Saturday, January 3, 2009

Niko's Fallujah

Niko’s memories from Fallujah:

We were in Fallujah that time. I think we’d been there about a week. The stupid supply train idiots couldn’t get us any water for some reason, so they got us sodas and some orange drink crap with chunks in it. We couldn’t even get ammo. We had to go to another battalion to get it. From another DIVISION. I hated those stupid supply weeners. It was at least 110 degrees every day. We were miserable.

One of our platoons goes out on patrol and gets absolutely annihilated. They walked into a perfect L-shaped ambush complete with bunkers and ended up with something like seven wounded, but amazingly, no dead. They called us up to go help them, which was a welcome relief from the stupid crap they had me doing. Fallujah was behind me. That’s where all the action was, but they had me watching the freakin’ Euphrates river. I was sitting there watching the river flow by and reading magazines through night vision goggles as the sun set.

So they called us up to go help them evacuate their wounded. I was in the turret on the 240 (medium machine gun). We grabbed their worst wounded and transported him back to the base – under sporadic fire the whole time. I lit up the whole cityscape from about 700 meters away as we egressed. I thought it was the right thing to do. Provide suppressive fire towards the source as we evaced the wounded guy. But of course, I got yelled at for it. Of course.

After we dropped him off we picked up a whole platoon of elevens (infantry foot troops) and headed back out to the scene to drop them off. They told everybody to get out and I figured we were going to go back to base.

“Movement to contact,” somebody hollered.

What the hell does that mean? I’d never heard it before, so I asked one of the elevens.

“It means we walk until we get shot at.”

Are you kidding?? I’d just given away my last canteen of water and crappy Gatorade mix. I’m already thirsty.

So we have to support this thing. I take the 240, load myself down with ammo, and we start walking.

We started getting sporadic shots and we didn’t do much, but then it got closer and we started seeing tracers, so everybody starts running for cover and taking positions behind shit that might stop bullets. My squad leader tells me and my team leader to get behind that berm over there. I was like, WHERE? I don’t SEE any berm (dirt mound).

The stupid thing was like 300 meters away, with no cover between me or it. We (me and my team leader) start trucking across the dirt and of course, the shots start focusing in on our dumb asses as we sprint for this stupid field.

We keep running as all the fire focuses in on us. I’m tired, thirsty, already dehydrated as hell and hot. My stupid pistol belt starts slowly riding down my waist, so I slow down. I didn’t want to drop my freakin’ pistol in the middle of the field. My team leader keeps yelling at me to speed up, but I tell him, screw you. I’m hot, tired, and my pants are falling down. I want to go home. Shut up you asshole.

These bullets were getting closer, and I can even feel the heat from some of the tracers pushing past my face. The team leader is still screaming at me to hurry up, but my pants are about to fall off so I just stop, throw down my gun, cinch my gun belt as tight as it would go, and then pick up my machine gun and keep running. Bullets are still landing all around me. This was like Medal of Honor shit, so I didn’t even care. I was thirsty. Screw it. I don’t care if I die. This is stupid. If you want to live, run past me. I don’t care.

So he’s still screaming at me to hurry up, but I told him to shut up. We’re NOT going to die. Shut up. I just shuffled the last hundred meters to the “berm,” which was actually just a stupid pile of goat feed up against a house – we couldn’t see clearly because it was dark and too far away.

We ended up getting in a firefight for like an hour, running from the rear of the line all the way to the front and taking position behind freakin’ goat feed. I found out later that one bullet had gone through my pants leg and somehow not hit me. There were a LOT of bullets landing around us. I know I took out at least one sniper, but most everything else was suppressive fire. After we slugged it out with the city of Fallujah for an hour or so, we got ready to leave and I managed to fuse my hand to the gun barrel when I accidentally touched it. The burn was bad. Turns out we held everything off while the entire company retreated. And then they left us. We had to run about 500 meters to get back to their positions. Idiots.

People told me later that they saw us sprinting at first, then just shuffling, then just two dumbasses strolling to their position. They don’t have any idea how we lived. Frankly, neither do I.

The funny thing is that the berm we were supposed to actually man was about ten feet from where were originally stood. We ran all that away for nothing. It was stupid.

Combat usually is. Good times. Where’s my stupid medal? No really…

Copyright © 2009, Ben Shaw
All Rights Reserved


  1. I can smell the cordite and taste the sweat.

  2. Fascinating to see you write from the perspective of another person. Quite a success: that wasn't Ben, that was Nico.

    Auntie C

  3. I was reading this like I was really there.
    Wow. Ben, you are lucky to be alive.

  4. More writing like this and you're on your way to sweet success... These are the stories you know best that affect your life, mind and soul. They are entertaining to us, but harsh reality to you. The sights, the sounds, the smells they will never leave you, they will haunt you forever, but sharing them on paper is so hugely important and hopefully as gratifying for you to share as they are for us to read. Thank you for some military perspective to set us straight. Thank you for protecting our freedom, and our cozy American lifestyles. Keep up the GREAT work.