Today I have bad news. Well, it is really good news, as to the fact that everyone is alive. On the night of the 21st, my convoy was hit again. This time though, the gun fire hit my truck. I am fine. I just have a few small pieces of metal in the back of my right arm. I don’t even feel it there. The medics say that they will work their way out. It is really nothing compared to my driver and one of the TCN’s I had in my convoy. Coming through Baghdad that night we took fire. There was small arms fire, IED’s, tracer fire, flares, and mortars. Luckily, my truck, the military truck right behind me and the TCN right behind him were the only ones hit. The whole convoy took fire, but we were the only one that had bullet holes in our trucks.
I could see the flash from the barrel of the gun on the overpass as it fired at us. And then just a second later, my driver was yelling that he was hit. Now just so you know, I drive this stretch of the road. My driver was in the passenger seat at this time. I do this for several reasons, one being the reaction time to handle things when under fire. It is not how KBR wants it done, but I don’t care. I do what I think is the best for my guys and keeping them safe. I am in no way saying that my driver can’t do the job. As a matter of fact, this driver could have done it and me felt fine with it. But I drive this part and he gets all the rest. Anyway, he took a round into his right knee. Just a few seconds after that, I saw another flash and felt something hit the back side of my right arm. I was on the radio telling the escorts and the convoy that I was taking fire from the front, the left and the right. I asked my driver where he was hit and how bad? He told me in the right knee and not to bad, but it hurt. I told him to put pressure on it, we had to get through the kill zone.
My bobtail was on the radio and telling me that one of the TCN’s that was part of our convoy was stopped and out of his truck. The TCN was hit in the left leg. I told my bobtail to pick him up and get a move on. Because the TCN that was hit stopped in the road, we got split up a bit. I was still in radio contact with them. The escorts started to pull over and I told my guys. The bobtail said that they were still taking fire, so I told the escorts and we took off again. While all this was happening, my bobtail guy was out of his truck and directing the convoy around the downed truck while still taking fire. We went down the road a bit and stopped again. I could hear from the rear of my convoy all the time. They got moving again and were catching up to where we were stopped. I grabbed the first aid kit and crawled across the dog house of the truck and tried to get a pressure bandage on him form there. I couldn’t cut his jeans leg, so I had to go back to my side of the truck and get out. I ran around to his door and started putting the bandage on his knee. The lead escort was watching my back all this time. One of there guys was standing behind me with his weapon while I took care of my driver. Then we started taking small arms fire again. My driver was yelling at me to get back in the truck as the solider returned fire. I told my driver to tie off the bandage as I ran back to the drivers seat and radioed the rest of the convoy that we were taking fire again and that I was rolling.
When we got rolling I could see the road was blocked with traffic. I was going to have to make us a hole to get the convoy through and out of the kill zone. I hit 4 cars while trying to get my convoy out of there. The military truck behind me widened the path as I made it. I tore the hell out of the right side of my truck clearing that path. I told the guys to push on through and to “Drive it like you stole it. It is not your truck it is KBR’s and they can buy a new one” My guys did great in getting the TCN’s the rest of the way through the kill zone. We took heavy fire for about 3 to 4 miles and then it was intermittent for about another 15. We pulled into the nearest camp and got medical help for our wounded. But most of this last part was led my me and without a lead escort. They were busy covering our tails. They were great!!!!! It would have been lots worse, if they had not been there. I will run with them any time and any place. I feel the same about the Military Transportation company that were along as our shooters. One of their guys was injured as well. He took some glass in the face. He is fine and after the medic’s looked after him, he continued on with the convoy.
Always before, when my convoy has taken fire, I have had to watch it in the mirror. I have been lucky till that night to not have taken fire on my truck. That night, they hit the front of the convoy instead of the middle and rear like normal. It is a very odd felling to see the muzzle flash and a seconds later hear it tear through your truck. It is also a different feeling when the person injured is sitting next to you. When Roy was hit, I could hear the pain and fear in his voice. The other night, when Robert, my driver was hit, I could see it as well. I have had several of the reefer drivers ask me if I thought this was a sign to get out of a truck and off the convoys. I have to admit, a part of me does feel this way. But there is a bigger part that tells me not to let them SOB’s win. A friend and I were talking yesterday about it and he put it to me this way. It is the mother, daughter, sister, that says it might be time to stay behind the wire, it is the American in you that says you aren’t going to let them win by running you off. He says that the American spirit that each of us have in us is why our country is what it is, and it is people like me and my crew, and our Army escorts, that make up that spirit. So, I have to tell ya’ll now, I am not staying behind that wire. As a matter of fact, I am on mission now. We came here to do a job and hopefully do some good, I can’t quit now.
I do want to give my greatest thanks to the guys and gals of the Unit 3rd/86 FA for covering our tails that night. I want to give the young man that covered my tail while I was bandaging my driver my personal thanks for standing in harms way to make sure I was covered. I have written a statement commending the unit of escorts and the Army greens that were with us that night. It has been passed along to a Sergeant Major that says that they are going to find out the guy who covered me and I guess he will get a medal of something. At least these brave solders will know that me and mine are grateful for them covering our tails.
I am going to put the pictures of my truck on the group site if any one wants to see them. There are pictures of the bullet hole and the damage I did to the truck when I hit those 4 cars clearing a path. Ya’ll take care and remember us all in your prayers.