True Accounts of Experiences with the United States Marine Corps.
|The Wake Up Call
This will be part one of a series. I hope you enjoy this and I look forward to sharing more. This is an account of actual events. The names have been changed.
The air was so hot I thought that I would burst into flames at any moment. The 150 plus pounds of gear and weapons I carried was almost non-existent against the adrenaline running through my veins. The sunlight was blinding but my focus was true. One objective, complete the mission.
My name is Dakota Brothers, well not really, I'll just use that name to protect myself against any repercussions of revealing the true existence of this mission. I was a part of the United States Marine Corps Special Operations Group Joint Task Force in Southern Iraq. According to my Government I'm not in Southern Iraq and no other American forces are here either. The "Joint Task Force" is made up of Special Ops Marines and British Desert Rats joining forces in a Joint operation to gather intel on Ground Forces in Kuwait City. Our mission is to seek out Iraqi forces, both Republican Guards (Saddam's elite) and Iraqi regulars.
We had dropped in under cover of night and had moved slowly throughout the night making our way toward Kuwait City. Now at mid-morning the temperature was about 110 degrees with a hot wind blowing from the south. Each gust of the wind forced the gritty sand into every crevice, including any exposed flesh. As we moved forward across the open landscape the reality of where I was hadn't really kicked in. I am a Devil Dog and nothing scares me, or so I thought.
The landscape didn't lend much cover, so movement in daylight hours was very dangerous,. Any scout would be able to see us as quickly as we could see them. Captain Able, as I will call him for this story, made the decision that we would Dig in and wait for night fall before pushing on. We made our hasty positions by digging out about a 12 inch hole and using the sand to build a small burm in the direction of the enemy. with all of us facing in a different way we are able to watch all areas and be ready no matter what. Now the waiting. This was the worst part. Waiting entails watching and watching in 120 degree heat can lead to illusion. every mirage looked like enemy troops closing on our position. I was on pins and needles by the time the sun began to fall and night was upon us.
We began to move in the darkness with only a compass to guide us, the new moon in it's darkness offered no relief from the pressing black of night. We pushed forward ever mindful that each step took us closer to the unknown. After two hours in the darkness we heard the sound of a vehicle in the distance. Under orders we flattened ourselves against the grit of the earth waiting to see what was in store. When the sound was obviously moving toward us we began to prepare for the worst and Dug in, ready to take on the demons that rested in our enemy.
10 minutes passed and the vehicle came in to view. It was an Iraqi Military truck that looked as though it would carry troops. No, Wait, there's two.....no three.....wait a minute....That's a convoy and man are they hauling ass. The earth around us trembled from the Vehicles coming our way. Armored Personnel Carriers and Trucks. They were headed straight for us. Had we been compromised, had an unseen scout alerted them to our presence? What chance do we stand against a hundred or more Trucks and APC's? 12 Men against Armored Vehicles and Well armed troops? This had to be the end.
That's when the Die Hard Devil Dog in each of us kicked in, We would make our stand here. Come what may we would radio our position and situation to Command. There was little chance of Air Support and no hope of Ground Reinforcements but this was our mission and we would complete it.
Seconds turned into minutes that seemed like hours. My heart felt as if it would explode, but my mind was focused and every detail of my surroundings was clear and bright despite the moonless night. I could feel the air on my skin and see the night for the Blue that really existed. I could make out the details and cornucopia of color in each and every grain of sand as I lay upon what I knew was going to be my death bed. The air was electric and my mind was keen to every sound and movement.
I could hear the breath of the man next to me as if it were my own. He was Corporal Dominguez, His Mother and Father had defected from Cuba and he had been born on American soil in Florida. He joined the Marines to, as he put it, earn his families privilege of living in the U.S.. Cpl Dominguez was on my left and to my right I had the honor of serving with LCpl Johnny Draper. Draper was a surfing beach bum from Southern California who joined the Marines to get away from his Father. He wouldn't talk much about it but I always go the impression that his home life wasn't that great. Now here we all were. A new family, Brother's in Arms. Ready to die for one another without a second thought.
The way the convoy was moving it appeared it would pass within a few feet of us. How could they not see us? What would they do? No time to think about it, here they are. They're right on top of us. I can actually smell the heated rubber of the tires. And there they go right by us, one by one. It's as if they don't care. 1 minute.....3 minutes.......5 minutes...and they're not stopping. They are moving on across the desert to the North.
What just happened? We relayed the information back to Command and asked for orders. Captain Able has coordinates for a pick up, and we are headed back North. 2 hours later we were being picked up and headed back the bivouac area inside northern Saudi Arabia.
It took several hours for the reality of the incident to really set in. I found out that what we had witnessed was the Republican Guard pulling out of Kuwait City and heading back to Baghdad to protect Saddam against the impending attack of American and Coalition Forces.
That was my wake up call. I felt more alive in that few minutes of my life than at any other point and I realized that Life was too short for me to waste any more of it. I decided that day that I would live everyday as if it were my last. I had lived to that point asleep with my eyes wide open and I wouldn't let that be true any longer.
Don't wait on an experience like mine to wake up and live. Take charge of your life today and live like there's no tomorrow.