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Christmas Memory

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     Hello all.  Sorry that I haven't been on much lately.  Life at home and work has been quite a trip lately.  I was listening to the radio on my way to work the other day.  They were asking people to send in Christmas Memories.  It made me think of Christmas past.  I want to share with you all one that stands out most in my mind.

  The Christmas Memory that stands out most in my mind is Christmas of 2003.  I was  a platoon leader in Iraq.  It also was the first Christmas of Operation Iraqi Freedom.  We received intell reports that all of the base camps in Baghdad would be attacked at sunrise Christmas day.  We had orders to wake up at 4am and get ready.  I walked through my platoon and wished everyone a merry Christmas.  I also gave them all stockings that a friend had sent.  Everyone placed their gift on their bunks and pulled on their body armor.  After making my final preparations, I ensured that everyone of my Soldiers had enough ammo and medical supplies.  Then we waited.    As we sat in wait, we all  listened to the stillness of the morning.  No one was speaking.  No one was moving.  I know that people were saying prayers, I was one of those people.  I looked around and could see the sky growing slightly brighter.  Finally I could see the horizon become a soft orange.  Then I heard the first shots of that day.  After being there since the invasion, I could tell the difference between the sounds of an M16 and an AK47.  Those were shots from an AK47 for sure.  I heard return fire from M16s.  Then I heard a few  explosions..  All of these sounds were off in the distance to my left and right.  The enemy combatants did not attack along the area I was set to defend.  Just as suddenly as it began, it ended.  Time slowed down during the attacks.  I was sure that it had lasted for a few hours.  I looked at my watch and saw that it just lasted a half hour.  I was thankful that none of my Soldiers were hurt, but I was concerned for the men and women down the line.  The company commander called all of us platoon leaders to come back to the company headquarters.  He told us that we were relieved of guarding the positions.  He also told us that no Americans were killed during the morning's attacks.  One guy was injured when he fell out of a guard tower.  He saw an insurgent fire a rocket propelled grenade at his position.  The fastest way down was to jump.     I went back to my Soldiers and gave them the news.  We all came back to our building and stored our body armor.  We ate breakfast as a group and then prepared for that day's missions.  It doesn't matter what day it is during a deployment.  You still have work to do. The enemy never considers what kind of day your are having.   
joe_chemo2005 Uploaded 12/14/2009
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Tags: christmas iraq

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