Michael's Dispatches

Tracer Burnout


This Veloci-Chicken doesn’t seem to care about the firefight or the fire.


The fire is beaten down to a smolder.

After the fire drama subsided the family left in peace.  We moved to the compound next door. I saw Lieutenant Colonel Mike Katona up on a roof.  He said the family would be compensated for the losses.


Numerous firefights took place that day, but no others that included our element.  We could see and hear many of the scraps but we were not directly involved.

Night fell and we were resupplied by a CH-47 slingload.  The helicopter hurricane felt like it was going to blow me off the roof.  I wanted to sleep on the roof (we had machineguns and security up there) where it was cool, but CSM Charles Cook wasn’t good with that.  And so that’s the bottom line.  Our people get shot on the rooftops pretty often.  I had to slum it on the ground with everyone else.  During missions, you take orders just like the troops.


Lieutenant Colonel (LTC) Mike Katona making plans in the improvised field headquarters.

2011-08-19-184428-3cc-1000Not superstitious: Soldier sleeping in body bag.

We slept on the ground.  Resupply had been dropped off in body bags called “speedballs” that had been prepacked by 4-4Cav before we left base.


Some Soldiers used the body bags as sleeping bags to keep the bugs off, though it had to be hot inside the moisture proof body bag.  Some preferred the heat to the bugs, while others preferred the bugs to the heat.  (I chose the bugs and am itching while writing this dispatch.)


Only the guards and I seemed to be awake when the fire from the previous day (in contiguous compound) rekindled and burst into flames.  The tracer bullet had started a fire that had not burned out.  There was nothing we could do other than hope that a ton of explosives were not hidden under the hay.


Back on the roof for a photo, I stayed low because the fire made a great silhouette.  All the hay in the compound burned from a single tracer.  The Taliban surely will say we punished a farmer.

And that was it.  The farmer has no hay for his animals this winter.

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