Michael's Dispatches

Iraq: How I got the Ammo to shoot at the al Qaeda Guy


15 June 2017

Yesterday, a busy Facebook page published some of my work.  This sparked lively conversation. Some Soldiers cued me in. The story revolved around an intense, close firefight in Mosul that ended with hand-to-hand combat and my finding an empty M-4 rifle, loading it and firing.

Pardon the language, but in the comments a reader named Mitchell Spillman asked:
"Want to explain to me how the fuck the journalist reloaded a rifle? Whered he pull the mag from, his ass?"

I answered:


Solid question. Thank you.

Josh is right.

This is how it happened:

I had a reloading bench with me.

I found empty shell casings on the ground. Picked them up. Quickly found sulphur, charcoal, and saltpeter in a local pharmacy.

My mouth was dry from dehydration so I ground it up between my teeth, an entire mouthful of gunpowder, and began spitting it into the shell cases that I had primed. (I always keep 30 primers next to my tourniquet.)

I then cut bullets out of dead al Qaeda bodies and capped the bullets. I was concerned that the gunpowder would be too weak or that I got the ratio wrong, but it tasted about right. This all took about 30 seconds and there was not much time.

I then loaded my 30 MacGyver rounds into an empty magazine.

Put the magazine into the M-4. Slapped it in. Hit the bolt release. Hit the forward assist. Switched from auto to semi.

I then used five rounds to zero the iron sites on a 25m target. (It was the best I could do.)

From there I joined battle and killed bin Laden.

That's how I got the ammo.

Thanks for asking.


Screenshot of the original question:




# Homemade ammoBruce Anderson 2017-06-15 16:59
Well done and well written senor!!! Handmade always works the best. Nice job on Bin Laden. 'preciate the effort mightily!!!!!
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# RE: Iraq: How I got the Ammo to shoot at the al Qaeda GuyScott Wills 2017-06-15 17:15
Serves some self important ID10T to receive an answer like that. Quick thinking saves lives. Might have cost me mine though, because I was laughing so hard!
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# Reloading Rocks!Texas2Step 2017-06-15 17:19
:D Freakin' amazing! It is a good thing you had a source for bullets handy. I always have to melt down old tire weights and pour them into a bullet mold. Thanks to your DIY description, I now know I can just motor over to the East side of town, where there are enough shootings to ensure a small but steady supply of bullets.
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# Mag is emptySteve 2017-06-15 17:37
MY, Funny article. Haven't heard from you in a while. With all the events going on all you say is your watching Korea situation. Usually count on you for your unique viewpoint. Get off your ass.
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# Good Reflexes!Corbeck 2017-06-15 17:42
I would have expected no less from a Special Forces man. :-)
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# Well Played Sir!Pete Eisenmann 2017-06-15 18:24
Great response. Too bad there wasn't a slingshot nearby, you might have been able to kill a bird, get the feathers, fashion an arrow or two, make a bow out of a whittled down door jamb and some twine. Might have saved you 5 seconds or so. Effing beautiful.
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# ChuckBob 2017-06-15 20:50
Chuck Norris style.

The reader has no clue the path you have carved.
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# Nice dispatch!Rick Singel 2017-06-15 21:24
Michael, been awhile. Have missed your narratives.
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# RE: Nice dispatch!Kathy Brown 2017-08-18 15:09
Ditto! I've missed you, too, Michael Yon! I saw WINTER HAVEN on the map while checking-out a Bing picture. YOU came to mind and 10 minutes later, here I am! Gotta put you back on my radar. Have so enjoyed your articles/books through the years! Hope all is well with you!
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# RE: Iraq: How I got the Ammo to shoot at the al Qaeda GuyMatthew 2017-06-15 21:30
Loved it!! Thanks Michael! What FB page was this posted to? Glad to hear from you. :-)
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# RE: Iraq: How I got the Ammo to shoot at the al Qaeda GuyChris Brosnahan 2017-06-15 22:49
Great answer for a stupid question...
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# RE: Iraq: How I got the Ammo to shoot at the al Qaeda GuyChris Brosnahan 2017-06-15 22:49
Great answer for a stupid question...
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# RE: Iraq: How I got the Ammo to shoot at the al Qaeda GuyDavid 2017-06-15 22:54
:lol: Do you have to deal with that 'white noise' often?
I reload a bunch and I approve of your style. The KNO3 is kinda raunchy tho.
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# Classified videomalclave 2017-06-15 23:11
It's true... Russian hackers were able to find video of the incident:

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# Classified video - malclave: you winThomas Dikel 2017-08-22 12:23
Best Internet Comment of the Day :D
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# RE: Iraq: How I got the Ammo to shoot at the al Qaeda GuyJohn Reece 2017-06-15 23:46
That load might be enough for Al Qaeda, but what about a Gorn?
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# RE: Iraq: How I got the Ammo to shoot at the al Qaeda GuyDan 2017-06-16 00:30
Pharmacy? Wimp. Captain Kirk mined his own with his own bare hands.
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# RE: Iraq: How I got the Ammo to shoot at the al Qaeda Guykoblog 2017-06-16 01:22
Your forgot to size the spent cartridges and trim them to exact length the so the crimp would fall into the bullet's ferrule.
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# Finally!Thomas Dikel 2017-06-16 01:28
Aha! FINALLY I found out what that push-in doodad on the left side of the handle that you shove in when the M-16 jams (again) is called in English - Forward assist! I've been waiting... wait a minute... 70s... 80s... 90s... anyway, a long @!$%#ing time to find out. I could never figure out how to ask anyone because by the time I finish with the doodad and the flat-head there next to the handle-thing... the look of disgust on the listener is so intense that I give up and move on. Also, its one of those things that comes up maybe once every 14 1/2 years or so. Oh yeah, good thing you didn't have to tell them how you got the bullets out of the bodies after you opened them up. I'll bet they think you used the blade. BWAHahahahahaha !
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# Mr.General Bones 2017-06-16 02:45
Thanks Thomas! LMAO! The funniest part of this story is that his first shot, (of reloaded ammo ;) hits a fully loaded propane tank which rockets out of the room nearly taking the head off the Gunnie, Michael AND the wounded colonel sitting in the alley between the storage units! After it was all over the Gunnie comes over, relieves him of his borrowed rifle and respectfully requests that from now on, to please constrain himself to shooting his camera!
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# dudethomass 2017-06-16 02:55
you went full Captain Kirk with that.
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# Mr.General Bones 2017-06-16 02:58
One more thing, be sure to read Sargent Clint Romesha's "Red Platoon". You will not be able to put it down, once your pick it up!
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# Educationthinksink 2017-06-16 10:23
Taught that p___y a thing or two. Thanks, Michael.
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# MrEdward. Fullerton 2017-08-26 14:15
Michael , Only useful thing I can add is.....Pick up the rosary& don't forget to add " litany of Fatima " !.afghan/Pakist an . perversity problem you referred to in previous post some years back. China interesting. UK referendum , one American guy through brit media ... said vote blindsided aforesaid, now its the silk road , which presents influx of migrants. Only Mary mother of God , conduit of God's providence can resolve all. You mentioned the fear of women in those countries , indeed justified fear. The many sacrifices of your military.61 million abortions US/5 Uk/ x amount republic of Ireland , which UK governments hideously assist in.Did not Jesus make reference too above during his ..stumbling walk to Calvary. I cannot promise to donate anything , out of work 63 year old am I , yours in , Jesus , Mary&Joseph..
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# MrEdward. Fullerton 2017-08-26 14:44
Michael , Aptly named by your parents. Call ...collect given my previous/and your post.Tactly speaking sound comments as regards military intervention. Thiers more than enough Hitlers to go around what ever span in history were talking about. I take it your response to Mitchell was vague wit ?.Cf , We've got to believe what saint Paul said in one of his epistles " where sin abounds God's grace abounds even more , yours in , Jesus , Mary&Joseph.
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# average AmericanPeter Wall 2017-08-28 11:34
Mr. Yon practiced self preservation a normal reaction.
Mr. Spillmen, you would prefer that Mr. Yon be murdered by some Islamic radical? Don't bother
answering that question I know your pathetic answer.
Good day Sir.
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