing next to one of the Humvees talking and all of the sudden "POP" "ZING" and it was over.

"Steve, what the F*** was that?"

"Dude, get behind the truck" Steve said as he jumped behind the armored Humvee.

"S*** man, they're shooting at us", I said just standing there looking at the wall.

"Get down stupid!" Steve yelled as he grabbed the loop on the back of my body armor.

I hurried up and squatted down next to Steve behind the truck.

"Did you see em?"

"No, but it was about an inch from my head"

"Mine too",I said "what ear'd you hear it out of?"

"Left." Steve said as he scanned the top of the wall. We both had our M-16s propped up on the hood and aimed at the wall where the round had come from.

"I heard it out of my right." I said. "S*** a couple of inches either way and that would have been it."

Nobody ever saw who did it or how far away they were, but we heard it zing right between our heads and we were only about a foot apart. Plus we saw where the round went into the Humvee. That was day one.

That was the first time I'd ever been shot at. I wasn't as scary as I thought it would have been. It just happened and then it was over. I guess since we didn't anticipate it happening we didn't have time to be scared. I thought it would have been more dramatic, but it wasn't.

Our job is mostly driving around on patrols in the city in the day time, and doing raids and searches at night. The first few patrols weren't too bad. We usually convoy out with four or five Humvees and patrol around to see what's going on. Steve is usually the gunner in the middle truck, and I'm usually the gunner in the last truck. We're the guys who stand up in the middle of the Humvee in the gunners hatch and fire the 50 Caliber machine gun. It's pretty cool. There's an armored pod that we stand in and there's a place for the 50 to stick out the front. The whole pod rotates 360 so you can fire from any direction. I face backwards most of the time so I don't know what's coming, but the guys in the truck yell up to me and let me know what's going on. There's a little sling that you can sit in, but it always makes my butt go to sleep. We spend most of our time with our heads stuck out of the top of the Humvee swinging the 50 cal around from side to side. Not a bad job if you don't mind being the only guy with your head sticking out the armored Humvee. I'm not too worried though with Steve in the Convoy.

The biggest threat we face in Iraq isn't getting shot, it's IEDs. Improvised Explosive Devices. These jerks put old artillery rounds, land mines, or anything they can find in the road and blow them up when we drive over them. The lead trucks main job is to scan for IEDs. I'm glad I'm usually in the back.

We got hit with our first IED on the third or fourth mission outside the wire. We were just driving down a road and had no clue it was there. It hit the second truck. It was a pretty small one though and didn't do any damage. We didn't even stop. He ran right through the smoke and looked around for who set it off. We didn't see anybody. And didn't want to stop either. Sometimes they use the IEDs to stop the convoy so they can ambush it. We didn't plan on getting ambushed so we pushed through. When we got back we looked at the truck and it only looked like someone shot it with a shotgun or something. It had some shrapnel marks on the front fender, but it didn't even make the tire flat. So we just left it like it was and went to get some chow.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Keep writing. Cody's adventure story is very interesting so far and makes me want to know more. You and the other troops are always in my prayers. scm

4:16 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh my, here we go. This will be very real and will give us many topics to be in prayer for. Our days are very tame compared to yours. I wish there was some way to relieve the pressure you must be under. The Lord will undertake for his own. zm

6:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The great american novel on line what a rush!! Finally read up on BLOG. So good to hear your sense of humor again. By the way what is F*** and S*** I dont understand military lingo I guess. Stay safe and keep out of the S***

9:21 PM  
Blogger TLO said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

5:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Excellent start, keep the adventure going! Thanks for the posting of your muck and mire pictures. I'm glad that you have a way to vent you frustrations and exaspirations. I read ahead and saw that the mail had arrived and your uniforms have been laundered. Charles Swindoll's words are so true, attitude is everything! Blessing indeed! PF

4:02 PM  

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