Wednesday, October 11, 2006

An Exciting Night . . . (With Update)

. . . and not in a good way.

At around 2305 last night, I was in my bathroom, brushing my teeth, when I heard a crashing sound through the wall to my room. At first I was afraid something had fallen and awakened my roommate, who goes to be at 2130 everynight (but that's another story unto itself). I quietly stuck my head in the room, but didn't see anything on the floor, so I assumed either an incoming rocket or mortar had landed somewhere in the distance, or I was just being paranoid.

About five minutes later I was back in bed reading when the percussion of a blast shook the trailer and made my heart skip a beat. This was followed by about six more rounds over the next ten minutes, three of which were close impacts, the other three were distant, low thuds. I wanted to go outside and discover just how close the rounds were impacting, but the duck and cover alarm had sounded after the third round. Even though the plastic trailer offers little protection from rocket fire (see the pictures of what a round did to my colleague's trailer back in April), I didn't want to have a round hit me while stumbling in the dark in my boxers and dog tags.

Two more rounds landed at 2333. The percussion of the first round startled my roommate awake, crying "S**t, that was close." The other landed somewhere off in the distance.

We have received about 100 rounds of incoming fire in the IZ since I arrived in March, but usually they arrive as isolated pot shots (the bad guys have no fire direction capabilities, so where the rounds actually impact is almost completely arbitrary) or sometimes in groups of two or three rounds fired off before our air cover can find and annihilate the bad guys. But this was the first sustained barrage we've undergone.

Keep in mind that the guys out in Ramadi, and some posts in Basrah, probably undergo this every day. I just hope that there were no casualties stemming from all the incoming fire.

UPDATE: Apparently, at 2303 four rounds of indirect fire impacted in FOB (Forward Operating Base) Falcon, which is located to the South of the IZ. They hit an ammo dump, and the fire this created subsequently caused rounds to "cook off" and inadvertently launch friendly indirect fire at the IZ. This explains the initial round I heard in the distance, and all the subsequent rounds that landed closer. (Although to be honest, I'm not sure how ammunition stored on a pallet could reach us from FOB Falcon rather than exploding in place). Fortunately, no casualties were reported.