12 May 2005
It was noisier than usual last night on Marez; our soldiers were firing 120mm mortars. When large cannons or mortars are fired around you daily, like they were in Baquba, it’s easy to start sleeping through the racket. But since outgoing fire is not common on this FOB, the booms kept some people awake. Then, shortly after sunrise, two rockets flew into base and exploded nearby, causing more sudden noise and injuring a few civilians.
Deuce Four headed downtown this morning with several items on their to-do list. One task was to recon a gasoline station that was attacked and destroyed a couple of weeks ago. While we walked around the rubble of the abandoned station, the commander noticed two artillery rounds on the ground. A minute or so later, someone spotted a radio command switch for a very large booby trap.
We were surrounded by nine bombs (large artillery shells) all rigged to explode by radio control.
While I ran away as fast as I could, the soldiers “pulled back quickly” and called EOD, who arrived and removed the bombs without incident.
As the day progressed, the Deuce Four visited local police stations, checking security, and extending congratulations to chiefs on some recent successes they’ve had in battles with terrorists this past week.
The news back home is showing large increases in violence in certain parts of Iraq. But the soldiers here continue to comment that Mosul, at least, seems to come under better control with every passing month.