What’s It Like A day in the life of a ‘Clinton’ soldier

Dedicated to my sons, who somehow believe I am a hero, and in memory of my brother Kieth, who lived adventure through mine, my brother Ronnie, who inspired my enlistment and to James Hamilton, who got me into all this. Originally, I had planned to title this ‘Another Blackhawk’ down, but as the story will reveal as it unfolds, this other Blackhawk was shot down eight days prior to Task force 160’s Blackhawks. In this perspective is the day-to-day account of individual actions experienced by a soldier influenced by the narrow view allowed by his lowly stature that also inspired another not chosen title, ‘A View from the Bottom’. In this aspect, I chose to allow many of the day-to-day occurrences reported in my journal remain in their raw form, although allowing better grammar and some slight introspection, as they unfolded within the story. Any addition in hindsight is limited and used merely to modify or clarify the detail, as in the battle sequences. The journal its self is raw in its mere candidness, remaining the spirit, the reflection of each moment passed. I had no intention, even in quantity, not to mention qualitative intent, and there fore wrote from down in the dirt we lived in. Would I ever trade anything for the experience, well, I think this journal reflects that. I guess we are all our experiences in the rich sense.

Mogadishu, Somalia

1

August 1, 1993 Arrived at the Mogadishu airport, unloaded the C-5 galaxy transport and crossed the tarmac to some buildings near the perimeter, where several Pakistani tanks negotiated a narrow trail, nearby the buildings on the far west side of the Tarmac. One almost running me down (but not quite) as they negotiated a narrow string lined lane. We married up to trucks from the 1/22 to carry us the five miles up Market Street to the university compound, not close to the scenario we trained for that included a road march along the same path. The 1/22nd is the 1st Battalion of the 22nd Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade, 10th Mountain Division, our sister Battalion; we’re their relief. They’re going home soon. Passing out gates of barbwire, towers occupied by some foreign nationals into the mess of gate gathers and throngs of Somali going who knows where. Passing through the city with its musky aromas of the smells of close human habitat, little bathing, bad sanitary standards, and little if any sewage removal, all wafting in the smells of sweat, urine, charcoal, and vehicular exhaust. All sorts of vehicular traffic ranging from donkey cart to over-laden busses, and taxis with no windshields, or oversized windshields strapped onto front of vehicle. The arrival at the front gates to the University was to the opening of high-wide gates with towers on either side, enmeshed in a line of steel conex-shipping boxes. The rest of the university perimeter consists of triple strand concertina interspaced with rooftop bunkers manned by Tunisian guards. The University itself is a stepped elevation of semi circular laid out series of classrooms and laboratories. Each series flanked by a street on the high side, and a sloped courtyard, or steps to the street below. I used the day to get the lay of the camp, to unpack, and talk to the 1/22nd people of what to expect. I went to the PX to check it out. I linked up with a corporal from 1/22; I was to augment his team to gain experience in our mission of cordon and search procedures. We were to accompany this unit in a cordon and search mission into the city. My mentor was to be a corporal Feebe, a resident from upper-state New York, whose father owned a sporting-goods/gun-shop. (I later heard from one of Corporal Feebes’ soldiers while at Sniper School that he had reenlisted. It does a man honor to be remembered.1999) I couldn’t sleep very well last night. 2 August We were up at 0215 to shower, prepared to go out with 1/22nd – 1st squad, 1st platoon on cordon and search, and moved out around 0400 to 0500 into an adjacent neighborhood next to the U.S. Embassy, through a hole in the two-foot thick embassy walls, into the heart of Mogadishu. We started right into checking buildings and the 1st one was a building we cut the lock on, due to the unavailability of a timely opening by anyone who might have possessed a key. This was a sewing shop and here we found an old British Sten-Gun, and a large spider. From there we moved down on a phase-line movement, moving from block to block. I could see several sniper teams in support on the roofs, moving to keep pace with us on over-watch. We moved residents out of their homes, while searching for weapons and ammunition. Some homes were well maintained, but most were a dump. Some residents were reluctant to do as they were told, but others understood and made our lives a little easier although these residents didn’t seem to belong in the homes; it seems that only a couple of rooms were occupied, and all the possessions were moved or shoved more or less out of the way, as if these residents were squatters. Spiders and bugs, locked dressers belonging to long-gone patrons; transients, squatters or who-ever not even caring what 2

was in them. They just filled a vacancy. We found 36 weapons for the day, and lots of ammunition, also some serious hatchets and knives. Most remarkable was an explicate example of a tribes-man’s bow and arrows, and a MA-Deuce, an M-2 heavy machine-gun that some old fellow was carting off in one of the Somali’s unique wheelbarrows. This one had been buried and was inoperable, and I cannot say whether he was carting it off for scrap, or was truly trying to escape with it. All in all, my initial cultural exposure to the Somali involved their rest-room, nasty stand-over holes with two impressions of feet on either side of the hole, no baths, some bad attitudes, friendly children, interested young ladies, a long sweltering walk back to our camp with crowds closely packing both sides of the road watching the warriors return to their lair; but most notably, I searched inside a home with several cots, one with a young man obviously quite ill and in a burlap-bag sewn most of the way up to his chest. It seems that after describing this to Feebe, he informed me that this was a burial shroud or coffin, and that the man was presumably dying. It seems the final effect was to sew the bag over his head when he died and thus bury him. The man looked me in the eyes, and as I looked under the beds, I will remember that the only affect of posttraumatic stress syndrome in the form of nightmares was looking under the bed and two arms and a Somali face looking and reaching out, choking me, oh, besides the skull boiling in the pot on a Somali cooking fire. Although I was prone to violent, nocturnal outbursts involving swinging wildly and jumping straight out of bed in a defensive posture, standing before I was awake, this was to be my only nightmare. I apologize for this, and to who was in bed with me and become struck by me. 3 August We planned to do PT in the morning but didn’t, and at 1300 we were prepared to move out to the airfield to meet the main body of the battalion, where we should be at the airfield by 1400 and the battalion should be landing by 1530. Then we convoy back to our oasis of barbed wire & barricade. We’ve imprisoned ourselves in our little camp with Tunisian guards. It seems the Tunisians guards have itchy fingers. They shoot on suspicion and fire flares all night I hear, although they haven’t fired as of yet. Today wasn’t too fun, none of the above has happened and it’s almost 1800, 1100 Tuesday for all you folks back in the world. Waited most of the morning outside this building for Charley Company, 1/22nd to move out to the building we just vacated so we could move into theirs. We then unloaded cots and waited to find out about battalion’s hold over in Cairo West. They won’t be here until tomorrow. I rummaged through all the goodies 1/22nd is leaving behind and found some major scores. A map of Mogadishu by all means, an Italian one, quite large and acetated, too. Moved Gimber, my roomy, and myself into this little room, then went onto the roof and took pictures of the area all around. Tried some through my riflescope, hope they turn out, and now I’m just waiting for nothing, Goodnight. It’s raining now, 2010 pm. Had incoming mortars somewhere, not in our compound, and that set off one of our mortars to firing flares and then a short burst from a Tunisian machine-Gun. All is quiet now. 4 August I slept through mortar harassment and some incoming automatic fire. I only heard about it this morning. I guess all four sites, Hunter, The University of Mogadishu (here), the airport, and Sword base were all hit this morning between 0400 and 0430, which triggered the Tunisians here to cap off all around our parameter. Did PT this morning , a 2 ½ mile run around our perimeter road, remarkable about this place is an expectation of impending attack while at the same time no consideration of danger exists close to the 3

wire. Could this be due to neighborhoods near to our western wire are considered belonging to a friendly clan, or does the threat of absolute full fire response to such an attack by the Tunisian guards recommend against it. We will later joke that if the Tunisian guards come back from guard duty with ammunition, they will be executed. Consider the thought of watching tracers from inter locking machine guns firing up a neighborhood in a largely populated city, and that’s the image I am calling ‘a deterrent to attack’ as we run our PT. After PT I went to breakfast, didn’t eat much, not very palatable, good fruit, though. I soon lie down on my cot to read, watched news at the company area, then found Sergeant Tewes and asked if I was going with him to the airfield. He was skeptical because of our ammo deficiency; we each had thirty rounds, one magazine apiece. I decided to go seek ammo from my buddies in 1/22, where I found SSG Tewes who also had the same idea. Their XO gave in and gave us their cache of tracers, 70 each so now I had two and a half additional magazines of tracers that I would hang onto throughout the tour. We were now ready to go, so we went- around 1000 or 1100 hundred hours, convoyed to the airport back down a city street packed full of Somalian-civilians Donkey carts, Somali wheelbarrows and every description of beat up motorized conveyance. This route we took south of the University compound was about four blocks over to Market Street, and turn south/east. This route would later be closed due to the near misses of roadside or buried bombs, and the eventual direct hit under an MP hummer. There we sat around waiting for the Command group to finish their aerial recon of the city, After them we had our turn, flew around Mogadishu in a Blackhawk, the first of many such trips in the next thirty days to come. I took some pictures of this flight. After landing we loaded humvees and returned to the University compound. The turn around time we found was twenty minutes to go right back to the airport and Pick-up the battalion arriving at 1500. We made it, they made it, we married them up to trucks, and I was put on rucksack recovery by SSG Tewes due to my knowing everyone in the squad. After assembling and loading baggage, the Battalion convoyed back up Market Street, all weapons pointing out into the city streets. Immediately after dismounting, all incoming troops must pass by the live-fire barrels to empty magazines, pull charging handle to the rear, thereby clearing the chamber, and finally, point muzzle at barrel, place on fire and pull the trigger. We assemble and move to our perspective Platoon areas. My roomy, Gimber is with me now, in a small room off the main entry, a little crowded but out of the isles and halls. I went and ate dinner, then came back here to my room and then Hilliard came by, I offered to take him on a tour of our new Digs. We took the first tour of many that would include the HQ doughnut, the radio-station, motor pool, Air Force PX, the post office, the Swedish Hospital PX, The recreation hall, the Embassy and foreign national’s tent city. Now I’m back, to what is to be my first of many ‘nests’, I’ll call them. Your cozy little niche that becomes your refuge to maybe kill a quarter of your overall time here unconscious, and enjoying your own little world of the imagined during REM. Playing cards with Ray, Allen and Gimber; Ray and I stomped them, although in the middle of the game the lights went out on orders of an alert. Then it began, taking five incoming mortars, each closer than the first, a sixth landing later. Our company suddenly upped the anal but routine reaction to a first mortar attack, by ordering all our web gear, helmet, and rifle to move with us at all times. Which probably isn’t a bad idea when faced with not knowing, but directly contributed to the up-coming duration of sandbagging, bunker building, and general fortifications expected of a Rifle Battalion in a suddenly and expectedly dangerous environment. We fortified, and this lead to what I termed Fort Apache, which after later coming back to the Company, was affectionately still so named. 4

We had to carry our gear everywhere now, even to piss. I held it, that order was soon rescinded as I donned my gear to take a shower. I took a shower with only my rifle, and am just back to hear the good news I don’t have KP in the morning, or all day tomorrow. Thank you Lord! There will be a lot of stupidity before we get used to this place. I spent the evening filling the guys in on my five days here. Going to read for the rest of the evening, good night, it’s now 1000 Hours. 5 August. Good afternoon, it has been a lazy day begun only with breakfast, no bullshit drills. We began playing spades, Allen, Gimber, Ray and I, until some other hypertensious card players acted childish and hotheaded, brought on the wrath of NCO and spoiled it for all of us. We had to quit and clean weapons for several hours. Around 1130, Allen and I broke away to visit the PX, where I left Allen in line so I could run back to get my ID. Inside I bought a Maglight, two boxes of Pop-tarts (Blueberry), microwave oven popcorn, four boxes of cigars, and a twelve pack of Coke-Classic. I also picked up a case of coke for sergeant Richards. Coke costs $1.25 a six-pack. I battle sighted my Rifle scope today at 100 meters, during a rest-room break this morning, at around card playing time, and taking another simple distraction from what was becoming the same, same ole. Also took out a $50.00 casual pay, twenty for the game Axis and Allies from an NCO in 1/22. I’ve gotten quite a lot of stuff from being one of the first here and them jettisoning all unneeded gear and equipment. Comfort stuff, derived needs, as my one-quart electric water boiler, and the full size map that gave me the ability to keep track of where I am. The guys in 1/22 are a friendly lot, probably due to their going home soon. Finished my book, took an hour nap in between. I will probably start another book this week although I’m still undecided. I ran into Sgt Hollis, a sniper school buddy from Alpha Company a while ago. He says they still don’t have a sniper program over there either. Out for now at1415 hours; PS the mortar attack wounded a lieutenant in the 1/22, he may have run out-side to see the show. The last round landed in the street behind here. 1830 hrs, finished chow, had potatoes (always) chili and ever-present mixed-veggies. Now I just have to wait for the mortar attack to come and go. They usually hit us around 2000 every night. I could set my watch by it. Going to spend the remainder of tonight starting a new book, and later tonight I’ll do the three S’s. The word is to change back to weapon and gear, stays with you after 1830, so I blew off the three S’s, lay on my cot and slept from 1830 to 0500. 6 August. Got up and went to shower but shower didn’t open for ten more minutes, so ha, ha, went back to barracks, got the word of the morning-chocolate –chips today. I had lost my hat soon after arriving, maybe on the plane, so I found someone with two chocolatechip hats and borrowed one. Took a cold shower at the other shower point and arrived back in time to go to chow with second squad. Raymond Schneider, my fellow scout who was replaced from the scout platoon, at the same time I was, is with me in second squad of my platoon. We are both sniper qualified, but anyway, chow was interesting, eggs were good, now they’re fresh, jelly for the pancakes, and greatest bacon in this side of the world. I also snagged some instant oatmeal to take on cordon and search missions. We came back to the barracks and attended a briefing by on e of our US citizen Somalian interpreters. Not much learned that I didn’t already know. I am starting to try to learn some of the lingo, seems like a cross between Italian and Viet Namese, strange! Took my language card up to S-2 and made copies for the squad. Cleaned the acquired water heater and am now brewing coffee, sitting in my room on my cot, and wiped off my weapon, doing some quite quality listening time to Guns N Roses. I later went to the Swedish PX, 5

bought a Hard Rock Café Mogadishu T-shirt, and just checked it out. Not much for sell there and prices are high, although the t-shirts are rather cheap at $7.00. Had to get back by 1500 to do afternoon PT, where we ran a short mile or so around tour perimeter, I led, all over the place I might add. I always have to watch my pace or lose the slower elements of the squad. We ended Pt with 75 push-ups, sit-ups, and some crunches; oh yeah and a few of some of my trademark flutter kicks. Afterwards I broke contact, returned to the Swedish PX, and put some film in for development. It takes a week to develop film. I’ve all the comforts of home, not, but some. Haven’t done much more, ate chow; ribs, potatoes, peas, wheat-rolls, chocolate cake with nuts, Shasta cola, and apple juice; appetizers of an apple and orange before going to chow. Nevertheless, most importantly, I had my coffee this morning. I’ve got pallet guard from 1900 t0 2100 this evening. I have started a new book about Montagnards in Viet Nam, a Non-fiction this time. I’m getting up to go for a walk-about right now, maybe the night has more to tell. Read my book some more after returning then listened to tapes, and around 2045 we drew two magazines of 5.56 and 4 HE M203 Rounds and two Illumination rounds. Supposedly going to be attacked, never happened. Went to our future company area to ‘guard’ our ammo and supply room from 1/22. Watched “Silence of the Lambs” while I guarded. The majority of any watch includes a radio, and this guard duty was no exception. Real hard life, 1/22 still laugh at us, the battalions over reaction to what they view as routine, but maybe it was this attitude and general presence of mind and our training that would later illuminate our accomplishments on the field of battle. But in the immediate presence of those who had just completed six months here, the present was spent in some self acknowledged silliness. Later, after Ray’s and my transfer to the scouts, and our battalions subsequent combat missions coupled with the boring rotations to MSR Route guard and training trips down the coast of the Indian ocean, we wouldn’t have time to consider silliness, and the business of secure-warrior, nestled behind our barricade and wire would later lead to levels of security mixed with periods of vigilances, and even to the fortification of our buildings following the regular seaming mortar attacks.-until then- I would laugh too, if I wasn’t the end product of HQ stupidity, maybe it’ll all change, we have a mission coming up on the 10th. I can’t wait! Came back from guard and read my book, then crashed hard. 7 August. A 0530 wake-up with PT at 0600, where we ran for 30 minutes and did very few push-ups. SSG Tewes isn’t a big push-up gay like SSG Ferebee was. Went afterward and took a cold shower, then came back and hooked up with Ray and Gomero, the exPeruvian Army type. Real cool guy. I didn’t eat much, some fruit-loops, sausage-eggs, then Ray and I went and took a Luxurious dump, then headed to the post office to check on a zip code Ray didn’t have. Then come back here to our company area, turned in our ammo, all except the one magazine we always kept bungeed to our butt-stocks, read my book and listened to tapes. Busy day, huh? I went for a walk over to the Somali craftvenders o check out their canes. Took some film over to the Swedes to develop, and ended up over by 1/22, where SGT Gramm our Supply Sergeant, who is an African American, and his detail; were counting C Company’s ammo sat there for a while watching them work, How I love to watch other people work. Made it back over here to my room, where I read my book until a quarter till 1100, then had to head back over to 1/22 to guard our supply room. I watched the movie Bodyguard while on guard, while eating microwave popcorn. Afterwards, I headed back to my cot, started to read, boredom drove me to the PX where I bought some Poptarts, popcorn, and sandwich spread. Then headed back here, and orange juice, too which I 6

used to wash down a poptart, while I read and listened to music. Then, while reclining on my cot I became sleepy and took a nap. I was awakened around 1245 to do Pt. which I joined with a dehydration headache. I chugged a quart of water and headed out to run. We didn’t run far, but came back here on our way to lift weights. Worked out until 1445, and then signed up to use the phone. By this time my head hurts, and I spend the rest of the evening trying to get rid of my headache. While lying down, someone came and told me the Platoon SGT, SFC Boryon, wanted to see me. I went to see Sgt Meyer or anyone else, they didn’t know anything, so I came back and crashed till my guard duty at 2415. I still felt sick, but now at 0545, I’m feeling better. Must have been the assortment of drugs I took during guard. 8 August. Awoke before first call and then fell out for formation, Pt that is. Everyone but Allen, McClain and I played volleyball; we went for a run, not far, a mile or so. Headed for the shower, and then linked up with Ray to head over to eat, corn-pops and raisinbran. Headed over to scouts, and linked up with SGT Meyer and a Humvee. I’m now transferred to the Scouts barracks, we have a secret mission, so they pulled Ray, Schoemacher, Sicilian and I back to the scouts to augment them due to Jenkins and Balog being in Ranger school, and the scouts being body and sniper deficient. A real wait and see situation for me. Captain Roberts is now the Scout Platoon leader, and SFC Daghita is the new Platoon Sergeant. Sergeant Meyer is again to be my Squad leader, although my first sniper mission is as SGT Henry’s spotter. Sounds ominous, huh? Well, out for now. I moved into Scouts barracks room, tight in here. I have a lot of shit! This morning a command-detonated mine was set off under an MP Humvee, killing all five Military Policemen aboard. One was on his last missions in country; this MP section was from ‘Fort Lost in the Woods’, Fort Leonard Wood- Missouri the MP basic training post. This happened in route from the airport to here, 600 meters from a Pakistan outpost on Market Street. Bravo Company went as Quick reaction force (QRF), with my C co. Platoon riding air-guard. Bravo took some sniper fire, but didn’t kill any of the attackers. Played spades (lost) and went to the PX for supplies (twice). We’re (Scouts) leaving here (university compound) to go into isolation at another camp for an upcoming mission that’s supposed to be high speed. Unpacked and repacked my ruck and A-bag-got a shit load of stuff. Ray, Sicilian, and Schoe are back with me now, although my flag is at halfmask. I took Allen some money so he could pick-up my film from the Swede PX next Saturday. When I returned, the scouts were all outside, playing horseshoes and baseball throwing. I came out, sat, and watched. Our Platoon SGT, SFC Daghita, came out and called us all together. He said the mission is on hold, seems the U.S. command plans to hit general Aideed’s forces tonight in retaliation for today. However, we may be leaving tomorrow. We played volleyball, tall against the shorts, more short people in scouts now to balance the height. It wasn’t so in my days in the scouts, we shorts won 21 to 19-ha! Back in our new barracks, trying to find my shower shoes, some guys are playing spades and some are showering. I am getting into PT’s and heading up to Charlie to find my shower shoes. I didn’t fid them there, but on the way back remembered I had rolled them up into my pussy-pad. I came back and retrieved them and realized I had forgotten my towel, came back and now realize I had also forgotten my shower bag! I showered way across the compound where I was comfortable, a great shower(must have been warm), them I came back and Ray, Dave Schoemacher, Riggle and Watson were all in the leaning-rest, well fuck me, now I am, then neck extensions, and flutter kicks, we had left 7

the room unsecured-supposedly-so the punishment/memory enhancement therapy finished, we gained entry to our room, and began winding down-Boom-BooomBBooommm, bbbooommm, BOOM- Mortar attack, out go the lights, where’s my Kevlar, my flack jacket?-everyone scrambling in this overcrowded room-dark-I’m laughing as the rounds get closer and louder-BOOM-was real close. Now there’s just sporadic machine-gun fire on the perimeter. We’re sitting here in the dark, out of our gear, speculating. I’m going to end entry for this day, unless something else happens-more .50 caliberfire-2215 hrs, told to get dressed, Sammy is probing the wire, he may try to invest the perimeter, go for the PX-got to stop him-we’re dressed and ready. Bravo is outside the perimeter. The mortar Platoon saw tracers 500 meters out, Sammy shooting at helicopters. Helos flying all over, supposed to retaliate against aided to night-the 325 EOD is headed to blow-up three dud mortar rounds that impacted our perimeter tonight. We’ve set up guard rotation, two each for one-hour shifts, Riggle and I pull the 0400 to 0500 shift. Riggle is a private that filled ranks after the battalion lost Soldiers to ETS; he was my sniper partner in Sniper School. I carried him, I’m an expert spotter. He sucked at spotting. 9 August. I didn’t sleep very well last night, between the excitement and the dreams. My best sleep came an hour before guard, but guard went quickly. Lay down for forty-five minutes until first-call, but didn’t sleep. Now I’m up and shaved, volunteered to guard weapons while everyone is doing PT. eating pop-tarts and slowly awakening. Followed the push-up exercises outside the window, now they’re doing partner-resistive pressessuckers-Pt is over, I’m back in my room sitting on my cot. Dressed, now, stressing, I couldn’t find my hat. I couldn’t find my Kevlar yesterday! My hat I found hanging on my Mosquito-net-pole-shit! I’m losing it! Almost time to eat, and the food disgusts me, worst food I’ve ever had in my seventeen years in the Army (estimation)-off to chow, stopped off at arms room so Riggle and Ray could draw some ammo for their 9mm Berettas. They are to be the designated snipers for our upcoming mission. Then on to chow, pancakes, corn-beefhash, scrambled eggs, orange juice and chocolate milk. Now we’re back in our room where we played some spades and lost-that’s how it goes, sometimes. I didn’t do much of anything today, went to the Embassy PX, there is no U.S. Contingent there permanent, that is, and it doesn’t open until 1730, so we headed on back. Arriving back, we lost at spades again, no, that was Ray and Dave; I repacked my footlocker and a-bag, what a colossal achievement. When you try to provide everything you think you may need for six months, you end up with bulk. I have that and then some, including my sixty bucks or so PX chow to hold me over through nasty chow durations. We played volleyball again, in PT uniform shorts; we lost the first two won the last one. I then tried horseshoes with Squirrel, when we couldn’t score one point, we gave up. Then we sat around watching the others play football in the too narrow street. Testosterone period over, now I’m fed, and fed up with this slop. After hearing someone say the pork-chops were all right, and I ended up with shredded dog barf, was nasty. Picked up my new game after chow, Axis and Allies, and dropped it off with my platoon, who weren’t there. They were on an air-guard mission to the Airport, so I cached it with their gear. Went over and was finally able to check out the Embassy PX, what a joke, but I bought Fig-nutens and Poptarts. Back here getting ready for a shower now, shower opens at 2030 for males, hope I don’t get blown-up by a mortar in my birthday suit. But at least I’ll be clean. The mortars last night were picked up by satellite radar; cobra gunships were dispatched to their origin of fire, blew the hell out of the area, but killed 8

nothing. There’s a rumor of a Somali civilian arrested here, an interpreter seen talking to other Somalis out side the wire. 10 August. 0530 wake up, brushed my teeth, drank some water, am out to PT by 0600, ran sprint relays, I won-losers did push-ups, raced running backwards, I lost, Nurses yelled at us for making noise, ‘there’s a hospital here,’, so we made more noise as we left. We moved up to an adjacent street, raced a fireman’s carry, we won, raced piggyback, we lost, football shuffle, I lost. We did the partner resistive curls, other lifts, and sit-ups and crunches. Came back into barracks to drink water, went to take a shower and returned to get ready for chow (dressed) then left with Sicilian. The barracks I was in with Charlie they now call Fort Apache, they stole my idea. I came back here to get an Operations Order, and just returned from a ‘rules of engagement’ briefing, nothing new. We’re supposed to get our op order at 1300, this didn’t happen, postponed till 1530. Acetated my Mogadishu map, and prepped my LCE for tomorrow. For lunch I ate a can of cold macaroni for lunch, with pop-tarts, and a can of coke. Actually brewed a couple cups of coffee this morning. The Folgers flow-through bags are great. Spent the late morning, noon, and afternoon studying the warning order and reading my book on the British SAS. That book soon disappeared; figures. So now I’ve started a new book. Dinner after our op order, the op order went quick, not much to know. I’m used to memorizing op orders several days too a week long, with subsequent warning orders. This op order covered only hours, but was real world mission. This op order was nothing but real, a shooting war, and they want to call us humanitarians. Self-defense only, which is good, we’re all itching our trigger fingers. Chow wasn’t worth the effort; I mentioned it, that’s the only thing remarkable about it; a part of the routine, but a change in the day at least. It brings us to our friends within the battalion; sort of a social show of faces type thing. The university is laid out in semi circular lines or rows of Classrooms with a street above and below each row, so that a stepped array is achieved with the highest level being the HQ doughnut. The embassy area is sited a half mile down an access road to a flat area surrounded by thick, high walls. The most striking feature about the embassy area is the modern water tower rising high above, this with large sections of camouflage netting suspended down the sides. Kind of a ha, ha, try to in any way obscure a tower as large as this. Marine Corps type of idea. In our mission tomorrow, I will be sniper/observer for SGT. Henry. We’ are supposed to over-watch Charlie Company in their cordon and search mission, 2nd and third platoon anyway as they search the 16 odd buildings in their sector. Bravo Company will do the cordoning, while Alpha Company will have a sector a block over from Charlie, another block of compounds. Sit seems some intelligence suggests that weapons used to attack our compounds are stored in one of these compounds. There are walls around most structures or groups of structures, so I’ll call them compounds. This compound is guessed at being a staging area for sniper and mortar attacks against UN forces. Soon, we will finish our squad inspection. My LCE weighs forty pounds, 12-30 round magazines, four quarts of water, compass, VS-17 panel for signaling helicopters or marking doorways, four high-explosive M-203-40mm grenades, two colored smoke signal rounds, five parachute flairs, two tear-gas rounds, an M-17 gas mask, a flashlight, one hundred feet of 550 cord, chem.-lights, map-case, alcohol pens, bandages, cigars, a Bic lighter, some chow, and of course, my camera, a Leatherman tool and another penlight; and oh yeah, my K-bar knife, plus my flack-jacket. Everything I need, but I can’t move. Oh, yeah, a Kevlar helmet, two pairs of glasses, my watch and wrist-compass and 9

my pair of fingerless gloves. Also carry a white smoke, two pens and a note pad. Damn, can’t find my 36-exposure roll of film and camera bag. MIA, I guess, same as my hat. I’ll read a little while, and then it’s time to crash. We’ll be up at 0230. 11 August. Up and at it, brushed my teeth, loaded on all my gear, all sixty pounds or so and headed out towards the mess hall and then up towards HQ, to wait for the rest of battalion to fall into order. I was last in Scout movement; I kept pace, seventy left steps to the onehundred meters, and then adjusted to sixty-five for the second leg. The first leg was 1100 meters, My CO. from Charlie Company went two hundred meters too far, had to turn the column around. By my pace he went two hundred meters too far, my adjusted pace came out exactly, as we turned the corner to the third leg at 1000meters. The 3rd leg is twelvehundred meters, I watched it go by, counted to fifteen-hundred, and ended up on our egress road Chuchie. Our column did a bunch of zigzags to get back on course and gave up the fourth leg of 900 meters, due to the second time Capt. Whetstone got lost. Battalion CO, Colonel David was pissed off over that. We stopped in road outside of our cordon perimeter and set up security. One woman opens her door to my rifle muzzle, and then quickly shut the door. Thirty minutes later, people were responding to the psyops broadcasts over loudspeaker to come out of their homes. I smiled at the young girls and children; they stared and were just generally curious. After an hour or so, we were finally called forward to cross the breach in the wall. We crossed, entering a compound with 2nd platoon Charlie Co. searching the houses as we looked for a way over the wall to building number two. Second platoon had a detainee, who seemed to be making a lot of noise as if he was in pain, as we crossed through to the opposite wall. Building #2 was a very nice home and would be expensive in the states, with fine furnishings, too. This p[lace had no weapons, although the next compound over had a .50 caliber machine-gun, several AK_47s, RPG-7s and grenades, some Rifle grenades, two RPD Soviet medium machine-guns, an AKS, and probably more, just that came over the radio. I looked through binoculars to battle position #1 in building one, to Schneider and SGT. Meyer on building two. We were on rooftop sniper over-watch for about an hour, while the Companies searched, nothing remarkable happened; I took some rooftop photos. Temperature is rising, no breakfast, brought some nuts, tootsie-rolls, pop-tarts, and drank two quarts of water. Temperature topped out at around, 95-100 degrees Fahrenheit. We milled around this compound until the battalion was ready to move, then moved several hundred meters, chilled for about thirty minutes, and then finally formed up and headed back up the same route we came. There was a hill to climb, in the heat and humidity it seemed like more of a hill than it was, more as a gradual slope that never ended, about killed me. I poured water over my head on the last leg, a long straight rise. I was thoroughly smoked when we arrived at the front gate of the University, cleared weapons, moved out towards our barracks. I noticed on the way I had forgotten to clear my grenade launcher, now I do so hoping no one noticed. Arriving at our bunks, I removed my boots, drank a half gallon of water, a can of coke, and ate a poptart. I also took a picture of how sweat soaked and exhausted we all look, after our first mission together, although this is my second mission. I lay down and slept for about three hours, then awakened to piss. Returned to lie back down, was asleep when we were awakened by SFC Dagita to saddle up pronto, for an immediate mission, to be ready in so many minutes. We were exhausted, but ready, probably better off tired and committed. We set off, the whole scout platoon, and headed for the three main guard towers along the front gate and wall next to the main street facing the University 10

barricades. We invaded the Tunisian and Swedish towers, displacing the guards, they didn’t know what to think, a sniper and spotter in each tower, calling by phone to see what was up. Colonel David, with Specialist Davis his RTO in toll climbed into my tower. I guess he noticed my gray hair and hard-etched lines age. He asked how old I was, I told him I was twenty-nine, then he stated how old he was and in a rather matter of fact way pointed out his age at thirty-six; he was already a lieutenant colonel. I took it that at age thirty, I was no better than a specialist in my life, so in six years, I would hardly accomplish close to what he had attained in his life by the age of thirty-six. Just an age recognition thing or moment for him that was pretty self explanatory in its undertone and implication, and although I was proud of the train-up our battalion had undergone in the two years since we were first alerted for Somalia, I was still not utterly in awe or total respect for this man, albeit any man for: I was feeling, ‘Yeah, well, I’m a sniper with my finger on the trigger, and sometimes I feel God-like., and I am in this tower to possibly shoot some unsuspecting bastard, so…’Anyway they brought two PRC-77 radios with them and joked the whole time they were here. The other two squads were on the road bunkers and at the entrance waiting for aided to drive by, he was in sight by a helicopter, but after one and a half hours of waiting, they endexed the mission. Endex means ‘end of exercise’, and although I hate to refer to this as an exercise, the training boils over and feels like just more training. We egress the towers and head back to our lair to shed our heavy equipment and protective gear. That all in time to attend a dinner chili with Rice, mixed veggies, cornbread, and banana pudding, all washed down with orange juice and ginger ale. Now I am headed back over to the lair, finish undressing, read my book until 2100, and then head out to shower. Had to get out a fresh PT uniform, my smelly one is gone; don’t know who would want it… Found it, in my pillow. I use different things for pillows. A two-quart canteen is usually the most ready thing, even when we’re in the field. You have to empty the water during refilling your one-quart canteens, or the water will be hard and cold, although sometimes the cool feel is wanted. You can also empty one, blow it up, and reseal the lid-air pillow. Five-quart canteens are also good, as well as a small bag with a poncho-liner or field-jacket liner rolled up inside and it is this type of pillow I use, by pulling two field-jacket liners into one jacket liner sleeve. Anyway, I’m too ready to blame others for my losses, once bitten, twice shy. Went and took my shower, was hot for the first couple of minutes, but piss-warm soon after and felt great after a long hot day on the Somali trail. Came back and read for fifteen minutes or so, then crashed hard. 12 August Well, it has been two weeks since I left home, twelve days in country, two real world missions, and multiple Somali attacks later. Today, I sorted out what I don’t need and sent it home. Twelve to fourteen pounds of mail, cost $4.07, not too bad. We filled sandbags this morning, and filled our windows so now we’re safe, but have no view and little airflow. Right now I’m getting along with my former squad-leader, SGT Meyer (never did before), and my new one, SGT. Henry (hardly ever did), so I’ll just do my time here and get back with my true unit, Charlie Company. I just want some sniper experience, that’s all. I’ll have a hard time getting recognition from any of it, my track record for getting along with these NCOs is a handicap. I have had moments of slight praise or complement from SGT Meyer, but the undertone is evident, that I don’t represent his conception of a Ranger type or his perception that I am a badass.

11

Just back from the post office, mail should take two weeks to a month to get home, in box form, that is. Breakfast was shitty this morning; diced potatoes smothered in ‘crème-beef’, which I didn’t eat, nor the marmite eggs, I just had two bowls of raisinbran and my cold pancake, plus juice. I came back to the lair to read my new book “Guns Up”, until I was told to TC a vehicle up to commo-section, we were turning our hummers over to commo to be checked out. Came back to read again, until we got the word to pack, Scouts were moving to the Airfield, it’s about time, we’ve been in limbo. Some of us moved Scouts personal property, A-bags, rucksacks, cots and footlockers out to the newly reacquired hummers. Locked unneeded platoon gear into storage in our A-bags, accompanied first trip to Embassy helipad, and stayed with footlockers with Raymond Schneider and Ray Sicilian, standing around in t-shirts, taking pictures and smoking cigars. Put rucksacks on line, dress right dress, then got word to accompany (TC) the hummer back to main compound. We waited up by HQ for Lt Roberts to call the bird. He came back and we (Boucher and I) took the hummer back to the motor pool, and then linked up with Lt. Roberts back at our old billets. We then picked up Sgt Wilsey and another Mortar maggot (so affectionately called due to our close physical proximity to in the barracks back in the world, FT Drum, NY.) to take our hummer after taking us back to the helipad. We arrived back at the helipad to find we still had an hour and a half till pick-up. A group of us scouts moved off in search of the Embassy PX. ( I will continue to refer to my new but old group as the scouts, inclusive of myself and newly returning personnel, due to our having shared two years with this scout platoon, and the only changes (I shouldn’t say ‘only’, the changes were complex, paradigm shift, broad personnel change and shortage) were in personalities in charge. Lt Ferry had hurt himself, broke his neck during medicine ball PT during Ocean Venture. He had been assembling his packet for Delta Force, but the injury destroyed that option. He is now the S-3, CPT. Ferry, and thus my continued access to the S-3 shop. It’s good to have the back door service.) I wanted my billfold out of my foot-locker, but SSG Henry was sleeping on it and another locker, so I waited around, not caring to bother him, when at this time SFC Daghita woke him up , so I had access to my billfold, but everyone was gone and I was on my own. I headed up to the Embassy PX, it was closed. Now, I’m headed to the main compound, to the Swedish PX and fifteen minutes later I find it closed until August 16, now I’m headed around concertina wire obstacles toward our PX, so my end journey was only a half mile from the helipad, although I arrived to find an hour long line of waiters running down the street, so I go to the front of the line and ask a Sgt to buy the film I need. I wait for fifteen minutes for the film to come out, it does, and I thank the Sgt. and head back. I am back just in time to find scouts coming out of the 325 AVN messhall. I got into line and ten minutes later I join other scouts as they are finishing up. It was not a bad meal, chili over rice, corn, chocolate cake, and a can of coke. Finished, we head to helipad, and are back just in time, the pilots are talking to the LT. We are now dragging footlockers to helicopter, an UH-60 Blackhawk. I’m on the first lift; the crew chief says we’re going to tour the city, so I am ready with my camera. Got some good pictures, I think. Arrived at the airfield helipad, drag off foot lockers, carry a load to tents assigned to us, pass my platoon, 1st of C Co. who are in the tent next to our new one, small world, huh, so that tells where they were when I dropped off my game, now the why. It seems the companies have picked up a rotation system. It involves weekly rotation of phases. A QRF (Quick Reaction Force) phase, a training phase (Usually conducted down south along the coast.), and a guard/detail phase which I find Charlie presently immersed in. 12

Seems they are here to guard the towers and front gate to the airfield heliport. Now they get to return to the University since the scouts are here to assume the guard duties. I say high to my squad and squad leader who are headed out to the towers and gate. The second lift has arrived with rucksacks, and we start carrying everything, all twenty-five footlockers, nineteen rucks the one-hundred and fifty meters from the tarmac to our tent. It is now near1800, getting dark. The third lift arrives with cots, and we move into second tent with no electricity and set up our cots. By flashlight we try to ready our gear in an orderly fashion. Around 2030 we got word to go to the Ready Room for briefing, with pilots of 325 Helicopters who will support us. I talked to SSG Tewes before going to the brief, He said the airfield gets rocketed once in a while, some sniper fire, but the main threat is idiots near the beach, firing over the camp toward the city and the aviation personnel, locking and loading running everywhere, stupid idiots. The mission involves flying over-watch over the city during our of night to dissuade the attack by mortars by providing a ready response to engage any mortars as they are detected by the radar on a hill near the beach (SLIR). The radar would then dispatch our already aloft flight to the sight of launch. We also will be practicing for a mission we would affectionately title the”Snatch”, our mottle, ‘We’re just some scouts on the beach, looking for some snatch’ as depicted in murro, by Hunt. We would spend so many days in the future training for, and even getting alerted for this ‘Snatch Aideed’ mission that a mural would be drawn depicting our plight. Good mission, pilots leave and Scout Platoon goes over mission. Around 2100 we finish and I head off to shower, almost not in time, it closes at 2130. I came back and read my book until 2215 or so, then crashed but the helicopters are fifty to two hundred meters away, coming and going all night. One particularly close one woke me up with blowing sand and strong winds; altogether, I slept pretty well. 13 August 0530 wake up; chow hall opens early for us, fresh scrambled eggs, t-rat potatoes and fruit cocktail, orange juice and coffee, and a bowl of raisin bran. After chow, I came back to my cot and caught up on my journal. About 0730 headed out to fill an MRE box full of sand to use as body in target humvee. First and second squads practice their battle drill, third watches, and later we use four of third as targets. I play the lead character and get pretty bruised up and scratched. Dirty as hell after being tossed dragged and roughed up in the dirt. Third practices their contingencies, we do all right. Now I’m back here at my cot finishing my journal entry for the busy morning-0930. Going to read my book for a while, now. Later, I went to find laundry turn in and the PX, but ran into Ray and Riggle and came on back here and read my ‘Guns Up’. We are heading back out to rehearse, that’s the official description of what we are training for now. I changed film in my camera, was able to get some fine shots of us deploying to flank the vehicles. Went back out to the ‘mock up’, we even have a Blackhawk that we appear to flow out from to sweep in on two hummers lined up. Squad leaders are arguing over the how, as we arrive on the site, how 1st team covers 2nd vehicle as we approach it. We worked it out and practiced it several times, snipers don’t have much to do, seems they will cover the vehicles from the sniper bird after shooting the engine block with the M-82 .50 cal Barrett sniper rifle using armor piercing ammunition. The snipers will be Ray and Riggle. I am with the teams. We went to helipad 100 meters away to board a Blackhawk to practice disembarking and our attack several times more. We are breaking for lunch, now. My arms are all scratched now from playing the bad guy, must have resisted too much. Good chow, I ate tuna salad PX premix on Army long shelf-life

13

buns, I call ‘ready buns’. Trying to lighten my load, I haven’t eaten an MRE or anything out of one since I’ve been here. Read my book until I passed out then napped until 1530. Time to go to the birds, loaded up, now we have three guys from my C CO. platoon to take the EPWs as we finish cuffing and searching them, Hall, Thornton, and a Peruvian named Gomero, from Ray’s squad. Hall or Cheesie is with 3rd squad. SGT Skiles squad, another former scout squad leader I share scout history. Gomero has about five years experience fighting the shining path insurgency in Peru, a real cool guy. I had to come back to my AO and get my gloves, along with a few others. Birds crank up at 1615, we moved off into the flight line, picked up and formed above the airstrip and soon headed out southwest about five miles more inland then turned into the ocean and headed up the beach back towards Mogadishu, sitting in the door of the Blackhawk with only a cargo strap holding us in, our boots dangling over the edge of the helicopter, wind brushing our legs back. Getting to the ‘targets’, we hovered until our turn to go in, then we slipped toward the ‘Front”, where we had never rehearsed and that initially disoriented the hell out of me, with sand blowing in my eyes, I’ll wear goggles next time. Getting it together, I took off with Ray, but still couldn’t see the second vehicle, we were completely turned around. We finally made it back and took the targets from the vehicles forcefully, and I slipped in the sand just outside the helicopter so I was a little late getting there, plus I was pulling security for no reason on the first vehicle until I noticed the second vehicle. What I thought was all screwed up turned out pretty good, a good learning experience. We loaded up the prisoners on different helicopters now because of the flip-flop, and were off in less than two minutes. The ‘prisoners’ are volunteers, aviators from the airstrip, warrants, master sergeants, soldiers, and we roughed them up appropriately in the level of threat and scenario aspects, the ‘volunteers’ are now piled in a heap of arms, legs, asses and faces, all flex cuffed and captured, as we sit in the doorway of the Blackhawk with only the strap to hang on to, and we are paid to do this, it’s ridiculous. If I could package a piece of such an adventure, what value could I charge to assemble such a ‘field trip’, one million, ten million, maybe the adventure of a lifetime, and maybe just an annoyance, a misadventure? We later watch a video of the ‘snatch’, the camera operators is heard on tape to say, ‘Here they come, They are coming, ok, ah, …ha…They’re leaving’, camera pans up and down highway, ‘They’re gone’, and so we were gone, leaving two hummers with one driver, and several weapons to secure. The camera shows Somali travelers approaching to the south, our helicopters leaving up the coast to the north. A master sergeant would later exclaim how real and exhilarating it felt. We were headed back to the airstrip, boots dangling, I took good pictures of the Indian Ocean on my side of he bird, and a picture of my boots being pushed back and dangling above a fast passing and blurred African background. We touched down and found out in the after action review that we had done all right. I feel we could have done a lot better, but coordinating so many individual personalities and timing again shows that circumstances can change when you’re on the ground, and adjustments that must be made to affect what happens in a positive likeness of what was intended in training. I do believe we should train on all aspects and positions in a scenario. Dinner is behind me, I had beef and gravy-type stew over potatoes, mixed my peas up with that, pears & peaches, and a can of ginger ale. Cleaned my ever-sand – ridden weapon and took the rounds out of my magazines to dust them off. The day is pretty much over now I am just catching up on this, its 1800. I read my book until 2000, and then the whole platoon was called to the briefing trailer where we watched a film of us doing our snatch today. I didn’t do badly on the film; our time total was just over four minutes. We also watched a tape of the attack on the Abdee House back in June. The 14

colonel told us he would try to get us attached to his air unit as their quick reaction force if we were interested, we were. Some of us are going on night flight tonight, some tomorrow. Tomorrow we practice on three vehicles and we fly a real mission up by the Pakistani stadium. My shower was cold, feels good to get all the sand off my skin. The air-traffic is heavy; we’re always coated with sand and dust. I’m going to read for a while, and then crash, we have 1830 first call tomorrow, goodnight. 14 August I have almost two weeks in country now. Today should be a very busy day. We could become famous. In a way we already are. I awoke at 0615 this morning, shaved with a razor this morning, am tired of going most of the day with electric-razor stubble. Finally got my dirty laundry together, my PT’s were ripe and rotten. Could smell me coming a mile away, they had character. My DCU’s were pretty trashed, too. Mostly from the sweating I did on the ‘cordon and search’ earlier this week. They reek of a stale, spoiled sweat, but not quite as bad as my PT’s; there is no describing that odor. If they’re in my laundry bag too much longer, I’m afraid there’ll be some spontaneous combustion, or a freaky chemical fission. Its five after seven am 0705 …helicopters coming and going. We had a C-5 Galaxy transport (Big Air-Force JET transport) land too early this morning. The sound waves almost lifted us off our cots and out of our tent. Those jets reverse their engines to break, about half way down the runway, sounds like a tornado with kick. Chow opens at 0730, so does laundry, both have priority. Turned in my laundry, it will be ready by 1100, not bad turn around. Chow wasn’t too bad either; the day is starting in good order. I’ll try to keep it that way. It’s 0920, just got word, Cruz and I are going on a ride to get ammo for our special ops and flex cuffs, thick plastic garbage bag ties we use to detain EPW’s. We’ve been put on hold until our 101st people arrive to drive us over. I’m going to read until time to go. Cruz, a Porto Rican American from New York, was one of the replacements, for us veteran scouts. It would take a motivated and intelligent individual to have been recommended, and win the scout selection board and test-off that entailed the scout platoon search for qualified recruits from the rifle companies. There are also several new members from cohort-refills, giving them longevity, such as my sniper partner, Riggle, who would later succeed at ranger school and SEAR school. The other new scouts from the line-companies I knew well from all of us being in the same unit since basic, and our two-year train up including combat Olympics, light fighters, and numerous field training scenarios. Anyway, Cruz and I finally made way and arrived at the Theatre ASP, Where I found my buddy Terrell. Terrell is my friend from the barracks days when, Mobash, Jacobs, Longwell, Terrell and I would share-ride the trip from Ft. Drum through Toronto, Canada, over to Detroit and down to Indiana. Support platoon had three hummers, and two five tons, there also. I spent about an hour bullshitting with Terrell and the support (HHC) 2-14) guys. We finished our pick-up and I noticed it was 1045; we had our spec ops rehearsals at 1100, so I told Cruz that we had better be beating back to the helipad. He went and found the sarge who had driven us. The ASP is at the entirely opposite end of the runway, all 10, 000 feet of it. We arrived back as the rest of the scouts and attachments were forming up. Attachments had been implement concerning the violent nature of our Special Operations mission, and were provided by my Charlie Company platoon. The rehearsals went by easy enough and we broke for chow a little after-noon and didn’t start rehearsing again until 1430, real tough life, huh? Finished them quickly and had about one and a half hours to read. We were issued a bulletproof vest, quite heavier than flak jackets, but 15

much more reassuring. We were getting ready to fly into a real rehearsal, using three helicopters, one sniper platform and two assault birds. Waited until 1530 when the pilots came running out and the NCOs came walking out. We all boarded one bird, 1st squad, 3rd squad, and the EPW team. Fifteen in the back of one UH- 60, no seats, cargo straps only, feet hanging into oblivion, some sitting in interior of cargo space. We flew south along the coast and a couple miles later landed in front of three hummers. Sand was blowing everywhere from the two assault birds and sniper platform which was lying off parallel to the hummers covering our approach on the vehicles as the assault birds landed in front of and behind the small convoy, and sand and gravel was pummeling our faces. There were two simulated dead at the first humvee so Hall and I stopped to secure them; we each cuffed a body in case they were only wounded. The other three members of 3rd squad went on to the second humvee, pulled three suspects out, searched and flex-cuffed them, and brought them to our humvee. Here we reconsolidated and policed up the two bodies Hall and I had and took off for the helicopter. We threw them into a pile in the center of the cargo and were off. It went good except for the sand and gravel blasted into our faces and clothes, not to mention my weapon. It later took me forever to clean when we were back in our lair. It rained a little as we conducted the snatch raid, so the sand was wet and plastered to my weapon. Riggle and Schneider are on the sniper bird, now, the same type we use for our nightly sorties over the skies of Mogadishu, .50 caliber suspended from five-fifty cord attached at a tie point on the helicopter fuselage, through the front guard of the weapon, and attached to another tie point on the opposite side of the doorway. We always flew open door, sitting on a homemade, roughly carpentered bench bolted to the floor of the Blackhawk. A laser sight was attached to the side of the rifle and zeroed at (2) two hundred meters. We figure that hovering above using slope dope and tracers; we would sight the laser dot into a pinpoint first shot, followed up with tracers in the event the laser sight is thrown off by the violent recoil of this blowback-operated weapon. Some good pictures today, some of several ‘jeeps’, the first I’ve seen in Africa. The UN has those, jeep scramblers with suburban type hard tops, as well as a beige Wrangler and soft-top Scramblers. Made my day, although missing my jeep began early as I wondered around Ramstein Airbase, I took pictures of three jeeps I found in the parking lots near to where our seventy infantry men housed in the MP barracks across from the Ramstein enlisted men’s club. I only got a rear shot of the beige Wrangler; I couldn’t get my camera out in time. I miss my Jeep! Still last to do anything in scouts, just not a personality here, I don’t even try to be. Not too many people my age for one thing and I have never tried to be anything to anyone here, cheezing or sports. Over glorified to their selves they are and egomaniacs. I’ll do what I have to and see what’s what, and then I’m out of here. I get too personal to various people in a negative way. Hoping they die is not healthy, just what it is, historical. Done showering and back at the tent to find I’m shut out from all missions tonight, so I’m crashing hard. Slept good, dreamed a lot, though. Mainly I feel this way about Sgt. Meyer, my Assistant Team Leader, during some time during my two years with 1st squad. Retrospect-I am presently last to do anything, of missions and assignments in the scouts, I sometimes wonder why they wanted me to augment them. Seems strange for me to consider this, my experience and love for everything ‘scout/sniper’ is monumental. There were just times when Sgt. Meyer and I didn’t clique, along with some goodnatured ribbing at the hands of my roommate Jenkins, the action just seems to effect how some others treated me. I would now mark it up to my age, nearly five to seven years 16

older than anyone and my relative size; I weighed the least of all. I only go into detail into my present attitude relative to my historical scout platoon interpersonal relationships. In hind sight, it is convenient to ponder various aspects of my personal relationships in consideration of the positions allowed for my participation, and various privileges given myself through cold, relentless determination and a ‘take what comes-try harder’ motivation. I’m not a people personality, and I’ll just do what I’m supposed to and let the egomaniacs have their fun. My relationships in the scout platoon were complex, considering my anti-social tendencies. One scout alone considered me from early on, my friend Ray Schneider, his intelligence was evident, his perceptions of people remarkable, and his consideration and kindness I found unusual. Compassion to my social ineptitude and lack of interpersonal skills was appreciated. The aura of treatment fostered by Sgt.’s Meyer and Henry was profoundly enhanced by incidents of social integration where I was the odd man out, and maybe sometimes being a tag-along to some it would seem. My roommate Greg Jenkins held my antipathy for a long time due to him nicknaming me Bob, after Bill Murray in the movie What About Bob, which I had never seen and rented the video just to see what he was talking about. The analogy pissed me off, but truly, just hurt. Jenkins is still a scout; he’s in ranger school now, along with James Balog. Balog I have always gotten along with and he even came to find me after I took the best score in the graded PT test at the end of Basic Training. But he also excluded me from a trip with the Schneider to Alexander bay, Schneider asked if I wanted to go, Bolog treated me like a fifth wheel. It is amazing how the want for specialized status coexists with a prevailing survival peer relationship entirely capable of exclusion. My legacy is that I was able to survive based on my own merits. While taking some ribbing from David Schoemacher, who really wasn’t a mean character, I believe he just learned his treatment of me from the environment others fostered. One time while he was chiding me, I told David, ‘If I had your size with my motivation, I would be unstoppable. There was a visible change in Dave and he never bothered me again. Several other incidents also elevated how I felt others treated me, with grudging respect, after my successful completion of Sniper School and subsequently, Air-Borne School. We build our legacies and compete in heroism, while I was slowly able to prove my abilities and sway opinions that I was a not such a scatterbrain and schizoid. 15 August The two-week mark, here I am. Just have to keep busy, and that’s not easy when we’re not training. I finished my book ‘Guns Up’, which gave me a better understanding of machine-gun deployment and tactics. I really enjoyed that book, I finished it yesterday. Was a lot about the Lord in it that has inspired me, somewhat. At some points the book made me want to cry for them, the wounded and dead. I was always deep into the words, a large portion humorous. The two main characters were a real funny pair. I hope I can make this journal a little humorous. Riggle just said, ‘I can’t wait until I get out of the Army so I can sleep in once in a while.’ Isn’t that the truth? Sometimes we get up several hours early for no reason at all. Sit around looking sleepy. Then chow, which is now over; homemade biscuits, gravy with ham bits, applesauce and pear halves, Choco-swirl T-rat cake, and T-rat eggs. Of the last four items, I only had the pear halves, with coffee and apple-juice as my moisture element. Saw a female officer with the nicest legs in Somalia in front of me in the chow line. It is going to be a long deployment. I was awakened by a C-5 Galaxy some time between 0630 and 0700. Those jets sure are loud alarm clocks, like sleeping under an express train. Maybe we’ll get our mail today, all the aviators have theirs. Ours probably went to Sword base back to battalion, where it will

17

get sorted and moved back here, but mine will be double sorted, from Charlie back to HHC and then brought back to the airfield. It should be here next month! We were put on strip alert where we saddle up and wait in the mess area to move to aircraft in the event of a ‘Go’. Now we are off, observers couldn’t verify the target ID. I’ve spent most of three hours fixing Sgt. Meyers Camera. I fixed mine in Panama, so when he broke his yesterday, I examined it and found some broken pieces that are a bitch to fix. Movement pegs for lens cover and so forth. He was lucky, maybe, that I could find some super-glue. I am waiting for the pieces to dry now. I had it back together once, but it still didn’t work, so I hope this does it. In Pt shorts and t-shirt now, maybe this is it for the day. No, we have rehearsals in an hour, bummer. Suppose to live fire, too, I guess. Sgt. Owens has just barrowed my knife sharpening stone. I seem to have much of anything people need. A legacy I carry on that used to be plain stupidity for carrying too much gear. My motto, ‘it is better to have and not need than to need and not have.’ I gave Watson my spare watchband pin, and Shoe a pin out of my spare watch. They best come through for me, someday. New word is, no rehearsals, Ha! It’s 1730, we have lights installed in our tent now, Boucher and I did it. I toured the camp twice looking for a male plug for our lights. The guy who plugged us into the main circuit came through for one, and right next door, it figures. Have finished chow, I had beef and gravy over smashed potatoes, peas, cornbread, peaches and cherries, and two root beers. Schneider and Riggle are still on their sniper training, they are practicing shooting from the Blackhawk, or on a range somewhere, I’m not sure. Cruz, Squirrel (Sicilian), Myers, and Schoemacher are all at the TV Trailer playing cards. Clayton is playing Gameboy in his cot next to me. Gibney and Boucher are still eating. Blond-haired character (Holman) is doing nothing, as I am. Guess I’ll read or something. The snipers are just back, entering the tent and depositing weapons and gear, telling of their .50 caliber shooting today, and their two hours of flight time. We’ve been bull shitting and laugh talking all evening. Ray and I went, showered, and met Sgt.’s Meyer and Henry there. We’ve got our lights on now; it’s after 2100 or 2115 hrs. Cruz is telling a NYC/Jersey story of guns and drugs, not much else going on. The generators are buzzing in the background as I finished my root-beer nightcap, yeah, celebrating, getting loose on Shasta. I am going to listen to some tunes, Goodnight. 16 August. Last week I dream a Somali is trying to twist my head off and break my neck as I’m searching under his bed. This week I dream of someone cooking a head in a pot, inside a stove like it was a caesural, then stirring up the brains as the pot is withdrawn, assorted other dreams and night mares too numerous to mention, my mind is pretty active as I sleep. Sometimes I awaken with a start, a feeling of pure terror. I know the dreams are from experiences and conversation.-The bed dream from the incident of searching under the bed with dying Somali in it; -The brains dream from discussing or joking about morbid details concerning the lack of body parts found at the MP remote detonated mine site. –morbid jokes of body parts for sale down at the Bacari market, and stories of African cannibalism- Bacari is the central market where arms dealers are found, in the heart of Aideed’s territory. I was up at 0630, and went over to the shower tent to shave. The showers are located about 100-125 meters from here, at the edge of camp. We have helipad sections for sidewalks, although there are none coming directly to our tent, so I get sand on my toes after showering. I have got to start showering in the mornings; there was hot water this morning! It’s a little after 0700, the sun is up, but not too many of us scouts are. 18

Chow is at 0730, going to get dressed for that now. Back from chow, cheese scrambled eggs, fried spam, applesauce, hot pancakes and syrup, apple-juice and coffee. I was quite full after breakfast and am back to read my book until 0915. Then, I went to the pisstubes and did my business. Afterwards, I toured the camp in a quest of a box or crate for a table or shelf, came back and used the crapper. Aairrtt! Put a chew in while waiting for rehearsals. Talked to SSgt Henry about tonight’s mission, an air-recon flight where we go out to draw fire so we can return fire. I may be going out tonight, the usual are getting bored and tired of the routine. I went to try to use the phones before our 2300 hr air-prep. I don’t mean what I said about the SSgt’s, entirely, I don’t want them to die, or get seriously injured, just get wounded and walk with a limp. That sort of thing, so I am not completely over feeling ill towards them, not at all, it’s just we have shared some memories and I’ve taken many pictures. I’ve written almost a full page and its only 1030. We did rehearsals, with simulated casualties and then it started raining and we ran for the tents. Its soon sunny again, I am damp, but I’ll dry off. Oh, yeah, the new book I am reading is “Rules of Engagement”, by Joe Weber, the third book of his I have read, a good writer. Read some more of it while people played spades, three more playing rummy and I went over and joined them, but lost miserably, coming in third place. Someone brought us 100 rounds of .50 caliber to delink, armor-piercing incendiary ammunition for our two Barrett .50 caliber, semiautomatic sniper rifles. Stuff has a silver painted tip and the tracers are red tipped. Each round is five and a half inches long (14 centimeters) and weighs nearly eight ounces. The designated snipers were off training, so eight of us available finished up pretty quick. After cards, I went to the TV trailer, watched Highlander, then headed to the refreshment tent and grabbed a cup of coffee; Still drinking it. It’s about eighty to ninety degrees, but breezy being on the ocean. I do like the climate. Its what you would think Galveston or Miami would be like - Going to read for a while - Finally tired of reading – SSgt Henry came in and told us we could get into shorts – I did – went out to TV trailer, my roommate and Allen were in watching The Next Generation. They said there was no way they would ever get bored enough to watch three episodes in a roll, two was barely bearable – I agree- So we stood around for fifteen minutes or so bull shitting about nothing in particular, decided to go ahead to the chow line, and joked there for half an hour – We did – mostly about a certain team leader, we always get a laugh out of that one. He reminds me of Barney Fife. Chow sucked - spam, greenbeans T-Rat potatoes, TRat Choco-swirl cake, and a can of Shasta root beer – same ole, same ole. I could write this a week in advance; (although later I will find the aviators do have the best chow-tent, and Allen and I will make a daring AWOL hitchhike to here, from the port for this fine chow) things are getting so predictable. I go out on air patrol (Eyes Over Mogadishu) – lets draw fire – helicopter – boring – up all night – patrol tonight. It’ll be something different. I get to shoot back, so I’ve ten tracers ready to go – Ha! – Well, I’m going to read for a while.

Air guard

University of Mogadishu
19

West edge Moge Nest Four Saddle Up
17 August The morning started out okay, up early to shower and shave. Went to the worst breakfast I’ve had here at the airfield. My line platoon left for the university this morning – Saw them off – Allen’s going to pick up my pictures for me and send them with my mail. Everyone’s doing the big-nothing – reading, card playing, or Sega/Nintendo – I’m doing absolutely nil – same ole, same ole and I’m getting good at it. It’s 0900 and all is well. It’s now 1115 hrs, I’ve spent the morning scavenging for shelving – found two fourteen inch by three quarter inch by six foot pieces of plywood, five two by six inch by eighteen inch pieces, one two by ten by eighteen inch plank, one two by ten by six inch plank, and two twenty millimeter ammunition cans and now I have shelves. Still sorting and placing my goods on it now. The PX here opens today, at 1500 hrs – I was told – Bravo Company replaced my platoon of Charlie Co. on perimeter guard, they’re here now. There’s an OH-58 making obnoxious noise right next to us, twenty-five meters away. Read some more, as I lay out on the bunker’s sandbags and caught some rays - Did one hundred sit-ups on my bunk – then read and idled around, finally picking up my rifle (I’m in shorts now) and went to the volleyball court where seven scouts are, there’s a nice chair there I took by force – someone asked if I wanted to play, being cordial I guess, most everyone knowing I suck at volleyball and I declined. Two games later SSgt Henry came out and asked if I wanted to play in for him, I did and played well (I knew I could). We’re back now, it’s 1430 hrs and the PX is almost open. I guess I’ll go scope it out, but I’m going to the TV trailer first. Watched Highlander’s last forty-five minutes, headed over to PX now – never made it, my mail came – Got more than I thought – And I’ve a bad sunburn on my abdomen. Finished dinner – had cubed chicken chunks, strawberries and pineapples, cranberry sauce, sliced carrots, cornbread and a can of Shasta cola. I’m going to nap; I have to do the night mission that was cancelled last night. Getting ready for mission – tried NVG’s out on a walk around the camp and they worked great. Tried to nap before we left – didn’t work – just lay there. Went up to the flight TOC about 2300 hrs and hung out there for thirty to forty minutes – had a chew of tobacco – looked at their Somalia maps and we finally boarded aircraft at about ten till midnight. 18 August Twelve medionoche we took off towards the coast (my first mission), flew south over the ocean a ways and test fired all weapons. We turned west and took off over the city – flew perimeters of UN camps, relief centers, neighborhoods, the outskirts, the boonies of trails in west Moge, out of city farms, hovered and spotlighted (infrared) suspicious houses, vehicles and people. I could see fairly well, with NVG’s following the infrared searchlight. We flew around the city for two and a half hours, it was quite boring. We landed, cleared weapons, came back here to the tent, and crashed. Woke up at 0630, shaved and lay back down until 0700, then stood in chow line with a cup of coffee until 0730 when chow opened. Had powdered eggs, fruit cocktail, spam and a biscuit, two orange juices, frosted flakes, and long-shelf life milk. Worse than it sounds as I learned long ago that in an Army mess you take more than you need as there may be 20

portions that you find yourself unable to swallow. Come back here to the tent and nearly destroyed my mini-maglight trying to see how it worked so I could fix Riggle’s, and get back the one I loaned him – ran out of time, time to go rehearse. We assembled and had an in ranks readiness inspection, I had to return to the tent and get the combat lifesavers bag. We finished four rehearsal run-through’s of fanning out as if already exited from our air-assault helicopter and fanning out to cover and move on the target vehicles. Finished our walk-through, talk-through after each practice session and returned to our tent to download combat equipment. Went back to maglight, put a piece of tin foil off a Pez rapper in his, it worked, and gave it back. I cleaned my weapon from flash suppressor to butt-plate. I think I screwed up my Red Star scopes sight zero, but it shouldn’t be that far off. Put it back together, put my cleaning kit away, put on my headphones and had a two-hour nap listening to Led Zeppelin. Now I’m changed into PT shorts and am getting ready to nap again. Power Nap! Wow, its sixteen hundred, I’ve slept six hours. Felt great! Now almost time for chow. Went to the TV trailer and watched a portion of First Blood, then got into the chow line at seventeen hundred hours. Chow wasn’t so good, parts of it anyway. The corn, fried rice, and cherry pie weren’t bad, but the barbeque beef was awful. I’m still finishing my Shasta cola, and its eighteenten hours, almost time to shower. I have a sinus headache from too much cool breeze on the helicopter mission last night. Hope it doesn’t get worse, but if it does, I am prepared for it; and am going to take some pills for it now. I had a luke-warm shower. I’m going to start waiting in line for the women’s shower; it comes open for men at twenty hundred hours and the women are usually out long enough for the water to get hot again. Sitting here on my cot listening to everyone talk about the past, movies, cars, and women; oh, pot and parties, too. Going to try the phones tonight, see how long it takes to get through. I spend twice as much time at this owing to having two girl friends in two states. Writing two letters isn’t so bad though, I normally include identical information in either letter so as not to slip up after returning home. Well, it’s almost twenty-three hundred hours and I didn’t make the phones, but almost finished my book. Read till twenty-four hundred hours, as I wasn’t very tired, am getting too much sleep. 19 August. Zero five hundred up early to use the phone, it was down. I came back from hanger and lay down till almost zero six hundred, then off to the shower,. Took my first hot one here at the airfield, and drained that water heater. Chow opens at 0700 this morning. I hope that doesn’t take a half hour off our morning. I feel better today, but have a lot of sinus drugs in me. Jamming to bad company this morning; sounds of home. Well, rehearsal got off to a slow start, and then we did about ten repetitions, stopping at 1000 hours. I finished my book and then went and watched Green Berets. Now its 1300 hours and I’m changing into PT shorts, headed over to the volleyball court. Played a couple games, sunning my back; my stomach and chest are red from two days ago, so I tried keeping my back to the sun. The volleyball games are continuing, but should be over soon. It’s quite warm, 85-90 degrees and sunny, it’s just a lazy, not much happening day. I’m off to get some water now, and make some soup. Started another book, The First and the Last, but laying down drains my sinuses into my throat, choking me, so I’ve stopped and took some Tylenol Sinus, and a tab of penicillin. The time is 1530, chow is in an hour and I‘ve been snacking on Slim-Jims, Little Debbie and a can of warm coke. There’s a helicopter running its engine next to us for no special reason. A large jet just took off. The OH-58 just took off, too-‘wow’! I guess I’ll take a nap until dinner. Guess not, took some decongestants (little reds) instead. Going to work 21

out, I guess. Yes, I did. We’ve some homemade weight bars (cement filled coffee cans on either end of a long pole) and wood benches. After three sets and some negatives, we went to chow, ate ham macaroni, peas and carrots, pineapple and Shasta cola. Back at the tent hanging out now, got word that Alpha Co. had a casualty, don’t know the particulars on that yet. Went over to watch news to see if CNN knew what was what, although they get their facts wrong a lot, and ended up watching Blade Runner with Harrison Ford and Rutger Hauer, good movie. Going to take a shower now, its 1900 hours and the day went fast. Just found out no Alpha Co. people were hurt, but a command-detonated mine was set off between a five-ton truck and a cut-vee (Chevy Blazer), blowing in the window of the cut-vee and injuring the driver. The crater was as large as the one that killed the MPs. I guess I’m going o shower now. Yeah, I did. It’s entirely too crowded everywhere. There’s one aviation unit coming in (10th mountain) and one going out of Somalia (101st Airborne). Couldn’t sleep last night, about went crazy - one of those times my saliva wouldn’t quit running, like my mouth was expecting some food. I hate that! So I stayed up until 2400 hours, but did finally crash. 20 August Up at 0600 hours, shaved with a dull razor – just have to press harder, then brushed my teeth and dressed. 0630 a large jet landed. I wonder who or what was on that, been a lot of air traffic here lately, civilian airliners and military, and one of those Oh-58s already at it this morning. They set there forever before they lift off, if they lift off, and blow sand all through our tent – ass-holes! Getting ready to go to breakfast now - yep, he shut the damn thing down! It’s like a kid who has no license, but likes to hear the engine run. Well, there he goes again, up to full power. I’m off to eat, same ole powdered eggs, fruit cocktail, but the potatoes were seasoned, rounded off with raison bran and orange juice. Does anything ever change? Yeah, they quit putting cheese in the powdered eggs. Coffee wasn’t too bad. Come back to my cot and napped out for a few, until time to go out and snatch – rehearse. Chaplain came through as we were getting ready to go, spreading the frothy-cheer or something like that. Rehearsal went quick. As we were coming back, Sgt Henry told me the SF snipers were leaving Somalia, and we snipers were being consolidated into an eight-man sniper squad. There are only six of us and I heard them say they knew where we could get two more. We’re due to do some surveillance missions of the MSR (new), they changed the MSR due to the command detonated mines on the old one. Supposedly we’ll be there all day, then air-assault out. Change of pace, I can’t wait. I cleaned my cot area, along with everyone else’s. It’s a constant battle we fight against sand and dust. Going to read, nap, and around 1200 hours, change into PT shorts and get some sun, but change of plans, going to watch Rain man. Took a shower and finished the night with a losing game of rummy and tunes to crash early. 21 August Didn’t sleep worth a shit at all, dreamed restlessly and awoke with sinus pressure and a splitting headache all throughout the night, getting up at 0630 spitting out flume, as I hacked and coughed my way to the shaving and teeth brushing point twenty meters from our tent. Shaky and dizzy this morning, perhaps from the penicillin I’m taking. The mucus in my head and lungs is breaking up fairly well. I did tent maintenance by sweeping, after a breakfast of fresh eggs, hash browns, orange juice, biscuit, peaches, and a cup of coffee. Next activity is weapon maintenance, as I have to stay on top of that with rust by the sea air and dust from the airfield. Now I’m changed into PT uniform ready for volleyball. Also took a variety of pills this morning, Motrin, an anti-inflammatory, penicillin and Geritol, quite the mix. Its 1015, time for volleyball. I am back at the tent, its now 1240 hours, and…, uht-oh, here comes a C-5 Galaxy, getting ready to blast out of 22

here, and the helos are busy, too. Volleyball didn’t go too well. We had three six men scout teams and a six man aviation team playing. We worked out in between matches. Now I’m sitting on my cot eating cold cream of chicken soup as the generator is went out just as I opened the can. There goes the C-5, out of here. Ahh, the power is back, so I cooked a second can and had it hot a I read my book – quality time, topped off by a can of del Monte fruit naturals-Mmmm-then napped for a couple hours, awakened by Ray, telling me I had better go get my laundry, which I did, before the place closed at 1500 hours. I was up and at it by then, so headed over to see what was on the tube – some Hawaiian movie, and was only there for ten minutes or so and Sgt Henry came and said all scouts were on call; so, there was a scramble as five or six of us left for the tent, got dressed, sent people to find others and went with all gear over to the mess tent to wait. We waited for half an hour, and then we were told to go to front of the chow line past forty or so people, to eat while we waited, and sat around for fifteen to twenty more, and then was sent out to the Blackhawk’s where we sat for one and a half to two hours more watching the sun sink. The mission was scratched, as the word was the Pakistanis didn’t want to help us. So now we are back here at the tent, the night is over, almost. The day is over for sure, and showered cold again, as there are too damn many people here and not enough hot water for the hours the shower point is open. I guess I can live with one hot a week. I crashed early, around 2100 hours. No ‘eyes’ mission for me tonight. 22 August Another day and what to play? Now chow is out of the way – same ole. If its not eggs, potatoes and spam, its eggs, terrible sausage links and peaches and biscuits. Hardly ever get pancakes. With this new cook crew taking over, I am sure the meals will only get worse. Had some lasagna type crap last night and green beans with onion bits and so much black pepper, that’s all you could taste. I squared myself away with my normal box of raison bran. I spent the rest of the morning sun bathing and reading. It’s Sunday, so its an off-do nothing day, 1100 hours. Bullshit.Bullshit.Bullshit.I thought! Shit, with copious lumps of bull... Now we have to do the airfield guard here, all night long, until we get eleven replacements from battalion -ganked-and hard! Battalion has a mock ‘scout ‘platoon to pull surveillance on their missions now, back at the university. Is there no end to this heinous mission? Our vital importance to the air asset mission is irreproachable. We must succeed – Shit! Snipers are going to pull 1200 noon to 1500 hours shift so we can fly sniper missions at night. Right now Sgt Meyer is reading the Rules of Engagement for guard duty, and giving us the perimeter sketch and overlay. It’s now 0330 hours. Finished guard duty of the small opening in the wire that leads to the transition camp. I stood around for a while, but finally built a sandbag rest on top of the bunker and leaned back, but had to get up as I kept nodding off in the hot sun. There were small groups of Somalis on the road outside the wall, so I put my riflescope on them; they tend to disperse when a weapon is pointed at them. At least I wasn’t at the other gate, they had to check IDs and vehicles of incoming Somali workers. The dust from passing vehicles was a big nuisance.

Heliport Parameter Guard Mogadishu Airport, Sicilian

23

This may end shortly, I hope so. We have to be ready in case our mission goes forth. Its most likely not, but you never know. Elvis is out there. I guess I’ll read until time for dinner. Maybe write to my mother, got two letters from her today. I didn’t write, but went to dinner. They tried to give us good home cooking – steak and Italian or polish type sausages – I had sausages. Would have been nice to have relish and mustard, but maybe that’s too much to ask for, eh? The green beans looked like they had seen better days. Brown rice wasn’t too bad, homemade cookie slices and Shasta cola. Meyers just came back from chow bitching that some people next to him were talking about their time at the beach, he asked about it and they said they go ‘every day’, well if they have that kind of time, they can watch their own perimeter. I just got word that I’m going up on the sniper-bird mission for tonight, in a half an hour.-, so I’ve gotta get ready, its 1700 hours now and I have to be up to flight ops by 1745 hours. I stood around for fifteen minutes, and then headed over to our sniper-bird, where we sat around for forty-five minutes, prepping our communication headsets and sniper weapons, and tying our selves in. we dropped off three Special Forces snipers over to the jaybird helipad, and then spent the next three and three quarter hours flying over the city, buzzing every suspicious thing from a vehicle to a house top full of people, a concert, to old factories, the military academy, a convoy, houses, intersections, and rooftops. We finally landed at 1015 hours after an uneventful night. I showered and crashed by 1130 hours and was up the following morning at 0700 hours to relieve the guard shift for breakfast, and then crashed again until 1030 hours. 23 August Up again and started my shift with the other snipers at 1100 hours, and just got off at 1400 hours. Now I’m eating applesauce, writing letters and taking it easy. I read my book until 1500 hours and heard that Riggle and ray were outside working out, so I went out and worked out my shoulders and arms, and watched Sgt Henry, Riggle, Sgt Meyer, and Ray attach laser sights on the Barrett .50 caliber sniper rifles. The two NCOs and those two snipers are going up tonight. I played rummy with Schoe and Sicilian and won, ha! I then read and bullshitted for a while as people came and went –boom!-mortar round just landed –another, anotherhi I’m back its now 2235 hours and the bunker is full of bodies, was too crowded for me, scared rats! Were seven impacts in all, landing just on the other side of the airfield. – People scrambling- yeah, where was I, guard shift! I played a second game with Sicilian and Sgt Owens and won. That was a long game, and afterward I went out and washed my hair in the rain at the water buffalo, washed my face, neck, and ears and brushed my teeth. I was bothered after laying down for bed by the snipers returning, the lights came on as Platoon Sgt Dagita was looking for Sicilians’ lost 9mm Beretta, its missing. Big trouble, we may have to dump our shit for inspection. About that time the mortar rounds were coming down. Now I am back in my cot and the new word is we are moving back to the university. We may get away from the guard duty and miscellaneous bullshit. The 9mm was found in the shitter by someone and turned into flight ops. Sicilian has to pull tent guard all night with Boucher and Hunt who were at the transition camp without informing anyone when the mortars were coming down. They’ll be guarding until sunrise. See what can go wrong with a single day. Best to keep both eyes on everything you do. Maintain a tight shot group, no half stepping. Its 23390 hours and I’m calling it a night. 24 August Well, I dreamed all night, had a dream I was working for the DEA, ha! And numerous other meaningless dreams and was up a little after 0700 hours, woke up once 24

last night with dripping from a leak and had to move my cot a foot or so as it was right on my face, and then was awakened to move it back out of the way of the incoming roving guard, they moved through like a herd of elephants. I guess all the posts were hit last night. I went to breakfast, pancakes and eggs with cheese, orange juice and coffee. I came back to the tent, got my shower stuff around, went, and took a cold shower. It felt great. I had to get ready by 0915 to go up and shoot the .50 caliber Barretts. We left for that task at 0930 hours. We flew to an old armor motor pool and shot ten rounds into an old M41 Walker Bulldog and I hit nine out of ten shots. They all said I shot too much of our ammo, but I had a good time and took some black and white photos. We then flew around the city for about an hour trying to provoke a fight. Nobody playing with us today. We then flew south and checked out an army operation on the main road and around an old oil refinery, and then flew back to the city and toured the main attractions, the Bacari market, the cigarette factory, Hunter base, the port, anonymous and ominous neighborhoods, and landed back here at the airport around 1045 hours. I fly again on the night sniper mission as a primary sniper. Ha! Look at me!...Getting most of my wishes. I’m a happy camper for most parts. It’s really been a good month, so far. CIB? Airmedal? All I need now is attached to the UN, for a joint service medal and UN medal. Not that I’m a medal hunter as I just like the bragging rights, and the proof to back it all up, that’s all. It is now 1100 hours, time for some tent maintenance. I ate some chow, but don’t remember what. It is the next day, so I’ll try to piece it all together. We were getting ready for the range (sniper) around 1230 hours and in the middle of that we were put on strip alert, and I took myself and my mission gear up to the mess area, where we sat around for a while before the alert was cancelled. We then went to the range around 1430 hours, and were out there for two to two and a half hours, south of the city around four or five miles into the sand dunes. We had to cease fire as a caravan of Somalis on carts and mules walked past through our line of fire. The .50 cal shot well, hitting a five-gallon water can at three hundred meters with ease. We had to leave at 1715 hours or so to get back for chow. Chow sucked, not much to mention, same ole…same ole. Got ready to go for sniper flight at 1800 hours and zeroed the laser sight as best as we could, and headed for the chopper at 1830, and were airborne by 1900 hours. We dropped a soldier off at Jaybird, and then flew over to the derelict tanks to test fire our weapons. My first magazine jammed, but the one with tracers I use to hunt with worked fine. I let this pilot who was flying with us and riding in the back, fire the Barrett. We then commenced to hunt. There was an OH-58 Kiowa scout and an AH-1 Cobra called a pink team who were directing us, telling us where to go, were shot at by an RPG team, but wouldn’t let us work the area, assholes. We investigated people who were on top of one of the old factories stripping corrugated roofing for scrap, I guess. It was a large garage-type factory complex with about twenty to thirty people in and on the buildings, they never shot at us and we didn’t see any weapons. We flew around the city and the camp perimeters several times. Late in the night after we refueled the pilot saw tracers come up at us about three hundred meters to our front, but we couldn’t find the pricks. We then flew around some convoys; not large ones, just several trucks with a large number of people in them, and that about finished the night and we were in by 2300 hours and I went straight to bed. 25 August Up at 0500 hours, pulled guard until 0800, where I fell asleep a few times, but Sicilian was there, so…, and went to shower after getting relieved, and finished in time to eat a small breakfast of diced potatoes and peaches. I went back to lie back in my cot and 25

try to sleep, but couldn’t, so I started moving my stuff to our new tent on the far side of side of camp near to the volleyball court and perimeter road. It took about seven trips, and I took the same position in the new tent as I had in the old one. I like it better now that I am here; it is on the far side of the group of tents away from the flight line, no more putting up with test running helicopter engines and explosive jet sounds, as we have several tents between us to buffer the noise. The worst part is the urinals are now a ways off, as we had piss-tubes just outside our tent and a two hole crapper near by, and a bunker, too. After moving, I tried to lie down again, around 1100, but arose after a few minutes and went to work out until 1300 hours. I had a good workout, worked out with Schneider and Schoemacher, although they’re huge already. My tan took on a new depth of rays, also. I lay down a third time trying to get in an hour nap before guard, but Sgt Henry told me to get up and do some sniper weapon maintenance, which took forty-five minutes. I had someone take a picture of that in my new nest. I dressed in the remaining time and went to the front gate – the only entry gate – to pull my 1400 to 1700 guard shift, and our relief showed up fifteen minutes late. This guard point requires checking IDs and inspecting vehicles, the shit-sucking trucks, garbage trucks and various conveyances of the Somali handyman workers employed throughout our camp. We have a lot of Somalis, women, men and teens who work here doing various camp chores, while some are probably spies, but you’ll have that. They stare a lot, which is their nature. We were relieved and I headed over to the semi-trailer PX, no 35mm film, but I purchased two bags of Redman. I made it to chow for shrimp and veggies over rice, peas and carrots, pear halves, Shasta ginger ale, and an orange. I came back to my nest and started reading my Sports Illustrated swim Suit edition, and undressed and finished this and headed off to the showers now, 1915 hours, and yep, pissers are entirely too far away! My shower felt great, like becoming an entirely refreshed and new entity, and it took three lathering to get clean, as it usually does to wash the grime of Africa from my skin. This is a dust trap, what with being seventy-five meters from the perimeter road, not to mention the wind effect. I came back to the tent and as I was getting ready for bed, Schoe and Watson asked Squirrel and I if we wanted to play some rummy, we succumbed and I lost, I was thoroughly exhausted, that’s why. I then lay down and listened to one side of George Straight tape I had borrowed from Squirrel, and a I was up looking for batteries with my mini-maglight, Sgt Henry popped his head through the tent flap saying get dressed as we’ve been ordered to stand by to fly. The time was 2200, we dressed and I headed over to their tent. We are told Elvis has staged a big rally, and supposedly eight hundred bad guys are going to hit one of our bases, and a Somali was seen penetrating our wire just on the other side and down the road near the Egyptian wire line. They were still looking for him and snipers were shooting at landing helos, all sorts of pieced together stories. At 2200 hours we took the same sniper helo Schneider and Riggle had just gotten off, and headed up to see what was up. All we saw was one-armed Somali and he ran as we circled to come to bear on him. After an uneventful and quiet night, we landed and came back to our tents and I crashed hard, but awakening several times throughout the night for various reasons, sleeping well until 0730, when I was told Squirrel and I had guard. I am just back as someone else was there and the NCO left the guard there – Ra, rah, ha, ha! 26 August No guard, so I decided to catch up on this journal now that I’m definitely up. I have a cup of coffee in front of me, two cans of orange juice, but I may go to chow. Its 1215 and I am back from a breakfast of T-rat eggs and bacon, grits, but only ate several 26

bites of grits, a box of raisin bran, apple juice, chocolate milk, and two cups of coffee. Squirrel and I decided to go and do our guard and showed up forty minutes after our start time, so we only had two hours and twenty minutes to pull at the front gate. Guard went uneventfully, drew on the inside wall with a marker an air-assault sniper symbol. I spent the time singing cadences with Squirrel and making up new ones until 1100 hours. It rained on us a little as I read the Star and Stripes funnies. We were relieved, we headed back to our area, and I am just back from the TV trailer where I watched Silence of the lambs. Blade Runner was next, and as I had already seen it, I headed back here to after checking to see if the phone was up and it wasn’t. I think I’ll eat some chili, heated maybe, and yep, I heated it in my royal water heater pitcher type boiler and ate it with two cartons of chocolate milk. The milk is a long shelf life type that doesn’t need to stay cold. Ray Schneider and Riggle went back out on sniper bird at 0200 this morning for three hours. Flight ops wanted all night sniper coverage of the bases and they are still sleeping. Squirrel and I fly at 1830 hours tonight and Sgt Henry, too. Up at 1430 hours, heard PX was open, I went to check, it wasn’t so I came back here, and wrote some letters. I went to the NCOs’ tent to hear what new flight plans would be. We fly from midnight to 0600 in two three-hour shifts. I fly on first shift tonight and its 1800 now. I wrote some more letters, and played a game of rummy we didn’t finish and went to chow and had sweet and sour chicken, peas and rice, whole grain cookies and a can of ginger ale Shasta. It was all filling and good; I’m full for a change. I took some sinus pills as my sinuses are still all screwed up. It is raining now, has been for two days now as it’s the rainy winter season. I am going to take my boots off and get ready for the three S’s, shower, shit and shave. I want to take a nap before my 2330 flight prep. Just set off an old cannon, I guess, change of command ceremony. As we’re trying to fix the tent flap door, we joke about Squirrel saying it was the dry season, as our tent leaks like a sieve, but not to worry, it’s the dry season! Going to play some rummy – games over - I came in third, can’t always win. It’s about time to shower, showered cold and came back through the rain, so I actually took three showers, once each going and returning to my tent. I lay down and napped, not falling asleep until just before SSgt Dagita came in at 2200 hours to get us for sniper-flight. Chasing Elvis I left for flight ops after getting my weapon and magazines. I wore my desert night parka today because of rain, a drive on rag and my cloth aviators’ gloves for the first time. Our flight was postponed due to low cloud ceilings and we ran back from the flight line through drizzle, to wait in the TV trailer for about an hour until one of the pilots came and got us, as we watched Terminator II, Judgment Day. Off to a bad start, left side headsets wouldn’t transmit, so we changed everything to the second sniper-bird. We call these sniper-birds as they have two by four wood benches built back to back that face out the open cargo doors, and we suspend the Barrett sniper rifles by 550-parachute cord tied through the weapon and attached at either end to cargo d-rigs on either side of the open door. We are then patched into the intercom system to the crew and pilots, and it is this network caused our transfer to the second bird. Everything worked on it, so we were off, at 0200 hours. Nothing happened, just flew around the city, very quiet and little activity. Most excitement was shooting tanks at our test fire. Back here to my nest and crashed by 0500 hours. 27 August 27

Up at 0830 hours, to fresh eggs for chow, diced potatoes, a large biscuit with grape and strawberry jam, and milk on raison bran. The flies bugged the hell out of me as I ate. Now I am back at my nest and I am going to nap for a while. I have to work out today, as I have been every-other day. There is not much more to do. Still no mail, HHC sucks sometimes. (Headquarters, Headquarters Company) I took a nap and crashed hard until 1145 awakening to a rather frantic, hilarious disturbance. It was raining, the tent had ripped under a pool of water weight on its roof and a stake holding the tent pole near my nest and another pole had come loose in the water-logged sand, one end of the tent near Riggle and Squirrel is leaking profusely, a light switch is arcing and smoking, and there is a scramble to save what we could. I held my pole up, a bucket was placed under the rip near Cruz, and Riggle and Squirrel were fighting a losing battle. Meyers and I braved the rain to pound the stake back in, he pounded as I pulled the ropes, while Squirrel pushed the poles tight. Our first phase successful, Riggle and I retuned from the latrine with a pole to prop up his corner of the tent and Squirrel soon followed suit. Schneider now joined in and wrapped a zip-loc bag around the light switch, Cruz and Boucher came back and surveyed their damage, and Squirrel finished by restaking his rope tighter. We are now done with damage control and the sun is out. ‘Good thing it’s the dry season’, as Squirrel once said, a long living joke. Some are now playing Monopoly, others rummy, and finally, later the game Clue, as I have been reading my new book (from Ray) Jurassic Park. Nest Collapse Pulled guard from 1300 to 1530 hours, at a side gate, and on a cot set-up near the bunker, I read most of the time sitting near the hole in the wire. Transition people coming and going, as this gate is for a footpath only traffic, and someone gave me one-hundred 5.56 mm ammunition they were turning in. some newly arrived Italians waving at us, passing on the road, on their way to their camp on the other side of the airstrip and on the hill over-looking the Indian Ocean. Sicilian (Squirrel) took off to chastise a person who jumped the wire from a bunker farther down, it was a Lieutenant, he said, ‘Good job.’ ha! Shoe (Schoemacher) came and relieved us. I read my book and letters from the States and took some a couple I wrote to the mailbox on my way to the TV room. There was nothing good showing, but picked up four books from a table of books in the trailer. I am now back here at my nest and read until 2030 hours, and then went and showered and shaved. Back here again, I opened prepared some soup, cream of chicken, and after washing up, I crashed until 0230 hours, time to fly. 28 August We left Drum thirty-two days ago on 28 July. The time has gone fast in most aspects. I am now dressed and headed to flight line with Cruz as my spotter. The only excitement was test firing on the derelict tanks, and it started raining, so we came in early at 0500 hours. Able to crash until 0815, and them I am up and getting my laundry around and took it up and turned it in, and then off to a chow of eggs with cheese, gravy over biscuits, fruit cocktail, two cartons of chocolate milk and a cup of coffee. I brought it back to the tent to eat. I cleaned the Barrett, just dusty, and rodded the bore several times. Finished with this, now I am going to nap, it is 1015 hours. I have guard in one and three quarter hours. Not, I had to clean Schneider’s Barrett, the top half, as he cleaned the bottom. It was in sad shape, rust all over. We both use it, being one of the two with a laser sight.

28

Weapons maintenance at nest three Guard, Front gate, Helipad, Army Aviation HQ. Rangers In Flight Guard duty came and went from 1200 to 1500 hours. It rained, so we sat on a cot in the bunker and read. I nodded off for a little while, not feeling very well. All this cold weather, and with damp night flying, I don’t think I will ever get well. Picked up my laundry after guard, dropped it off before 0930 this morning, a quick turn around. I came back here and ate cheese Pringles before I read, and then took a nap until Schneider woke me up for chow. Dinner was lima beans, T-rat turkey slices, gravy, fruit cocktail, peaches, T-rat pound cake smothered in blueberry sauce, and Shasta ginger ale. I am now back here and have to clean up around our tent and then back to my book and now I am going to sleep. I have to fly from 2400 to 0300 and slept until 2200 hours. How, I have no idea, more of a doze and body rest as there was monopoly game going on next to me that I could hear right through my music, GNR even. I put a towel over my eyes. When I arose at 2200, I began to read, and the game players were all going to bed. They wanted me to turn off the lights. Wa, Wa; I told them to forget it and turned them off when I left for the flight ops. I boarded the bird, was airborne on the right side at 2345 hours, and had a quiet night until 0245. The moon was up so illumination was good. I had good visibility, was rested, and with SSgt Owens as my spotter, I had a good night. Boucher with Squirrel was on the left side of the Blackhawk. 29 August Up at 0800 and off to chow, where I ate more peaches and cereal than anything and ate my hash browns, as the eggs were intolerable. Instant oatmeal in small paper packets top the list, in several flavors. I finished breakfast and rushed off to shower, and then came back here to sun and read until 1130, and at 1200 I hah to go to the main entrance for guard. Sicilian and I have really been getting over these days. We only pull one three-hour guard shift, but normally only 1200 to 1300 hours and we have been flying fewer hours than most everyone else has. The NCOs are intent on gaining that air medal (Later, the criteria would require being part of the aircrew, and no one would be authorized.), as conversation seems to provide evidence for. Like tonight, I have the night off. Club Indian I am going to call this place. Played a losing game of horseshoes this morning, I need some practice. The guys put some stakes in the ground outside our tent, after having found some horseshoes in a humvee earlier this week. Chow was great, steak and potatoes, peas and carrots, cheese sauce and sour cream for the potato, mushrooms and onions cooked with the steak, two small dinner rolls, a grain-raisin cookie, and a real can of Coke-classic! All polished off with chocolate milk. Now I am going to change into shorts, as it’s almost 1700 hours, relax, and finish my coke. I will finish reading Jurassic park, too. The coke was good, but gave me a caffeine headache. Damn, I have been gone for fifteen minutes, its 1930 hours now and we were just rocked by RPG or mortar fire, one exploded near the TV trailer, another further out, and a third I don’t know where. We all shut the lights off, grabbed our flak vests, kevlars and weapons, and headed for the bunker. At first I was prone next to my bunk, and then it was a scramble after one of our leaders yelled us to the ditch as the bunker was packed! We took a head count and now we are back in our tent with the lights blaring. Plt. Sgt. Just gave word of our guard schedule, and I have rehearsal with the other snipers and the Dart team for our snatch mission, tomorrow. The helicopters are really buzzing 29

everywhere now! Riggle, just back from the shower, said he and Schneider abandoned the shower real fast! Squirrel was in the TV trailer, said it rocked from the explosion. I won a rummy game with Clayton, Watson and Cruz, where Watson and Cruz almost fought over that game. We laughed at them. I finished Jurassic Park and then Boom! Boom! Crash! Ha, Ha! Damn, long periods of boredom with short periods of excitement. I am getting ready to shower. I need to drink some water to get rid of this headache. Sicilian, Schneider, Riggle and Sgt. Henry are flying tonight, and I get the night off. Figured out my total flight hours today, I have seventeen so far, I’ll get that Airmedal yet. Boom! Boom! Its 2140 hours, five minutes after the second attack, this one more distant. Boom, another at 2142! Boom, Boom! Its 2143, and I am back, we’re heating water for our next cup of coffee, sitting around bullshitting and jiving, telling stories and keeping each other company, enraged and pissed off, frustrated at our lack of ability to fight back. Boom, just kidding! I think them, the Somalis, (In hindsight, elements of the muhajadeem, the Alquida precursor, sent to Somalia by Osama bin Laden to oppose the infidel in a Muslim nation.) are just putting on a show for the Ranger Battalion that just arrived during the week. Helicopters are up again. Boom! 2152 hours, Boom! Boom! 2157 hours, and two trips out to the bunker in ten minutes. Schneider’s taking Tums, I’m ticked off. Yo-yo effect, we run out to the bunker/convexes and spend our time outside, given all clear, come back in, and they hit us a couple minutes later. Damn, we’re never going to get our coffee as we keep cutting the power. I am leaving my vest on so I do not have to keep putting it on. Ahh, waters hot, it is time for Folgers. From 2110 to 2115 hours, machine-guns are shooting somewhere near the north perimeter. Probably the Egyptians, as they hold the outer perimeter bunkers. Just got word from Schoemacher, at 2128 that we’re supposed to have another attack, well its 2126 and we’ll see. We’re all going out, now. We’re back in at 2135 and no attack. Helicopters are flying back and forth across our perimeter. I need to shower, one of these days. It is now 2205 hours and I am back from the showers, which were locked, so I washed up at the water buffalo outside by the mess storage tents. I washed my armpits, shoulders, hair, ears, and face and brushed my teeth. It is quiet except for the helos and lots of people standing around outside. Snipers Sicilian, Schneider and Riggle are trying to catch some Zs before their mission tonight. Some scouts in the dark talking at the other end of the tent, and I am going to crash, myself. 30 August Monday morning, I am showered clean and fresh in cold shower. It is kind of a chilly morning, but the sun is raising a promise of a warm day. Nothing else happened last night. I am surprised I am not afraid or apprehensive about incoming. I guess maybe I subconsciously understand as well as I consciously do that if I am going to get hit, it’s my destiny, so why worry about it. Evidently, through the night no one was hurt. I don’t understand why the man in charge places so many restrictions on us. Is it the UN’s decision or ours? We find this all unprecedented, as we can get hurt or killed by incoming and ambush, but not in a direct confrontation. We’re never allowed to do anything about our attackers. They (Higher) are too busy planning on capturing the Somali men in charge. They had better hurry up if they want us home by December 20. I have been here a month and the 1/22 had trained and practiced the same mission we are. (The ‘snatch’ mission, that is. Actually, most of our mission was a Special Forces sniper mission, the ‘eyes over Mogadishu’ part of our flying.) We snipers practice the sniper part of that mission today. I have a new vest; it’s a small police type protective vest, for shotgun shot and handgun stoppage, while I doubt its ability to stop supersonic ammunition. It is much lighter than the big heavy green 30

camouflage Kevlar vest we used to wear. I guess I will work out this morning, 0700 hours. Done now, I had a good workout where I benched four five-repetition sets of one hundred and thirty five pounds at close grip and wide grip with seventy pounds, and with fifty plus pounds vertical pulls, and some bent over pulls with a wide grip and even lifted an experimental one hundred and eighty pounds for one repetition, wow! I went back to the tent and woke Schneider for chow. We were going to have rehearsals at 0900, but it was canceled for now. Snatch ops Dinner chow sucked, creamed beef I didn’t eat, grape fruit pieces, applesauce, instant oatmeal, raisin bran, and apple juice in three once cans. I returned to the tent, swept my area under my cot and little shelf. The sand is omnipresent, especially wet, and it’s been wet. The wet season starts in September, so Squirrel is right in principle regarding it being the dry season, although it has been very wet this last week. The time is 1215, the sun is shining, and it’s windy at 90 degrees. I just won 21 to 20 playing squirrel in horseshoes. I took my malaria pill with a pint of water, and am now sunning my abdomen and frontal legs. I took my shades off, for a change, to compensate for the raccoon effect. I am going to work out a little. Just back from working out, its1300 hours, all pumped up and tanned, and had Boucher take my picture. I spent the afternoon relaxing on my bunk, killing pesky flies. Buff and Tan Resort Mortar ops, Sicilian, Shoe, and Hall; Rays in the bunker It’s almost 1500 hours, time for side gate guard. I’m back at the tent now, and have already eaten dinner, it’s now 1745 hours, and guard went fast. Read a new book, Valley of Decision, Khe sahn. I took some pictures of Ah-6 Cayuse helicopters used by Special Ops group that arrived last week, and was dusted out quite thoroughly by passing traffic during guard. Chow was beef-stew over rice, lima beans (not eaten), peaches and grapefruit, a green apple, and a can of Shasta cola. SSgt Dagita also left a German MRE on my bunk, and a Shasta cola, a real good Plt. Sergeant. I wish I had had him for my two years in the scouts. The German MRE at least looks good. They eat well, but then, I haven’t tried it yet. I also have a Canadian MRE I picked up last week from flight ops. Read my book until 1900 hours, and then the Lieutenant came by and informed us Intel put out that Sammy was going to mortar us at 2000 hours. I went and got my shower out of the way, came back and dressed, and then received word to head out to the bunker. I am just back from there, it’s 2015 hours and no attack happened. Sammy isn’t very punctual. I took some pictures of us near and around the bunker, but did not go in myself, really no room to pack us all in the bunker. I crashed after using the phone, around 2400 hours or so. 31 August Up at 0200 hours and over to flight line, talked with Lieutenant Roberts, SSG Owens and Riggle until the other bird landed and went to it to retrieve the sniper weapon from Sgt Henry, and tied it in with SSG Owens help. I put on my NODs and headphones, and turned on the laser to align it and after setting it, we were airborne and on our way to A-3 test range. I fiddled with my NVG adjustment until they were totally screwed up, the head harness, I mean, so I had to hold the NODs with my left hand while shooting the Barrett with my right, but hit what I was shooting at, a tank. That is all I have shot yet, tanks. From the test range we flew to Afguy, a small but flourishing farm settlement, 31

sprawled on a river several miles to the northwest of the city. There was a celebration of some sort, as far as we could tell, but scouts (pink team) told us about it by radio, so we went and checked it out. There was maybe two hundred to several hundred people or so, dancing and so forth. A throng of people moving in some fashion or purpose not even remotely clear to us, except that it was a celebration was certain, not a political rally, or a fighting mob. There certainly were no weapons present as we circled several hundred feet above, possibly annoying this procession, but certainly not inhibiting it. They were sure up late, though, about 0330ish. We left Afguy for the city and flew around a quiet, sleepy, and somewhat dead Mogadishu. We checked out the prison compound miles to the east and an old large bunker complex off to the north several miles, and flew around areas that were off limits days previous. An uneventful night, and I kicked back locking my heels into the cargo strap across the door and closed my eyes most of the morning, although it was cold and at times very drafty. I had on my desert night parka, even. We landed about 0530 and as I was clearing the Barrett I noticed the bolt had hung up on the round during test fire and hadn’t shut. That would have cost me a couple seconds pause in the event I had to engage targets, whoops. I left the flight line, went, and used the phones afterwards, since it was on the way from the helipad. Afterwards I returned to my cot and crashed for two hours, until time for chow. I had real eggs over easy, pancakes, hamburger gravy over biscuits, orange juice, chocolate milk, and an apple. I ate quite well, and after returning to the tent, crashed until noon, so I had nearly six hours of sleep. I awoke and went to the weight to lift one set of inclined bench press, and returned here to have some of the German MRE, it’s not too good! I dressed for guard at 1400 hours and guard started at 1430, where nothing out of the ordinary happened. I read my book until time to be relieved, and then came back here and used the latrine, it was number ten. I went to chow to have sliced turkey T-rats, corn bread, peaches, a Shasta cola, and chocolate milk, and now I am going to crash, as I have first flight at 2400 hours. Its 2330, I have listened to my Guns –n- Roses tape while the gamers play scrabble next to me. I am feeling kind of weird, smoky, like a fever is coming on. It’s all this cool, moist air for hours at a time not doing me any good at all. Well, I have faith No More in now, and three hours till flight time. I have many feelings about being here, but not many that are firm. Its hard not having all the details, and living and subsisting thoughtfully and emotionally on rumors and conceptions, and certainly some speculation. One month behind me, now that’s tangible. It’s better to have a history to base the future on. You look forward to basing the future onto more of a history. Meaning, the more future behind you, the better the history looks, the easier to accept the time needed to be surpassed of the future, to shorten this future, towards going home and leaving it all in the past. I am looking forward to making history, and I have broken into a new concept toward surviving in a known timetable deployment. However, the real time is actually only partially known in a possibility with wishful thinking playing a large part of the reality of acceptance, the ability to go on, day by day. The period is four to six months, with four being optimistic, and six being not pessimistic, but a hard possible reality. It’s easy to accept the idea of four months, but after they’re gone, two months more will be easy, but bittersweet. So rationally we set our hopes on a four-month tour, but try not to set ourselves up for disappointment. Goodnight… boom! 2215 hours and out to the bunker to stand on top of it. I took a piss as more landed, and am half-asleep. Now we are back in our tent at 2230 hours, and six or seven mortar rounds landed somewhere out there. We smelled the cordite, this time. 32

People bitching at us to get the lights off; I can’t take it, keep us up playing games but don’t like it when we keep them up. It’s now 2300 hours and I can hear some people screwing around laughing and yelling outside. There was some automatic gunfire a minute ago, and I am getting my gear around to fly. NVGs, night parka, water. The Lt. just stopped by to see who was going and to get us up, told me to meet him down at flight operations, at twenty after eleven. Therefore, I have to go, get the rifle and load magazines. I picked up Hall from the next tent, and headed down with Riggle to meet the Lt. Our flight was put on hold, but we were airborne by 2400 hours. We flew to A-3 and test fired, and then headed back to the neighborhoods around the airport and the area where the Slur radar had pinpointed where the mortar fire was coming from. We didn’t find anything; just a couple Sammi’s playing in a little enclave. We toured the city several times and then headed out to Afgui at around 0130 hours. We made a hot refuel at 0200 hours back at the airfield hot-refuel point, and from there we again toured the city. We followed a truck down one street inspecting its bed for weapons, coming to close and blew a house apart, several vender stands, and blew loose material everywhere, Sammi’s running like rats, ducking and fighting the down blast. It was great, I laughed so hard; the pilots said, ‘We better keep that one to ourselves and had better not come back to that street for a while, they’re probably pretty pissed off1’ Ha, ha, that made my night. Well, its 0300 hours and time I went to bed. 1 September I am up at 0800 hours, a new day in a new month. I am going to miss Autumn in the states, I’m sorry about that, but glad we’ll be here during the winter months if we stay for six months, but it sure is hot enough already in the day. I went to chow to eat scrambled powdered eggs with cheese and a cup of instant oatmeal. Breakfast was all ateup this morning, and I don’t mean swallowed. They’re way behind the power curve. We didn’t even have water to wash our hands. Around 0830 hours, I went to lift weights and had a good one and a half hour workout. I am just back now. My muscles are very tight, and I am getting stronger and working with heavier weights than last week. I have guard in fifty-five minutes, from 1100 to 1430 hours. Too damn long, no justice; fly all night then get the worst time and longest guard shift, wa, wa, at the main gate, even. This day is shot to hell, but I already have one and a half hours of tanning, so it’s not a total loss. I am going to lie down now for a bit and relax. I am now rising, dressed and off to guard where I choked on dust and twiddled my thumbs. There was nothing spectacular to report or even remotely so. I shouldn’t even mention my guard bouts, but I will. We searched a few Sams who walked into work here, having an animated conversation trying to discover why they were here. Two times that happened, and both times an English speaking Sammi came just in time to ask questions for me. We checked the usual suspects IDs, sucked dust and I read my book. We pulled three and a half hours today, 1100 to 1430 hours. I just returned from a briefing, its 1830 now, and it seems I am on call as part of a Dart team for aircraft recovery and security in case a helicopter gets shot down tonight or breaks down. Anyway, I dressed into shorts and relaxed for an hour and a half till chow. I went to the PX also, but the line was too long, so….chow was sweet and sour chicken over rice, peas with carrots, a brownie with nuts, and a Shasta cola. I gathered my shower paraphernalia and was in the shower line by 1730, so I was seventh in line when it opened, yeah, besides the race to get the shower curtain on the hooks, as they had been washed, but not replaced. I was able to enjoy a hot shower for as long as I could stand it. I shaved and brushed my teeth and by the time I stepped outside was sweating profusely. 33

I went to the PX next, but it had closed at 1800 hours. It was a dilemma, hot shower or to visit the PX. Shower anytime! I was back here in time to get briefed on standby for mission tonight, not to mention I fly tonight from 2400 to 0300 hours. I am dressed and ready now and am going to read for a while. I rounded up my gear, but was slightly frantic when I couldn’t locate my promask, but Squirrel pointed it out to me three quarters through my search, hanging from a mosquito net pole on the corner of my cot. Just testing, I knew it was there all the time, and all ready to go now, including four hundred and eighty rounds of 5.56 mm ammo in sixteen magazines. Ready to rock and roll, and I am going to read now, its 1930 hours. It is now 2100 hours; I just lost a game of rummy to Squirrel and SSG Owens as they had ambushed me. I’m still on call, but I doubt if we’ll be called out. We just received a landline call from the Aviation CP; the word is we’re leaving for the university at noon tomorrow. Yeah, they can pull their own damn guard duty. And the clincher is, we’ll still fly the sniper mission. We are now just sitting around bullshitting about life, a civilian life, and the future. I am packing my belongings, and with mixed feelings about leaving, I guess. Maybe I shouldn’t feel so bad about pulling guard, I did volunteer. No one bothers us here, we just have to guard and fly, and then our times are our own. Being back at Battalion with the Company will be nothing but problems. I woke up at 2200 hours, thinking it was time to go, one of the wide-awake at the wrong moment wake ups. I lay back for an hour and a half, but couldn’t get back to sleep. At 2330 hours we headed to flight-ops, but our flight was put on hold, so we retired to the TV trailer and watched fifteen minutes of Young Guns II, and then a pilot poked his head in with word the sniper bird was on its way in. 2 September We stood outside for forty-five minutes, as the bird was held a klik away to the north as they had seen two men try to hide something under a tarp in a small pickup truck. When they tried to prop blast it away, the Sammi’s stubbornly tried to hold it down until overpowered by the strong blast, and they then grabbed whatever it was they were hiding and carried the wrapped item into a building in this compound. The chase, second sniper bird, minus a sniper team landed and let off the Lt., Hall, Watson, and someone else, and we took off, Squirrel, SSG Owens, and Sgt Dupree, and me without a weapon, as the sniper weapons and 9mm pistols were on the other sniper bird, which was holding over the target, illuminating with lasers the target vehicle and building. We arrived on station at 0445 hours, the snipers illuminating the targets and I Identified the lased building as we came on station, I the only one who recognized which building they were illuminating, as the door gunner and pilot on my side didn’t know or see what they were looking for. At that time, the pilots of my bird said they had the target under observation, so the first sniper bird left and landed. That’s when Colonel Gore stepped in playing his laser on the wrong building, a building across the street flying a Unisom flag, I might add, and as the ground troops showed up the Colonel told us to move over and get out of the way. We hovered several hundred meters away at one hundred and fifty to two hundred feet elevation for an hour while the Colonel illuminated the wrong building on the wrong side of the street, so the ground troops searched for no avail a Unisom compound and surrounding buildings, but not the one in question. All this time my bird had hovered nose on so I couldn’t see what was being done on the ground.

34

The Colonel flew low and fast radical patterns, almost hitting us and scaring our pilots who called them idiots for an hour, and someone on the ground said we were blowing things around and doing no good, but they had a case of mistaken identity, it was the other, the Colonels bird, but we had bad communications, as it was pouring rain and we just let it go. I just laughed at the assholes. Finally, the Colonel says we made a good target setting at a hover, nice observation, so we coordinated a left hand circle of the target area following him for another hour, or so it seemed. It took forever to round up all the ground elements (a company of my battalion) in the dark, and finally get them headed back to the university compound. My Lt. Colonel David had some wiseass comments to add to the debacle, too. They convoyed back in, and we headed back to get relieved by the sniper team we had relieved. On approach we get word that we are staying up, but SSG Owens couldn’t believe they were punking us like that. We left the helipad and found two FOs waiting for us at the hanger with the sniper weapons, but no magazines. Squirrel and SSG Owens went and retrieved the magazines. They rightfully had the ass, as I told them so. We reboarded and headed out over the city, as per usual, but with a different flight crew now, and a different bird. Nothing at all happened at all for the rest of the morning. We were airborne again at 0330 and flew until 0530. I am logging it as five hours. I fell asleep, it was so boring. Turned my Nods off and nodded off, awoke only when we came down for hot refuel. I was active for an hour, maybe two, but I did nap for an hour. We landed, secured weapons and I crashed until 0800 hours, for two hours sleep, and then went to a chow of fresh scrambled eggs, pancakes, grapefruit slices, biscuit and gravy, and three cans of orange juice. I came back here well fed and packed the rest of my goodies. Now I am ready, and heard we were returning to the university by five-ton truck. It is said it won’t be here until 1730 hours. Some (the) Sergeants Major came by, asking about a squad staying behind to pull guard, and I just tried to verify that, not happening as he’ll have to deal with that himself. Down to the wire and they’re still grabbing for straws. I guess they don’t feel secure without 11bravos on the wire. So bad, so sad, and adios amigos. I would rather stay, for the record. I’m starting to feel like a gypsy. I am going to get into shorts, now, as its only 1050 hours. Its now 1300 hours and I just finished catching up on this, on the debacle of last night, and I missed an important point; we compromised our mission of cover for ground forces due to having to keep an eye out for the Colonels bird, with two hundred to three hundred feet visibility, and with negligible communications, and this man wants to play tag. The door gunners and pilots were constantly scanning out and around asking, ‘do you see him/’, ‘No, I don’t have him’, ‘There he is, coming at 9 o’clock, shit!’, ‘back up, down, go down!’ all the while trying to stay out of his way. I hear now that the Colonel himself was piloting that bird, so someone else on board was illuminating the wrong building. I had a good rest session, listening to most of Faith No More with a t-shirt wrapped over my eyes. I am getting up, going to find something to do. I went to the TV trailer, and was watching Out for Justice when several officers came in and shut down the show, aid they’d been tasked out to clean the TV trailer in preparation for a visit from General Montgomery, said they should be done in fifteen minutes or so. I came back here and grabbed my ID and checkbook, but checked my watch after I after I arrived at the PX, it’s closed on Thursday. I lost track of the days and thought it was Wednesday. I am going back to the TV trailer, now.

35

The time now is 2350, and we’re back at the university, where we met the other sniper bird after landing, at Jaybird. They were shot up tonight by .51 caliber and rockets that wounded the door gunner. Our bird was flying our usual mission of boring aerial patrol when we noticed a bright fire in the streets below, and our pilots called for the sniper bird to come and check it out, due to our need for fuel. The airfield took mortar rounds walked toward us as we were hot refueling, in coordination with an attack on the university, too. I guess I’ll skip the evening dinner details, and just say we packed our gear on five-ton trucks, and I stayed behind to continue the night’s sniper mission. I will say that dinner was good. There were big holes in the aircraft, parked at the medivac helipad near the Embassy compound, now. The second sniper bird was getting a GPS reading on the roadblock bonfire we had just vacated to go hot-refuel, and were just leaving when they took fire. Riggle says a rocket hit at the lower lip of the left side cargo door they were sitting at and blew them off the bench. The door gunner took shrapnel from a .51 caliber round striking a can of 7.62mm ammunition near his feet, and possibly a hit from a 7.62mm round. We were hot refueling, as mortar rounds started impacting on the airfield and were being walked toward us. The pilots yelled for us to scramble onto the bird, as we had to disembark while refueling, and we made flight in haste. At this time I knew nothing of the extent of the attacks. A coordinated attack striking multiple compounds, it sounds like a set-up to me. I’ve a mission to fly at 0200 this morning. All this time, nearly two and a half hours in the air, I didn’t have a weapon and was sitting in the center of the helicopter with no earphones. Therefore, I had no idea what was going on until I saw the holes in the other bird. We waited for a ride at a helipad where I had no idea where we were, for a ride up to the university compound. It seems we were at the medivac helipad near the embassy and hospital compound. A helipad I had never been to, no wonder I had no clue where I was. Sicilian showed up in a humvee and we departed for our barracks, three minutes away. 3 September It was 2400 hours on our arrival, and I couldn’t sleep. I walked around our barracks for a bit, and then lay down just to relax. When I finally felt I could drift off, SSG Owens showed up with red-lense flashlight shining on me from the doorway. That always wakes me up, and gets a quick response. We got ourselves around, me deciding to take my M203 with ten magazines, my K-bar knife, and a VS-17 signal panel. I picked up the Barrett and magazines, loaded onto a humvee to drive over to Jaybird helipad. Squirrel used the wait to sight in his laser, but I always wait as I can do it from the bird, and I feel its more realistic in relation to distance to target. The bird arrived after it had gone to the wrong PZ, but had figured it out, or had picked up a stranded crewmember from the disabled bird, as there was an extra man on board who later bugged the hell out of me from the rear seat against the firewall. We test fired at Alpha -3, and then headed into the city, where burning tires made NVG blinding roadblocks and lured helos into their ambush killing zone, like what happened earlier. Nevertheless, we approached them, anyway, but no one was watching or waiting and we flew over several times, but drew no fire. We flew for three and a half hours, with one and a half or two hours spent circling a compound that gunmen were spotted in, one at first, then later two, and then three appeared, all three standing in the middle of the courtyard, weapons in plain site. They must know we can only shoot if we point them at us, what a crock. It’s driving me crazy; they were confirmed gunmen, dead to rights.

36

We flew a racetrack pattern for the longest time, with my side, the left side facing them and my laser dot illuminating them clearly. It was forever and it was torment, more than once I glanced at Lt. Roberts to see if he was looking, just itching to open fire. I have thought long and hard about the ‘what ifs’, and am glad reason prevailed. We could have been shot down ourselves, and I would have violated my orders as well as my honor, but goddamn. The last hour I could hardly stay awake. At times I would fall asleep watching them, and catch myself falling forward, although I was tied in with a sling rope, I just wanted it all to end, the waiting, the watching. Someone surely came closer to death than he will ever realize. However, we flew off without bothering them, finally landed at 0530 hours, crashing soon after, and then were awakened by SFC Daghita, telling us the Colonel was putting us back in the line companies. Wow; we packed up, went to chow, then over to our respective companies, and then back to get our gear after lengthy conversations with everyone from Company Commander and First Sergeant Doody, to my roommate and squad. On the way over o get my gear I was stopped by Cruz and he asked if I wanted a ride back to Charlie, as he had already moved my gear over there, alright, bonus. I came back here to my new home and watched everyone getting ready for MSR guard for five straight days. I get today and tomorrow off, ha, ha, but need it. Oh yeah, I took a long cold shower, too. The platoon left and I changed back into PTs and went to the PX. This PX is the one I originally visited during my initial days in country, the airforce PX. I came back and ate chili and chips for chow. Afterwards I went to find the engineers to borrow a circular saw, as I had scavenged some wood to make myself a shelf. I will take a picture of it now. I had come into the Platoon room where Schneider had slipped into a spot in his squad next to Martin, and there was no room left for me to slip anywhere into my squads lineup, I selected this spot near the entry, on the other side of a large wood structure near my Ft. drum roomy Gimber and Allen. The trashcan was near by, so I moved it across the doorway and moved the refrigerator over to my side. I now had a sizable area, and a shelf to store my wares. I spent the evening unpacking and just screwing around. I went with Schneider up to the Battalion area; they have a six hole putting range up there, and we helped SSG Simpson unload two humvee loads of mail packages. I didn’t get one, but Ray did. Sgt Slate still hadn’t sorted the other mail, but did by 0900, so I went over after I showered, and yeah, ate chow first, it was terrible as can be expected; I came back here and read mail and wrote checks, and now I am going to read. I am still very exhausted, but sleep doesn’t come easy right now, as there is too much happening in short bursts, and too many changes. It’s now 2300 hours and now I’m crashing, goodnight. 4 September I am almost through the first week of my second month here. I awoke at 0800, still tired, and went to the piss tubes, as I had to go bad. I returned for my rifle and went to chow with Schneider, where I had cold cereal, raisin bran and fruit loops, with an orange juice chaser. From breakfast, we went to the head quarters weight lifting area and pumped some iron. I am close to pressing 180 pounds, but can only press it once, ha! We came back here and picked up shower accessories, and dropped off our rifles at the TV day room. I had a hot shower at about 1045, it felt great. The hot water heater in our shower trailer was being repaired, but the trailer down the street was open. I came back here and packed for MSR guard, as we leave at 1600 hours. I am al packed and dressed, its now 1220 hours. Squirrel stopped by and visited for a while, and I left as he did to take back 37

the circular saw and drop off film at the Swedish PX. I bought a Swedish T-shirt, a writing tablet, and two candy bars, and then came back here after stopping off and talking to the scouts. They are only flying one mission, from 2400 to 0400 hours, as there’s still only one sniper bird. The shot up one is still down for the count, having taken a .51 round through the left side heat-deflection cowling at the exhaust end of the engine. Its 1530 hours and almost time to leave. I have just made some tea for my canteen and am ready now, I guess. We left the university first traveling north to a cross road several hundred meters north of the university, where sandbagged bunkers dominated the intersection, turning southeast onto the main road that borders the northwest edge of Mogadishu, and headed south past the Hunter base compound that looked like fort Apache or the Alamo, and finally past the last sandbagged outpost at the southwestern edge of the city that was the official beginning of the new MSR the engineers had graded out of a rough and eroded former road. I will later dub this last outpost as Fort Apache. The MSR continued for nearly twelve miles or so, of dusty and rough dirt trail, being the midsection of the sixteen miles roundabout trail of the MSR. Bunkerhill consisted of a series of bunkers nearly midway down the easterly turn of the trail, and finally, a small sand bagged bunker stood adjacent to a speed bump studded weaving wire obstacle. Arriving in the boonies at this checkpoint, we disembarked and Schneider went a klik or so towards the old refinery, where second squad was located, but found no one to meet him, even as he yelled, no one came. As it was getting dark in no mans land, he returned to my squads position, and I let him sleep under my poncho hootch, and we pulled three two hour guard shifts together, the last one from 0700 to 0900 hours. Ray went out to inspect a water buffalos ID, but the guy was shy and shied away from him within our barrier. A single Sammi also came through, whom we did search, finding a bag of Kyat in his possession, that we confiscated. Bet that pissed him off, but he just grinned and bore it. We then packed our rucks, as Bravo Company was in route to relieve us. Short tour, eh? They arrived near 1130 hours, and we loaded the five-ton trucks and left for university at 200. We arrived and commenced cleaning weapons, relaxed, napped, and I studied some math, ate some snacks, and napped again until Hall and Schneider awakened me for chow. I had Pork and rice, greenbeans, white cake with chocolate icing, chocolate milk and orange juice. Now I have been listening to my walkman back at my new nest, while in relax mode, reflecting on the past week. I feel as if I have left much undone, and want to get back to it. I thought Ray had gone to the scout’s area, so I went that way, myself. He hadn’t, as I now ran into him back here, he had been performing the three Ss’, while I had, just at different locations. I wasn’t feeling well, probably a combination of two cups of coffee, a coke and eight cookies or so. After two Tums, I crashed hard with a headache and upset stomach. Its 2330 and we are now on alert, as a helicopter has a Sammi cornered somewhere. My company is back up for QRF (Quick Readiness/Reaction Force), so we will probably stand around for half the night, and then stand down. I still have a faint headache. At about 2000 to 2100 hours tonight we were RPGed and the perimeter guards, the Tunisians machine guns were shooting off at intervals. There were several explosions, and this seemed to last for an hour or so, but probably a shorter period. I was still sick, not getting up for any other reason than a full fledge ground attack. I have CQ (Charge of Quarters) at 2400 hours, so would be up anyway. I took a couple sinus pills and four nonaspirin pain relievers. I am going to drink a bottle of water now. 5 September 38

There was massive machinegun fire at about 0430 this morning, probably Tunisians just trying to stay awake by making a lot of noise. I f you can imagine automatic weapons spraying inter-locking fire into a densely packed mass of structures housing nearly a million souls, the sprays of tracers like a hose of fireflies spraying away at supersonic speed, with individual flies careening off in every direction as they impact sandy coral, houses, buildings, and anything else capable of deflecting them, then you can picture what I am casually describing. As I before mentioned, we joked that maybe the Tunisian guards would be executed if they came back from guard with ammunition remaining. I arose to use the pi tubes, and the bunker guards shot up a flare. First call is 0730 and I remained up so I could shave and brush my teeth, feeling better, and we have PT in five minutes or so. Ray told me that Cobras had shot up the place and people that were cornered last night. I spoke with Hunt, who was up with the sniper bird last night and shot up the mortar tube. The mortar tube was engaged by Cobra gunship 20mm cannon, two rounds from Hunts 40mm M203, twelve shots from the snipers Barrett .50 caliber, and the cobras shot 2.75-inch rockets to ram the point home. We had finally caught one on the ground and cornered the suspects. All that didn’t seem to knock it over, and as two Sammi’s tried to surrender, their buddies shot them, and buddy is only half the word. A mortar round struck a Cobra, as they engaged the helicopters with mortars and five RPG rounds. It must have pissed the Sammi’s off shooting at their mortar, no sense of humor. We did PT for about an hour and a half this morning. It wasn’t too bad, although I hadn’t done any for over two weeks. I went to chow afterwards, to scrambled eggs, diced potatoes, pancakes, chocolate milk, and orange juice. I am back here now, doing a word fill-in. ‘Back here’ remains a point of reference, where we spend our personal time, relax, read, listen to music, read and write letters, and generally contemplate our existence. I generally refer to it as my nest, although I will lay no eggs. It is sanctuary, our place of refuge, and mine is comfy. I went and did two of the three S,s, I won’t say witch ones, but the hot water felt great, opened the pores, let the sandy grit of Africa out, and refreshed my outlook. The time is 1200 hours, and I just completed computing my flight hours on recon and mostly sniper missions, they are at thirty-six and a half, yeah a half. Moreover, a few movement and training flights, as well as rehearsing the snatch mission. I had a great first month here in country, but now I am back in the line, a grenadier with Charlie Company, and life is once again boring, no telling what the future holds. I guess I’ll read and snack, maybe take some serious lunch. Rumor has it we may pull a raid tonight. I am back from working out, and have heard the mission is tomorrow, will probably start at 0400 or earlier. I had a good work out, same as last time; Rays ‘Arnold’ work out. I returned to my nest and read some, snacked on Oreos, even though chow is almost on us. I am back from a dinner of chicken chunks with gravy over rice main course, mixed fruit, cornbread with strawberry sauce and lemon pudding on top and baked beans that were decent. I came back to the day room and watched Screwballs, then went and showered hot, and then read my book and consumed gummy-bears until now, its 2030 hours, time for bed as I have guard at 0300 to 0400 hours, goodnight. 6 September At 0340 I am up and dressed, pulling last shift for guard, but have no idea if I’m supposed to awaken everyone for first call. We are going to bad guy country today, a real ground pounding combat mission that I hope is for real. But the mission is way out there, at the hospital, where the last incursion by the UN turned into pitched battle resulting in a UN withdrawal and casualties, and we’ll see. 39

I keep thinking of an incident at Alpha-3, where we had finished test firing our Barretts, and the pilots decided they would like to se what one could do to this cement water tower elevated above the tank park. Squirrels gun jammed, so they turned my side toward the tower. I illuminated the tower with my laser and blasted a softball size hole in the side of it, so impressing the pilots that they turned from side to side to allow everyone to see it, and then radioed the Pink team and told them to come by and check it out. They were like a bunch of overgrown kids, we do have our moments. I just went to see when first call is, and the 1st Sergeant wants us up at 0500 hours, and my shift ends at 0430, but I guess it doesn’t matter, as I am definitely up now. I guess I’ll make some coffee. It’s so peaceful this morning. There are only the fans, the refrigerator, and distant generators a ways off making noise. The only light is my large Maglight, recently liberated from SSG Henry, as he’s had it since sniper school after leaving it in his truck. Yeah, this is quality time, so I never mind last guard. I was having a good dream, and if I hadn’t been awakened, I’d have gotten laid, as I was already hands deep into a rather large chest. I don’t think I have ever seen this woman in conscious life before; she must be my fairy-sex woman. Strangers in the night. I just tried to suspend my light from my shelf so I could have a hands free overhead light and ended up spilling my coffee, creating a major morning incident, but I already have another cup brewing, so I have consolidated my losses. Now its 0430, how time flies and I have written a lot about nothing, this morning. I think I’ll write a book. I am feeling mentally and emotionally better than I had since the sniper missions and transition back here. I may have had me a slight case of combat fatigue. A combination of frustration and exhilaration, all topped off with very little sleep. It’s so much easier, mentally being on the ground. You may have tired shoulders and back, are generally overheated and dusty, drink large volumes of water, and be affected by a myriad of details of a far more different mission. Those of guard and stand the line, to booby trap lanes, and MOUT (Military Operations on Urban Terrain) training, and the movement by trucks. There’s also, of course, sand bag details for fortifying our exterior walls and, in our platoons’ case, the building of the bunker at the end of our building blocking the entrance. In the air mission, there is only sitting and looking. I had to break my train of thought, as Sgt. Seidle came by and told me I should be watching the entrance. I responded that my shift was over, anyway and I was headed to locate the roster and awaken my relief, and woke up Lawler at 0500 hours, and Lawler has turned on the lights soon after. A rude first call, as it always is. I wasn’t going back to bed, anyway and read my book until 0530 hours, until the lights snapped on and headed out to shave. Out to PT at 0600, where we stretched and ran for about an hour. After PT we went to a breakfast of fresh sunny-side over fried eggs, bacon, cooked no less, raisin bran, and orange juice and chocolate milk. It was not too bad of a breakfast. We had a class on the M-60 today, as SSG Tewes; our squad leader is machinegun employment expert. We trained in adjusting the elevation and traverse mechanisms until about 1030 hours. I then cleaned my weapon, read and slept until awakening just now. I had a dream about Schneider and I being trapped or immobilized temporarily by an electrical-radio field. A weird dream it was, possibly too much Ren and Stempy on Gameboy. Now I am up and listening to the news on Army Radio Network. The news says the Rangers raided a command bunker of Aideed and captured twenty-seven suspects, while having two friendlies wounded. The place was conspicuously empty, and UN Somali employees loyal to Aideed are suspected of tipping Aideed off. We’ve been saying that all along.

40

It is now 1315 and time for lunch. I didn’t get a chance to eat, as I had to go to FSB to get weighed, one hundred forty one pounds, imagine that. I then had to accompany SSG Tewes on an aerial recon of our raid site for tonight, or early morning, rather. I have over flown it many times and always speculated from the air why we never hit it, but now we are, har-har. I have been unloading my magazines and cleaning my rounds, placing two tracers six or seven rounds from the bottom to aid in telling when my magazines are getting near to empty and then around 1630 hours went out to the Lt’s operations order. It is on the deck, our weight lifting and sun tanning deck, where there is a sand table. He finished around 1715 hours; we came back in and then went to dinner. I ate chili-mac, peas, mixed-fruit, an orange, and chocolate milk and orange juice. Is anyone noticing a lot of the same foods, and for every meal, give or take an item? I came back here and finished my magazines. I have eleven with thirty rounds, and one with twenty-six, three hundred and fifty six in all, including assorted fortymillimeter grenades of HE (high explosive), tear gas, smoke, and illumination. The NCOs are all in great moods, as the mood among us grunts is one of euphoria, harmony, and jubilation. Morale is high; pictures are being taken, as jive is going down, ammunition being distributed and organized, grenades and AT-4s. War is in the air, the troops are happy, as we are ready to spread fear upon our old friend Sammi. Its 1845 hours, there were some words of wit there, for a passing second. I have coffee water brewing, my LCE is all squared away, and it is pretty heavy. We took pictures of the squad just now, about a dozen, and it took a while. Now, at 2000 hours, we get word, stand down, mission cancelled. Our morale drops, we feel let down. Defeated without a shot fired, it is hard to explain, like bad weather on a camping trip, a death in the family, sex without orgasm, that sort of thing, a headache from one bear. 1/22 personnel warned me of this, as it was all they did for four months, rumors of missions. We’re having a platoon meeting now, the Lt. telling us there will be missions and rumors of missions, practice three, execute one, the non-dangerous one. So I am sorry for getting so excited earlier, but just trying to express the feeling prior to doing a mission. I have pictures of a mission wish night. Well, I took a shower for an hour, released some tension, am not going to explain exactly how, then came back, read for a short period, and then crashed. I dreamed most of the night, oh yeah, must have been the cup of noodles I ate, while watching Predator II. I forgot about that patch of time. 8 September Lost a day, that’ll happen around here. I awoke at 0630 hours, Schneider was on guard and woke me up to go work out, actually I had already awakened on my own, and we had an abbreviated work out. I came back here, grabbed my shower gear and went and showered, and then went to a breakfast of fried eggs, bacon, orange juice and chocolate milk, same ole-same ole. Back here at the nest, I repacked my ruck, which consisted of downloading, and made some coffee. Making coffee is easy due to my use of Folgers flow through bags, Ahh technology. We moved our gear out to the trucks and trucked out at 1100 hours, arriving at the checkpoint that over watches the north-south road to Kissmaiu and the Indian Ocean, and detrucked, where there was a support or military police unit in place. We relieved them and after departed, we examined our new digs to find they left trash everywhere, and we cleaned up after them. The M-60 bunker was partially caved in and we spent the afternoon redigging and rebuilding it. We found out after a night of guard that we were here past tomorrow, and the rest is history. 9 September

41

We are on MSR guard and I have pictures. It is not worthy of a lengthy discussion, as the conditions are that forlorn and boring. First, we pull two hours of guard with two persons on, all day starting at 0700 until 1900 hours. In addition, we pull another shift on the hill above our hootches, upon an aluminum airforce pallet to watch our rear. This position looks out into a desert of tan dunes interspersed with sparse vegetation. The vegetation consists of small clusters of low-lying trees on the lee side of dunes. This guard shift we rotate for an hour, due to fatigue, throughout the night. The only activity we do is talk or read. We get murmite breakfast and dinner, where we hardly get enough to go around, and I supplement with my stores purchased from the PX and MREs. This day I spend on alternate guard, reading, and sleeping. The winds coming off the ocean are extreme, lifting a steady spray of sand into our eyes, napes, mouths, noses, and worst of all, our weapons. We constantly endure a crunch of sand between our teeth, and irritation if we rub our eyes. Morale is self induced, limited to the amount of humor you may see in all that irritates you. We occasionally search pedestrian Somali passing through our checkpoint either herding cows or riding on a cart pulled by donkeys. The animals occasionally pass by unattended. They seem tame and to know where they are going, as they come by and return and only the goats seem to stay put. The entire UN and CINCCOM command group came and inspected our positions today; I took pictures. Traders came through and Thornton bought four hundred and seventy Somali shilling from them for five US dollars, he got taken, idiot novelty stuff, but he gave me some five shilling. I pulled the 1900 to 2100 shift, slept for four hours, and then the 0100 to 0300 shift, slept for two hours and then my 0500 to 0700 hours shift up on the hill. I have just finished drinking my coffee with SSG Tewes. 10 September After a quick morning including a patrol to the major intersection down by the oil refinery, which smoked me, we received word our relief was on their way, we had no sooner returned from the patrol and taken our gear off, and the trucks with our relief arrived. We loaded our gear and left to pick-up first and second squads. Wee have since returned back here to the university and I have cleaned my filthy weapon. Now I have to clean my weapon. I had spoken to a Brigadier marine general of the visiting command group. He asked how we liked it here, that sort of thing. I told him we are infantry and we would rather be fighting. He said our mission was important, to protect the allied forces and supply route, trying to keep more Americans from getting hurt. He said congress had asked the military what our mission here was, and it was declared that if we pulled out, all the other countries would follow. France is more or less already gone. I have not seen their flag since I have been here, while the Italians and Germans I have seen often. The Swedes are here for their humanitarian reasons in neutrality. There are also many African nations from north and south, Nigeria, Tunisia, Morocco, Rhodesia, and Egypt. The Pakistanis, the United Arab Emirates, and the Rumanians have a field hospital, and even the Russians have a compound. The UN uses Mil-26 Hip helicopters and an even larger class Mil I can not identify, and Russian Il-76 Transports. Many UN vehicles and olive green APCs I have not yet identified, but the homemade APCs seem to be five-ton farm or dump trucks used by some African nation, are the funniest things I have ever seen. You cannot fault them for trying. There are a many American made M-113 APCs and several M-48 Patton tanks. The Italians have several attack helicopters and the Pakistanis fly several UH-1Hs. The Koreans have a compound up to the Northeast.

42

We were GIing our platoon barracks for a general scheduled to come through when Schneider, Trowbridge, Long, Greerly, Allen, and I were detailed to unload a truck load of 4x4 and 2x4 lumber for the S-4 shop. We finished the 4x4s, went and showered, and then finished the 2x4s and from there we went to a chow of steak pieces, smashed potatoes and gravy, two types of bread, and peas and carrots, all finished off with chocolate milk and Shasta cola, as if there’s anything else to drink. Schneider and I heard a rumor from SSG Simpson that we would have been returning to the scout platoon, except for the waves created by pissed off company commanders and platoon leaders. So we will return after we redeploy back to drum, until then we are Charlie Company’s. Yeah, right. I saw on the Army news tonight of some Engineers wounded, and helicopters shooting up Somali crowds where Somalis armed with AK-47s and RPGs were using women and children as screens, that didn’t stop our protecting the engineers whose engineer convoy had come under attack by this large crowd, causing the vehicles to be abandoned. There were over one hundred Somali dead. Alpha Company was also involved in a firefight, I am not sure if it was the same fight, firing nearly six-thousand rounds, with only one platoon engaged as QRF. The Pakistanis went in to relieve, but were shot up and the engineers were pinned down. The next day there were five dead Somalis and one Caucasian of unknown origin, possibly a soldier of fortune or muhajadeem. It is 1830 hours, I am sorting my wares, about done with that, and am caught up with updating this journal, which I am going to spend but a short time on, of the remainder of the evening. I took a second shower around 2300 hours, and then read for a short period, and watched the CNN report about the helicopter attack on the Somali ambushers and various other topics of the period. The First Sergeant had some flowery things to say about it all. Our generals say Aideed could only have eighteen or so gunmen who are doing all the harassing, shelling attacks, and sniping. He said one Somali interpreter says Aideed’s clan is only from five hundred to six hundred militias, while another says more like one thousand to two thousand. Now the clans are infighting among their selves again, and we broke up one of those fights with Cobra attack helicopter fire last night, imagine that! Let them kill each other off; you would think they would get tired of this shit. Riggle says the scouts had gone on a recon in two humvees, for a QRF route towards Sword base, and were sniped at and mortars adjusted in on them. This all happened within a mile of here. Allen and Gimber have gone on a humanitarian mission to a Somali orphanage today, I wish I had gone. I had guard from 0330 to 0430, first call came at 0530 hours, and we were in formation by 0600 hours. SSG Tewes called me forward to lead PT, I was soup sandwich, but finally made it through stretching, and took them for a run. There’s a hill out on the perimeter near the main gate, and on our mid-leg, we went up, back down, and then I had everyone sprint back up, if only each at their own speed. We stopped on top where I did my infamous SSG Ferebee lunge work out on them, and then assembled and ran, my legs were rubber and very uncoordinated, back down the hill, around the perimeter road, and finally up the small hill near the mess hall to our formation area. I stretched the squad and then we did the pushup routine. The squad I put on the dry sidewalk while I switched with them and lay in the wet street. I was smoked, to say the least. SSG Tewes released everyone but Allen, Boyd, and myself, saying he was sending us to the E-5 board, so we were to get ready. So that’s why I led PT, I will finally 43

get something I want. I went to chow, but didn’t eat my fake eggs and corn beef hash, having two boxes of Raisin Bran and a box of honey-nut crunch. Afterwards, we filled sandbags, I left for CQ at 1000 hours, and returned to start building a bunker outside our building after being relieved, and we finished this structure at 1230 hours. Now, let me get back to discussing the Sammi’s. The kids are the only reason this is worth it, as they are just victims as usually is the case. The next orphanage trip that comes up, I think I will try to go. It was an uplifting frame of thought, to see them sledding down this sand dune within sight of our roadblock, going on with life’s simple pleasures. Anything for the kids, I thank God I can do this mission for them. I hope they learn from all this, whatever goodness is exemplified, as they grow up. It’s a little after 1300 hours, almost time to eat ribs and drink our two beers. Maybe there is going to be a ‘push’. I have been reading my book, Valley of Decision and listening to Use Your Illusion II, and meanwhile, there was an incredible machine-gun burst just now, about a fifty round non-stop burst. Its 2015 and I am just back from the shower, just hearing a couple shots to our east, and this machine-gun was in the bunker on the roof of the last classroom in the next higher tier of buildings to our northeast, or up the hill. They are shooting flares now, into the dusky glow of early evening. I spent the evening talking to Schneider and Adams about just about everything. The party was filled with games of horseshoes and volleyball, while I only played horseshoes. I won the first game, and then McClain and I lost the next two, as I kept bouncing them off the stake. I left here to go pick up our mail with a couple others and they are shooting all around our perimeter now, explosions, automatic fire, rifle now, and mostly out going. The Tunisians are going crazy – explosion – I went out to the deck, there they go again, more outgoing, and out on the deck we watched the show. Many thousands of rounds fired into the city and many (dozens) of 40mm grenades, and tracers of 7,62mm machineguns in continuous red lines crisscrossing and ricocheting as rounds interlocked and careened off into every direction hundreds of meters into the mass of buildings and houses. There are many magnesium flares being fired into the sky, automatic rifle fire, and another explosion. There was continuous firing from four bunkers below and above our level for nearly fifteen solid minutes. I got out of the shower just in time; and there goes another explosion, as I wonder what they are shooting at. I just heard an incoming shot fired at us, answered by an explosion from a 40mm grenade launcher. These Tunisians get serious about their free fire zone. They, our NCOs, are setting up our guard duty roster right now, as there is more firing to our left, machine-gun firing to our right, and the left again. Another flare and I hope this doesn’t go on all night. When you shoot a flare it drifts on the wind, and as it drifts the objects casting shadows causing a shadow movement affect that makes everything out there seem to move, so, the phrase ‘Shooting at shadows’ has meaning. These Tunisians seem to have plenty of ammunition, free from the UN, I guess, and thus the thought we have that they will be executed if they come back from guard with ammunition. I admit, I did hear one shot fired from outside, and now they are shooting on the other side of the perimeter, to the south and east. I guess all the initial firing was concentrated out of our wire into the western and north side.

44

The two machine-guns in bunkers on either side of our building were shooting close at a long structure just outside our wire and some ways beyond, so their tracers were interlocking, merging about a hundred meters past our wire. There’s firing all around the perimeter now, shit! I hope they have plenty of ammo. The poor civilians better keep their heads indoors. Boom - that sounded like incoming, as if it was justBoom – outside, another! I think we’re being attacked! Probably shooting from afar, but it sounds pretty close to me, I think. I just heard from someone there were rockets fired at the building close outside – another boom- yeah, it’s out going fire. There is still automatic rifle and machine-gun fire. CNN never reports this shit. There’s a US position being manned with a machine-gun now, and its 2150 hours. I started out with my LCE and rifle, but SSG Tewes turned me around. I wish I had my tape recorder going, there it goes again, and the firing still hasn’t stopped. I’m back; I have been watching the Notre Dame/Michigan game. The Irish are winning. Its almost 2200 hours and there is no more shooting. The helicopters, Oh-58s and Ah-1s are up patrolling and there is a sporadic burst or single shot fired occasionally. Around 2300 hours, again the shooting was heavy for a while there. Then I went to bed, so dreams are all I know. 12 September I awoke at 0845 and went to a cold breakfast of raisin bran, warm oatmeal, and chocolate milk. I was back in my bunk area when SSG Borhon, our Plt. Sergeant told the platoon to shower, shave and get dressed, as we were preparing for a mission for tomorrow morning. Quite preemptive I thought, at that moment. I took a shower and then started the sand table SSG Tewes wanted me to make of the aerial photo of our mission area. I finished that in about an hour, closing the lid, as the wind threatened to destroy it, and took before and after pictures. Since then I have killed several cups of coffee, a crossword puzzle, cut articles about Somalia from the army Times, and casually spent the late morning to now hours relaxing and sitting at my desk. It’s almost 1500 hours now and we are having a dress rehearsal soon. The shit-sucker trucks are outside doing their business at the port-a-potties across the street and the air reeks. I can hardly stand it. I am going to start using my US federal Credit Union pen now that Lisa sent me. Lisa has sent me many supplies and a subscription to Playboy. I don’t know what I would do without her. She asked me what we, the platoon truly needed in common, as the credit union had adopted my platoon, and the answer was immediately clear to me, flyswatters. I have kept three for myself, and everyone has one at least. We call the fly’s double tappers, as it takes two swats to kill or maim them, although usually they are just maimed, or happen to fit through the small holes in the swatters. We wound them and the ants drag them off as they try to hang onto anything to prevent this. The ants drag them up the walls to the roof, or whereever they nest. I had one line of ants that tracked down the same line to my area and through it. I found some seriously toxic Marine Corps issue insect spray and put an end to that route. I honestly cannot mention Lisa without mentioning Kris, my other girlfriend, who sends me plenty of supplies herself, and my bother Ron, who sent me vital supplies I will detail later. I mention this all out of format of this journal to give praise and credit to the people who most made my stay here bearable, and can’t seem to convey understanding without doing so. The journal conspicuously omits many references to these three people 45

in my life who I was in contact with throughout my tour. In hindsight I admit the anguish experienced concerning my love for both these women, my apology to both, and my expression of true feelings I never shared with Lisa. The time is 1530 hours and we are going to the sand table to review the mission. I made some coffee while transferring information from my small city map to my large Italian one. We’ve been put on hold as second squad is still at the table, and are now sitting in a holding pattern. Now it is 1830 hours, we have had our squad mission brief and precombat inspections, and then went to eat a dinner of pork chops, corn, smashed potatoes, pudding with fruit cocktail in it, a strange blueberry square I didn’t eat, all washed down with chocolate milk, and an orange for desert. I came back here kind of sick, I can’t imagine why! I took a moment to lie down and relax. I then arose to fill my canteens and bring this journal up to date. I wrote a poem satire on the mission and my experience here, it is 2000 hours, and I am now going to bed. September 13 Battlefield

46

13 September The time is 1000 hours and we have just finished breakfast. The over bearing thought in my mind is how one moment we are facing profound danger and the next we are eating hot chow in a secure environment. We have just finished breakfast and are now conducting a round count. I only fired two magazines and two 40mm HE at the enemy today. We were in contact for over an hour and on the ground for nearly three. Chewed up their newspaper then ran like puppy dogs back to our yard, so the helicopters could come in and give them a proper trouncing. Ran a shooting gallery of RPG and Ak-47 fire as we ran next to the Embassy compound wall for nearly six hundred meters, in the open, running from rubble pile to APCs interspersed, shooting as we moved to another covered position. Civilians all interspersed in the target area in disregard of their own safety. The large sprawling building my Company engaged on line was an ex-maternity hospital that in the mission brief was described as bad guy territory that if fired upon, we could only then engage. Well, they fired at us, bullets passing over our heads, an RPG exploding somewhere further down. We left on our mission, a cordon and search, by 0430 hours, arriving in the target area by 0700 hours, and then all hell broke loose. There had been only sporadic firing up until then, and after a fighting withdrawal, we’re all hyped up. Its 1030 hours and word has just come that Bravo Company has taken three casualties, one minor and another shot through his rifle butt into the abdomen. He is in the field hospital now, but in stable condition. I will try to put the whole mission into some order, now. We departed at 0430, our route out a man sized hole in the eastern embassy wall, taking nearly an hour to pass through it, and moved parallel to the wall to its end. There we turned around the wall corner and followed it to the south for nearly six hundred meters. A street led into the neighborhoods to the east, and we entered the area here to move another six hundred meters into this neighborhood. The neighborhood to our right and south was said to be of a friendly clan, while a line of concrete buildings in walled compounds lay over walls to our left.

We had brought ladders to scale these walls. Crossing the lower street-side walls, my squad entered an area between our target house and second squad, led by SSG Dulan, to whom Schneider belongs. Sgt Richards’s team went over into the compound of a building while SSG Tewes and the machine-gun team scaled this wall to gain access to the rooftop. Sgt Richards team tried to exit the same way they went in, but another squad had taken the ladder to scale a short wall and onto their building, while taking Boyd, my team leader with them upon a roof, and putting McClain against the wall just inside and beside the short wall, but not connected to it as it extended just past our support building. The second team of Sgt Richard was trying at this time to scale the wall, around the corner from us, at the point they had gone over, soon Tiejen popped up above the wall top grunting, and I helped him down amidst the thorns of bushes and barbwire, without his weapon. He had a tizzy as the others left to find something to stand on, taking his SAW with them. About five minutes later they returned and handed the weapon over.

47

I joined McClain and took over our team of two and we waited for the rest of the squad to clear the two walls. At this time I went and retrieved the ladder, and SSG Tewes, Allen, Thornton, and the Lt. did their best to climb off the roof onto the glass-studded wall as I took a picture using the flash and freaking everyone out. They all made it off and down, and we assembled in about ten seconds before I was up the ladder and into the rear compound area of our target building with the rest of the squad following. I was told SSG Skiles was coming around the front of our building and the resident was leading them to a weapon he had, flex-cuffed as he was. The weapon was a Romanian AK-47, distinct in its having a wood front handgrip. This weapon was brought out of our squads building. Soon afterwards we heard sporadic gunfire from the next neighborhood over to the east where Bravo Company was operating. There was a short, one-sided firefight. One sided I mean to express how a shot is taken at friendly forces to be answered by maelstrom of responsive firing. Danny McClain, the m-60 machine-gun team of Allen and Thornton, and I held our buildings compound, while SSG Tewes took team one out and across the large open area between our compound and the far wall, about a hundred yards away to clear a couple buildings on the far side. They cleared them, finding them empty, and returned. SSG Tewes set the squad set up on line and punching holes in the flow through top of the exterior walls to make firing ports. I set up next to Allen’s machine-gun on the far side of the wide entry to the courtyard to sprint down a runner that may run as another squad was attempting to flush out with tear gas, but this never happened. We were now on line facing the maternity hospital, with me remaining in place near Allen. We all know it used to be a maternity hospital, as it states so on my Italian map. There were several explosions and sporadic firing, as a sister platoon engages hostile Somalis in their target building, a rocket is said to have been fired from within this building and the troops forced to egress. An explosion from behind us that we all thought was an RPG is said to have been the engineers blowing a hole in the wall paralleling the street so as we egress the battlefield, we do not have to scale the wall again. Nevertheless, the search goes on, when all of a sudden, I view several tongues of flame that unmistakably recognize as rocket launcher back-blast and launch flames from several sources clustered near the adjacent corner of the large open parade ground several hundred meters away. This is third platoons sector, towards the eastern edge of the hospital compound. I yell to SSG Tewes what I have observed and he yells back that it was third platoon firing rockets, but it turns out to be Somali forces engaging third platoon or Bravo Company. Third and second platoon open fire, a loud continuous roar of automatic and individual rifle fire, and Allen fires, I fire, and SSG Tewes yells cease-fire. We didn’t know if we had hit anyone as we were engaging the windows of the hospital complex three hundred meters away, just applying suppressive fire, as there had been a burst of AK-47 fire that had set it all off, and of course the explosions resulting from the volley of enemy rockets. All at once, several AK-47s open fire and the whole Charlie Company line, orientated towards the hospital now, have opened fire, it was spectacular. If you have never heard a rifle company open up on line, it is something to behold, an awesome display of violence and hell. There are several lulls in the firing, but also some heavily sustained engagements lasting five to ten minutes. Range Fan, Sept 13 Firefight

48

Ten AT-4s and several Laws rockets were fired through the windows of the hospital, and SSG Tewes engaged a fourth story blockhouse section at center top of the hospital with an AT-4, scoring a direct hit. We ceased fire to plan our egression in order to allow the Cobra AH-1s to engage, SSG Tewes used a thermite grenade to destroy his expended AT-4 tube, and I was ordered to take point and lead us out towards the wall breach. I was also tasked to pull up tail the end Charlie position of our company and link up with Bravo Company coming behind us. I led out to the road, where the CO was stressing as we tried to consolidate before exiting the compound. We finally managed and I stretch the line out for a hundred meters allowing the remaining platoon section to line up behind us. We were the last squad of the company to exfiltrate. We paralleled the wall to our right, hearing stray Ak-47 rounds passing overhead; I could hear several rifles firing on automatic, another firing single shot, all coming from down the side street to the right. Now there are shots coming from down this street, as we enter the street, more rounds as we formed on either side, and as we file next to the wall. An occasional RPG explodes, M-60s atop the humvees, we call them fastbacks due to their sloped rear, firing down the side streets, and it all got pretty wild for a mad minute there. We were told to sprint across this open area, to the remaining building on the corner across from the embassy wall. Now I am in the open passing Allen’s machinegun position. I expressed to SSG Tewes that I thought I was supposed to link up with Bravo Company’s point element and say I heard shooting to our rear, but SSG Tewes informed me Bravo had already pulled out and just keep moving. As I am the last in line, although passing Allen and Thornton now, and SSG Tewes who drops behind, I observe Sgt. Richard and Cpl. Boyd carrying this ladder, and the question is written on their faces as they observe the scene before them. Allen steps out and shoots the M-60 like Rambo, standing and using recoil to hold it up. SSG Tewes tells the team leaders to drop the ladder and move out. Before us is the six hundred meter open area, there are five Foreign APCs with 25 to 30 mm cannons spaced out firing towards the hospital, troops are using them for cover along with several piles of ruble, moving from APC to ruble pile to APC. RPGs are exploding around the APCs, in the open space between, missing the APCs as they move towards us shooting, and exploding against the wall behind as small arms fire kicks up small spouts of dust or also impact the wall, and into this I move out at double time. Past the first debris pile, an APC is ahead with several soldiers hiding behind it, it pulls away from them, leaving them exposed, and they scatter like cockroaches when the lights come on. The others are coming behind as I move at double time, sucking wind and panting, I shoot as I move, Rock pile, APC, fire, run, shoot, rest, and damn, I fired up a magazine and two 40mm HE as I ran. Busting, finally through the wire barrier at checkpoint two, I turn and lob two 40mm grenades at the large rubble pile in the open area in the far wall where we thought the firing had come from. We find the other two platoons in support lined up next to the embassy wall around the corner. We walk this leg next to the wall going northeast to the breach five hundred meters up the wall. Remember the ducks in the shooting gallery at the county fair? The run from APC to rock pile to APC was on the dirt road next to the embassy compound wall, where the buildings that had lined the other side of the street when we had conducted our first cordon and search mission many weeks before, were now gone, leaving this much wider open space nearly one hundred and fifty meters wide. I guess the engineers have been busy.

49

The mission to link up with Bravo Company was forgotten in haste to extract ourselves, and leaving the APCs, Cobras, and Delta Company gun humvees attached to us to remain for about another half hour to an hour more slugging it out, and I later learn in order to help Bravo Company and Sgt Cork egress. Bravo would try to forgo the shooting gallery by blowing a hole in the embassy wall, only to wound two of their own in the explosion and taking a casualty to small arms fire. As we pass through the UN foreigner tent city and embassy area, CNN, camera crews, support and administration pogues are all checking us out as we stop for a minute to regroup. I was smoked, but we still have a mile walk back to our university compound down through the access road. Now we are back, eating breakfast, cleaning weapons, telling our war stories. We count our ammunition, do an AAR 9after action review) and then showered. All this happening around two replacements we find sitting solemnly on their footlockers in the middle of the platoon area. Sammi would be very demoralized if he only knew of our comforts after the battle. Now I am sitting here drinking a cup of Java, glad to be alive, not wounded and done with it all. I have now returned from a factfinding mission with Ray to Bravo Company’s area. The guy in Bravo Company who was wounded took an Ak-74 round through his rifle buttstock into his abdomen, a perfect hole and they let him keep the stock, by a 5.45, and he’s on his way to Germany. Shrapnel from a rocket used to blow a hole in the wall wounded slightly a lieutenant and another, friendly fire. Scout snipes were covering us from a bunker within the embassy walls. Then the roof of the bunker clasped. Somali gunmen were dressed as women were flanking us, and then pulling off their dresses to bring hidden rifles and RPGs to bear. SSG Henry, the scout sniper, shot a man through a tree with the .50 caliber Barrett, shot another on the balcony of the hospital and Meyers, from Adrian Michigan, stitched his partner next to him with his SAW. They said there were gunmen and civilians scattering to everywhere when Charlie Company opened up. I am sorry about the civilian dead and wounded, although the gunmen have no regard to move them before they ambush us. Their attack was deliberate, well coordinated and came from three sides. They had their shit together; I can’t understand why we avoided any casualties. They couldn’t match our firepower and the airpower that came later. It seems the air held their fire until we left. We had two or three Cobras gunships with spotter OH-58s up at one time. All together hey fired over twelve thousand rounds of 20mm and I know I heard TOW missiles detonations, as well as 2.75-inch rockets. They said the dead and wounded were lying all over the battlefield, and all this happening within sight of our embassy compound. After Charlie egressed to here, the APC support withdrew, and Bravo had to rely on 1/87 AT section fastback humvees and the Cobras to suppress the sniper and RPG fire. They, the Sammi’s must be on kyat or other drugs to want to attack us from amidst their women and children and want to stand up to us like this. Leaves me to wonder, and I know I could have killed or wounded some myself. It’s 1515 hours now. Our interpreter Omar says that this area was Aideed’s tribe and his neighborhoods, and that it has always been a hot spot. Well, he just had a portion of his tribe shot to hell. 14 September I had guard at 0330, but was awakened at 0245 by a long burst of machine-gun fire. I used to sleep right through such occurrences. Guard was easy, as I reflected on the past, and paid less attention to fatigue, it comes with the territory. We did a round-robin ( a circuit exercise where each member in line picks a suitable exercise to administer to the group) PT, and then were told we’re to be ready by 0900, as the Nigerians are going 50

to try to take back the territory the Sammi’s chased them off and killed three of them. Charlie Company is their QRF, so we’ll probably see action today, to cover their retreat, that is. I’ve eaten a breakfast of the usual, fried eggs, pancakes, and raisin-bran – oh and the same drinks, and I am showered and dressed now. I am going to drink a cup of Java and sew my airborne wings on my tri-color desert top. We’ve got this NCO, no-one likes him, we all think he’s an asshole with on brains or common sense, he just tries to bully soldiers with his rank, I only mentioned his name in the original text, not here. Around 1000 hrs we went out to the local sand trap and filled sand bags to finish our machine-gun bunker at the end of our building, finishing this around 1045 hrs, and at 100 hrs we all headed up to the formation area in front of HQ; had a three company formation for the ‘Atta-boys’ from Ltc. David and CSM Counts. It was the best one we’ve ever gotten. Back here I sewed airborne wings on a top of tri-color DCU’s, and finished with that, I’m eating Del Monty pineapple and Hormel chili washed down with a Shasta cola. I lay down for a nap at 1230 hrs and relaxed for about a half an hour; then come word to get it on, as we were on alert to bail out the Nigerians. My squad was tasked to ride two humvees to scout out the route and we actually loaded onto the hummers, but dismounted upon word that only the vehicles were moving up towards the embarkation point. We sat around for about an half an hour and then were told to stand down, as the Rangers were taking over. I guess they wanted the mission since they missed the one yesterday. Jealous of our adventure maybe, so now we are on standby, standby! At least we haven’t started the sandbag thing again, which was supposed to start at 1300 hrs. It’s now 1430 hrs and we’re all hanging out waiting. We were alerted again around 1445 hrs, but no sooner put on our gear, went outside, and were told to stand down. So now I’m here with my shirt off waiting once more. Nothing else happened this night. 15 September I’m breaking from tradition at this point. During the last month and a half I’ve been reporting the changes regularly, but there is a noticeable and apparent pattern. Routine and familiar regularities that remain constant including food, showers, details and PT. Changes may include missions, incidents, and funnies that effect attitude and mood. Things of this nature I’ll try to write down. Such as today for example, I’ll report on my notice of three cabooms a ways off. This was verified, as between 1000 and 1100 hrs we received three mortar impacts down past the last tier of buildings. Our mortars returned the favor, a counter barrage, as they now have clearance to return fire, three for three. That’s the exciting news, I think, as we ran for PT and I sat and read for most of the day, in between our filling sandbags and then playing volleyball. I just found out at 2110 hrs that one American was wounded by the enemy mortars. Sammi I’ll now refer to as just ‘Enemy’. I hear eleven persons were wounded all told today, but I don’t know how. I’m going to call it a night and crash. I’ve been thoughtful of our battle and things, pieces of the puzzle, and personal acts various people say they had done. Goodnight. PS, if anything unusual does occur, like good food or interesting news, I think it’ll be better than a thousand pages of the same ole-same ole..; Significant note, I’m writing ‘again’. I wrote my second piece in Somalia tonight; Love and war. 16 September PT was good, the run was long and slow till the last ten minutes, which we ran at a killer pace. The next two hours we spent organizing, packing rucks and spring-cleaning. I packed a small box and sent it home. The mail here is in expensive. As I accumulate things, maybe cloths and things received in the mail, I may want to lighten my burden and mail some of it home. Later I will have to mail the Axis and Allies home, this game I 51

want to keep. I then made my way up to the PX and bought a PT shirt, a six-pack of Coke and some M&M.’s. After returning to the platoon area, I joined the platoon to fill sand bags and we finished lining the wall paralleling the long hall connecting all the rooms. We lined all the exterior walls from the ground to the base of the airflow bricks six to eight feet above the exterior ground level. I’m going out side to take some pictures now. I took a long hot shower this morning and washed my pt shirt during with hand soap and shampoo. I am going to wash my shorts when I shower tonight. It’s almost six PM now, another day down. The LT came in, said hospital employees told the Unisom people that last count was forty-five to sixty confirmed dead, and not all casualties are counted as yet. Our mortar counter-fire yesterday tallied four dead, six wounded to our one friendly wounded. Ten to one, that’s what I said yesterday, but I meant we should fire thirty rounds to their (Sammi’s) three. The night is young, it’s only 1820 hrs. I am trying to do crossword puzzles now, not anything significant, just new; I’ve torn one up already, hah! 17 September It must be winter, as it seems to be cooling. I have been sleeping in PT sweat pants comfortably. We did an abbreviated PT this morning, then chowed and showered, dressed and readied our heads for the MSR. I am spending this dead time doing word search and crosswords. Sergeants Major of the Army Richard Kidd is on his way, so we have to get our selves personally squared away for that visit. It’s 2115 hrs and I am relaxing now, as we have settled into our bunkers. I’m on the MSR, about half way from the university and the airfield, which is also about half way from fort Apache, the first checkpoint, and the refinery, the last checkpoint. McClain and I are in the second bunker from the north edge of the position, with Allen and his machine-gun in the first bunker near the road. I took some pictures earlier, when we arrived here of the position, when we tore it apart and have not yet finished rebuilding. We tried to reinforce the walls with sand bags and were not yet started when a crack developed in the sand wall directly below the sand bagged wall and I yelled bale out. We were out of there, combat rolling out of our fighting openings. It didn’t collapse, but we, McClain and I tore off the roof we had previously torn apart and remodeled. Now there is no overhead cover, but we completely rebuilt the wall from bottom of the hole at three to four feet below grade to three feet above grade. Four by four timbers will set on these top sand bags, with either an airforce aluminum pallet or plywood for the two layers of sandbags on the bunker roof, we had plywood. It looks great. Next we rebuilt the short wall and our firing ports facing the wire, using the historic short way-long way-alternating bag laying pattern, where for the walls I chose to lay all bags with ties facing out for tidiness, and aesthetics, sort of keep the cob webs down and draining sand to a minimum. Remember, by now I am bunker hardened and sensitive to their design and its limitations. When the SGM of the Army Kidd toured our not yet finished hole, when questioned I could only feint ignorance to ovoid insolence, if you could understand rank sensibilities. I stood there in my Specialist ignorance and stammered out some excuse, certainly not willing to profess my real reasons. We finished about 1930 hrs or so, as its dark now, the stars are out and we’ll have no moon tonight, I’m writing this at the bottom of our hole by green chem-light suspended from 550 cord tied from the overhead. Right now, the layout of the hole is like an obtuse angle L, sort of a hole with a tail. I made it a teardrop to show all the hard work and pain that came with rebuilding it. Out in the perimeter I fired about six illumination rounds from my M203, as SSG Tewes and SSG Skiles thought they were hunting something, they went about fifty meters outside the wire, checking, but nothing was there. 52

Earlier, at 1530 hrs, we were drawn from our work here to investigate up the road towards the refinery at a small cluster of peasant shacks I’ll call Pleasantville, which lay against the dunes that stretched towards the southwest. A passing convoy reported sniper fire directed at them, and had returned fire with an M-2 .50 caliber heavy machine-gun. My squad minus Gimber and Boyd went by humvee to assist 2nd platoon and some MPs in their search. We found no sniper or weapon, although 2nd platoon found a whole box of electric detonator caps, and some odd weapon parts, so we scored in that way. Those items won’t be used against us to mine the road. We came back to bunker-ill and commenced filling about twenty sand bags and then our evening chow arrived. I ate the rice and chili, which was chili hot, with MRE bread, an apple (green), and peas and carrots, all washed down with a Shasta cola. I was starved, too. I just killed a walking stick, African model, harmless, but I can’t have it walking across my face freaking me out when I’m already conscious of the many spiders, centipedes and scorpions that roamed the night. We killed a small ten-inch pit viper that was hiding between the sandbags of the wall we tore down. We can’t have him crawling around scaring the shit out of us tonight, either. Hope momma snake isn’t around. Anyway, between six solid hours of digging, and one of searching in full combat gear, I was starved, and didn’t get enough to eat, and was tired, too. Two guard shifts tonight, first at 2330 to 0030 hrs, and then at 0430 to 0530 hrs. SSG Skiles just stopped by, says him and SSG Tewes are still working on their hole. Theirs lies between the one shared by Sgt Richards and Tiejens and mine. Boyd didn’t come out, so I’m playing team leader with McClain as my team! When we first arrived, a crowd of peasant kids and teens gathered near the road side of our position wanting handouts, and wouldn’t leave when told to, so SSG Tewes (just killed a spider I flicked off my shirt, yikes) showed them a tear gas grenade and made threats, also warning us of his intentions. They all moved away, but not quickly enough. He pointed his weapon menacingly, as several lagged fifty to seventy meters away not convinced. He fired a shot off to the side into the road-edge embankment. This still didn’t hurry them, then he shot about ten feet off to the side of them; that hastened the whole crew, they flew! It was a good learning experience for all of us destined to lead. Definitely got results and they haven’t been back. Well, it’s time for a nap, it’s 2100 hours. I hope the creepy-crawlies leave me be, but I doubt they will. 18 September It’s another day, now all of 0620 hrs. I divided my morning guard with a chew and grape Now-or-Laters. Must try to shave real quickly now. There’s sand all over my face, a gritty film. I picked up my pussy pad and poncho liner, and took off my desert parka. Sgt Richards comes by with a canteen cup of coffee to share, made my morning. Now I’m ready to face the day. Breakfast isn’t here yet, although the 1st Sergeant was spotted on his way to get it. I ate half a box of Wheat-Thins, and didn’t eat the breakfast when it came; I ate the rest of my sunflower seeds and Wheat-Thins. I’ve been working hard all morning; I’ve got the pictures to prove it! Sergeants Major of the Army Richard A. Kidd was just through here and talked with us, asking the usual health and welfare questions and some about our fighting position. Asked why I had lain all the side wall bags the same, side by side with the ties facing out, said he never saw that pattern in the army, but I pointed out to him the forward wall facing the wire was done in the traditional alternating pattern. He gave McClain and I his card, told us he wanted to test our mail system here, and to write him after leaving the field, and he would write back and send us his official coin, as coins are a big thing in the army. We’re eating lunch now, chili, applesauce, a can of Coke, all supplied by my ruck, and now I’ve got some other snacks to finish with. It’s now almost 53

1630 hrs and our bunker is eighty percent finished, and still spent a lot of time rapping with individuals, visitors, let’s see, Sgt Richard, Allen, and Thornton have visited us here. We still need to name it, and it’s the best bunker I’ve seen; deep and roomy with lots of ventilation; large entrance and M-60 size firing ports. We’ve thirteen hours of labor on it so far. Sergeants Major liked it, albeit asking about my new method of laying sandbags, though. He was all right, a rather likable man. 1900 hrs and I’m getting ready to crash, as I have guard for forty-five minutes until 2230 hrs. 2nd squad went out to this peasant’s hooch, almost 250 to 300 meters down the road from us, off in a hollow, to search for weapons and so forth. 1st squad covered them, and chow had arrived, so we started the chow line as they were almost back. I’m writing in a cramped position by flashlight. A truck came by and dropped off some skids to use for top cover – SSG Tewes was pissed, as he wanted real bunker engineering material. His bunker still has no overhead-cover. We’ve put ours on, so we’re squared away, and we’ll put a second layer of sandbags on top tomorrow, and dig our communications trench to the other bunkers. We sat around after dinner telling basic and Drum training stories. Our second day gone, tomorrow and half of Monday, we’ll be clean! We’ve gotten word that the SMA helicopter took incoming RPG fire at the Embassy helipad and the University compound was mortared again today. Sammi’s getting brazen, changing tactics. The Rangers did something today; we could see their activity from here. We can see the southern outskirts of the Moge from here, from the Indian Ocean to the MSR and northward. 19 September I awoke sometime in the early morning, after my 0245-0330 hr guard, with sand cascading from the sandbag wall. At first I listened sniffing or footsteps, but hearing nothing, and the falling sand continued. I slowly but noisily grabbed my big Mag-Light, shining it over the whole area near my firing port. Seeing an area near the top where I noticed a small quarter sized hole with sand falling from it. I got up and grabbed my machete, pushing it several times into the whole area. The falling sand stopped. I have no idea what it was, insect or something reptile. Also woke up when I felt dripping on my poncho. The chem-lite in our rafters was leaking, and now I had a small luminous spot on my poncho, and small, scattered droplets everywhere. It looked like a small planetarium. 0600 hr wakeup and I have cut the bottom from a water bottle and am shaving from the newly made cup, and wiped all the sand from my neck, ears, and face. Feels good, and I’m kind of hesitant to dig anymore, as I would like to stay clean. I next made a canteen cup of instant coffee, and ate dry oatmeal and crackers for breakfast. I also cleaned my weapon of accumulated sand and rust. Thornton’s here now, and telling us all he thinks he knows. A convoy stopped a short while ago, up the road in the Northern valley; UN escorted five-ton trucks, and we kept them under observation, as SSG Tewes on top of my bunker, from which we were scoping out a Sammi teen near the road a hundred meters down into the valley. We thought maybe he was going to bury a commanddetonated mine. He felt the 51.17 degrees of chill go down his spine and decided it was time to leave. Chow is here, it’s 0830 hrs, later!. Assholes, it’s 0845 and I’m done! One box of HoneyCrunch cornflakes and one box of milk-A slice of MRE (long shelf life) bread and an apple! Ya, right! Good thing I have enough thought to supplement our supply system-Experience. Here’s SSG Tewes saying he’s an international soldier-has French instant coffee, German zucker, and Saudi-Arabian water while drinking it all out of his US Army canteen cup, in Africa. Oh yeah, I also have five and a half ounces of apple juice! Thanks cooks, who take Sunday off and are the first ones to go RnR to 54

Kenya. They and the regular HQ pogues all got four RnR slots each, while the line only gets six per company, on rotation between the companies’s. I’m going to dig for a while, now, digging about twenty scoops, making me have to go to see the shitter across the road. While doing my business, a Somalian boy walked by on the road, and stopped in front of the MP bunkers on the other side of the road that stand on the birm just down the road from our last bunker. I walked toward him motioning for him to leave, pointing either up or down the road, saying I don’t care which way, just go, firmly. He nodded and pointed the way he had come. I also indicated, and he left as a group of eight to ten boys of teen age was headed out of the valley toward us. I think they had sent the first boy to stand and see if we would chase away. I did, and they waved at me questioningly. I waved back a sort of beat it, and they did. It’s now 1030 hrs, and I am taking a break from digging our entrance to our recently finished communications trench. An exhausting job, so am taking a long break, so it’s almost 1600 hrs. Started to read my book and study my E-5 guide, as Allen showed up, so we engaged in some reminiscing, until Sgt Richard showed up and most of our talk turned to technical jargon, and I disengaged by picking my book up, just finishing it a minute ago, it was Bloodline, by Sidney Sheldon, and started reading it in the middle, so it wasn’t too boring. 1700 hrs now, and just finished the connecting communications trench and am now feeling dehydrated, as its easy to get that way out here sweating and overheating. I chugged a liter and half of water, and I am up to get more, now. I spent the dusk hours rapping outside with the two NCO’s SSG Skiles and Tewes, Tiejen, Allen and Thornton about everything and anything, joking, jiving, and jabbering, as we watched SSG Tewes finish their small section of communication trench. Now we have all four bunkers connected by trench. It’s just a pain in the ass getting in and out of them. The only steps are at the end up at Allen’s M-60 bunker. Allen and I drilled each other on Study guide material we had gone over earlier today. I stole a red chemlite from the Lt’s box, or someone’s, and that red glow is what I am writing this by. I can hear some of the guys up by the CP J, J and Jaying. I am getting ready to crash. It’s our last night out, but we still have guard, and tonight my squad has to run two patrols around our parameter out to the dead spaces in the lowlands. To sleep by 1930 hrs, and slept until midnight, but was awake for a while leaning on my ruck, wondering when guard was coming around. I woke Danny up, wondering, and he said he’d been awake wondering, too, so I went and found Thornton listening to football, and he said it was Danny next, in ten minutes. September 20 I was up again at 2445 hrs for my first guard, last in line and supposed to awaken Sgt Richards and Tiejen at the end of my guard, and then remain as they finish their sweep. I didn’t see them through their movement until they were more than halfway around and in an open space. Nods are good, but not perfect. I finally crashed and dreamed all night. Dreamed I was preparing for an airborne drop and at the same time, well, it was all sketchy, but at one point a woman I was seeing had very voluptuous lips; Faith and a daughter she left with me. I woke up wishing I had a daughter. Strange. I have never kissed in a dream before. I’m up and on my last guard at 0530-0600 hrs, first call, live with Memorex. I took some pictures of the new digs; I have made coffee, which is good, a mixture of Tasters Choice MRE coffee and the German kaffee-extract from their MRE, with Arabian water; getting ready to shave now, and wipe some of the sand from my face, neck, and ears. Yes, I splashed water on my notepad. These things a soldier learns to close his mind and do the things mechanically, priorities of work; I cleaned my rifle after I made coffee. I shaved after I cleaned my rifle; I eat after I have 55

shaved and washed; I’ll brush my teeth when I get back to shower. I forgot to bring my toothbrush, so I have got the three-day dog-shit-in-my-mouth breath and a layer of accumulated meals on or between my teeth. As I said, you become automated. Like the long road marches or movements in either cold or hot weather; you shut off your thought processes and do things mechanically, one step in front of the other with. A slight adjustment in how you set down your foot to compensate for a hot spot. Step gingerly on slippery snow and ice covered terrain, or lift your legs higher in snow or sand. So these are the small details your mind concentrates to overcome; the balancing of weight on your back is an important factor. Your legs must be wider and you may lean forward when moving up hill. In Panama I nearly brought my knees to my chest, stepping that way while leaning forward, face into the hill, grabbing vines, trees, rocks and anything I could grip. That radio just about kicked my ass. On a thirty-mile road march my sock picked up a small pebble that stayed in my boot for the last six of seven miles, making it the most present thing in my mind until we hit pavement and there was no longer a soft shoulder to walk on; then every blister, rub or hot spot yelled for recognition. My point is, out here the enemy is the ever-present blowing sand. I first had to remove the layer of sand before I could shave. Feels great! Now I look forward to washing my hair. Yesterday, the enemy was a three day old sweat and sand saturated t-shirt. The change of a shirt helps to provide the comfort needed to maintain morale, and keeps the mind from thinking about the discomforts. Lets you fool yourself by providing a chance to improve your misery. The one driving task was improving my bunker, which symbolizes my house, my refuge, a place to retire and get out of the elements, hide! It’s built the best it could be built. The best bunker on the hill. Bunker hill. Fifteen hours of back bending, muscle machining deliberate design. It has personality and character; I put curves where others would put corners. It’s shaped like a teardrop, with firing ports at the bulge, and opening at the tip of the rear point, to symbolize the crying it took to complete it. I’m going to miss this bunker. I hope the next occupants treat it well. (The Indians took it over, razed the site, and destroyed everything). They can’t hurt it, but they may try to change something. Maybe I’ll be back, someday, to set things right. It is now 0730 hrs, and I am going to finish repacking my ruck and maybe eat, but at 0830 I’m watching everyone else eating breakfast, and I’m not interested. Somedays, you just don’t eat. We’re all, at least four of us, setting around my bunker sharing time and words, SSG Tewes came by, said we were drawing too much attention sitting on top of it, so Thornton and McClain went inside, saying ‘hey, you guys are drawing too much attention’. I told them ‘there are only two of us up here now’, that they made the sacrifice to reduce our numbers, and we thank them kindly. Allen’s here with me, eating an orange. It’s 0900 hrs now, two more hours to go, sitting here looking at another colorful bird - dark blue and black with copperish belly – there are so many colorful, exotic birds here, makes me wish I had a better camera. This is an interesting place to study new life, or life foreign to us, and the bugs, too. Although I have seen some that are common to the states, katydids and stick bugs for example. We moved our gear towards the front entrance to the wire, next to the road. We did a police call in our area, and then stood around talking to Doc until we spotted the trucks coming a mile away. We loaded and sat waiting for 2nd platoon. Three Somalis came up trying to sell a piece of pottery, necklaces, and several canes. Thornton took one offered to him, teased, threatened to hit, played cat, and mouse with the Somali until the Lt. made him give it back. Ivey offered them a grenade, but they declined. We finally left and arrived back at the university, waving to the Bravo Co replacements on our way past the various checkpoints. We cleared and dry-fired our 56

weapons into the sand barrels, and climbed back onto the trucks, which carried us to our barracks, the last classrooms of the second from top tier on the far side from the main entrance. Riding beats walking the quarter mile from the weapons clearing point. This is a place to the right, just inside the entrance, where we make sure no weapons have a chambered round. We detrucked, walked into an area ringed with birm, to a sand filled barrel that we aim our rifles into and dry-fire into the sand, according to stepped instructions on a sign near the barrel. The first time I did this after our first cordon and search mission, I forgot to clear my 40mm grenade, but, we don’t dry fire the grenade launcher, that would be a hell of a surprise when that went off into the barrel, so I made it half way back to the barracks with a loaded grenade, and cleared it when I thought no one was watching. So, we didn’t feel like walking to the far side of the compound, and once back, we unloaded our gear and trash. I struggled to put on my ruck and picked up two garbage bags, which I discarded at the trash area near the wire, also the area where we form for PT. The showers were down, so after cleaning weapons we had to shower in the conex shed shower mockup, a communal shower. It isn’t very morale inspiring. I leaned into my cot back at the nest and read newspaper articles and my Vietnam magazine until I felt the urge to defecate. I heard helicopter gunship 20mm cannon fire while in the head, around 1900 hrs. An RPG round impacted somewhere in the compound around 2100 hrs. People playing darts kept me awake, so I put on my Sony earphones. I had guard, or CQ come around to me at 2300-24 hrs. Guard went pretty well. Returned to my cot and crashed. September 21 First call as usual, 0530 hrs. There was no water so couldn’t shave, but I brushed my teeth. PT was an assortment of things, all easy. I thought I would be in worse shape from all the digging. Pushups, side straddle-hops, mountain climbers, and a two-mile or so run. Chow was cold, but filling, but still no water to wash my hands. Heard a rumor that we may be approved the CIB for our action on the 13th of September, and that lead elements of the 9th Regiment may be here by November. They must be armor or mechanized, I am not familiar with this unit. Yesterday, Alpha Company did a cordon and search, and blew a hole in a wall with C-4, killing a woman. They also received an incoming RPG, and so shot in indiscriminately in all directions. Their only kill was the one woman. They must have felt left out, after Bravo and Charlie’s action, and had to try to start a fight. Their people said it was a real firefight, but some people with them, possibly the AT hummers, whom had fought with us said they weren’t receiving fire, and didn’t know what they were shooting at. The scouts confirmed that to me. There’s still no water this morning. My shorts looked like I shit myself during the night, or rather during the run; a big brown malaria pill induced shit stain, disgusting, and I can’t take a shower. That pisses me off! While taking a .50 caliber Machine gun class, we heard that the Pakistani’s had been ambushed just outside the embassy gates or walls. Bravo on QRF was put on alert to relieve them, but stood down, and we were on a one-hour recall, as we’re on training cycle, now. I saw helicopters over that way and heard several explosions. I also remember hearing automatic gunfire this morning. We have a class on the M-19 grenade launcher (automatic) this afternoon at 1300hrs. I went to the Scouts area to get .50 caliber rounds for the .50 cal class, but they were off, probably supporting the Pakistani’s with sniper fire. SSG Tewes came up with rounds from somewhere, though, and now its 1200 noon. Ray just told me another rumor that we may be home by thanksgiving. I had my weapon checked by non-military armory specialists who are performing a house call. My 57

gas inlet tube on top of the bolt carrier was notched on several places, dead lining it, but obviously operable. One of their team went and retrieved some nuts for a new carrier from Sword Base. Now I’ve a new carrier, so I’m so happy! We went out and had a class on the M-19 40mm grenade launcher. It’s in a bunker on top of HQ. We9Charlie0 pull a tour of guard on it. I went to the Swedish PX to pick up my developed pictures, found it under new management and not open, but for Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, so try again tomorrow. I tried to get some rest between reading my book and listening to music, had to pull CQ from 2300 to 2400 hrs, and that finished off my night. Except for the slow trickle of a faucet only, I poured a soap dish of water over me to rinse the lather, but a shower is a shower and clean is clean, at the least the feeling of being cleaner than you were. September 22 Light PT this morning, a few Jumping jacks, stretching and a two mile run, we were finished early to prepare for a jaunt to the orphanage on Afgui Road, several miles out Northwest of Mogadishu. Breakfast was good, eggs, pancakes, and bacon. We loaded onto trucks full of tents and drove to the orphanage, and when we arrived, I fell on my ass when I jumped over the side, a two-point landing, and lost my boot knife, but Boyd found and returned it to me, or else the refugees would have had it. Took some pictures from the top of the – just took incoming, as I’m writing this, 2020hrs- MG’s fired ten minutes ago, and I recorded the outgoing on audio. Yes, I took pictures of the orphanage from the roof of the dispensary. We unloaded a truck full of apples, oranges, grapefruit, and other foodstuffs, or they unloaded them, hard to believe. Watched one woman come out of the dispensary with bleeding from what – another round incoming at 2030 hrs, shook the ground, but sounded far away- appeared to be a miscarriage -another incoming at 2032, far away- Watch from top of building as I sat and listened to a Special Forces soldier tell some of what he knew of the theatre, I recorded him on audio, and watched as many pregnant women come and left –another incoming at 2033, louder, they’re getting closer, wow, another landed at 2034, lights will be off before too long. On our way out of the orphanage –another round, the sixth, at 2035- I threw one of the begging children – a seventh and final round, they’re now saying we’re firing 81 mm Mortar illumination, yeah out going, makes sense- we’re just on the jump, that’s all- a bag of caramels, and then threw some starbursts and an Atomic Fireball; that caused fights as there’s too many kids and not enough candy. I saw a Somali try to take a bite out of a MRE heater once. The rest of the day consisted reading, eating and napping. Watched some television and read a lot of my new Tom Clancy book. I also watched my tapes on the tube. I ate a hamburger and hotdog for dinner, and a real salad with onions, tomatoes, and cucumbers! I went to the Swedish PX earlier, note said they would be closed all week, assholes. Took a luke warm shower and now I’m reading. Listened to and taped a soldier bitch session or part of it, with the chaplain, and an NCO session, also.

23 September Time is passing, as all time does pass, whether slow or fast, time won’t last, will eventually, inevitably pass, and casts, either a smile or a shadow.., in all long last…we’ll feel the affect…slow or fast. 58

Love is forever, all trials it will weather, no course can sever through loves long endeavor…Love has always lived in our past, encompasses all…in love long last. PT was short, in intensity at least, a run down to the next level and around the block. We did a Sgt Richard round robin rotating station type PT. it wasn’t enough to pick up my target heart rate or exercise much at all. Breakfast was fresh scrambled eggs, pancake, pear-halves, pancake flower bread, orange juice and chocolate milk. I came back and studied my E-5 study guide, and then had to keep busy so I cleaned my weapon of rust, run a bore brush through it, and knocked off some dust and sand. I cleaned my promask of its slight sand, thanking Richards for his finger-drill and keep busy plan. I then settled down to read my book until I became tired-awakened at 1330 by Boyd for me to get busy on nothing. I got up and took a piss, and then opened a can of Shasta-coke, and started writing in this journal. I heard an explosion earlier, somewhere. It’s almost 1400 hours now, another day passing, one more closer to home. It’s about 1800hrs now, did PT of pushups 50-40-30-20 and setups alternately, and finished up with ten pull-ups. The end of PT we played volleyball, my team winning three games. Dinner chow was a lettuce salad with cucumbers and bell peppers, chicken gruel and peas, cranberry sauce, fruit cocktail, and a brownie all washed down with apple juice, oh yeah-Thousand Island dressing – I’m stuffed. I am going to finish the evening reading. It’s late now, 2210, and I hear we were mortared today, as at around 1300 hours, four or five mortar rounds were walked into the perimeter a ways off. I was napping, siesta and missed it, but was awakened for a second small one, or I thought I had heard an explosion. I’m still reading, but will probably crash soon. We just took an incoming round, probably an RPG. Schneider just came in and said the rifle fire I just heard was outside the wire, right behind him. I told him ‘I wonder why the bunkers didn’t fire back?’ Ray said, ‘Probably sleeping up there,’ but I doubt it, there are too many bunkers for everyone to be asleep. They’re awake and shooting flares now. 24 September Up at 0400 for last guard, so I’m making some coffee for another day and another half dollar. We are having a change of command ceremony, as Col. Dallas is leaving, so all ops have been put on hold, except MSP and Airfield guard which we’ve picked up again. I can’t wait to get that, where at least I can shower. It’s almost 0600 and I’ve awakened the sleepy platoon. I read my guard away, a big illuminated target. It’s a good thing there are no snipers out there. PT consisted of a long run, with the first half slow, and the last quick, trying to get people to fall out, We ran past and around the Embassy, on the road next to the wall, just on the other side of where we broke contact during the battle of the 13th September. I took a shower in my PT uniform and washed them with shampoo. Breakfast chow consisted of only a pancake and two boxes of fruit loops and one of frosted flakes, a bit of a sweet tooth this morning. I drove the Company commander, Cpt. Whetstone, 1st Sgt. Doody, Lt. Hanes, SFC Borhan, and SSG Skiles by humvee over to the hospital on the other side of the Embassy to visit Cpl. Hall who was hospitalized with a 102+-degree fever. It’s undetermined what the problem is. We stopped by the German PX and we mostly bought an ice cream. After visiting hall, and my recording an interview with the 1st Sgt., I drove them all back up here to the company area. Then I regained my area to remove my Kevlar cover and flak vest cover to be washed. Now I’m going to read at 1200 hours, and I fell asleep reading. I woke up to a 59

flash and Greenly laughing as he had taken my picture while I was sitting on my cot with my back against my shelf – Boom, Boom 1915 hours, -Boom, Boom, some large explosions a long way off – mosquito net dropped, my book in my lap, yes, I fell asleep. Boom, Boom and its getting closer; Boom, boom, boom, boom, and ten in all, sounds like Sammi hit the airfield. I went out to a Dragon AT Missile Thermal night sight class and then another boom, (eleven rounds in five minutes). Class was interrupted so we could go handle the mail – boom, and twelve now. We went to the wrong place and ended up sitting around for an hour until someone told us Sgt Smith was at the post office. So we made it there and loaded a five-ton truck with boxes and two mail bags; mail call, goodgreat! - for morale. I went to the Swedish PX – it was open, and they had my pictures, they cost $6.50 and only 17 were developed. Pretty good shots, though. Back here at the platoon area I was in time for a class, or the ass end of one on the AT-4. From this event, I came back here and read until SFC Borhan told us if we weren’t outside in five, we would have a PT test. We went out and my team won two games of volleyball. I came back in after a few sets of curls and so forth, and got dressed for CQ. Went back out and watched Schneider and Burek beat Carol and Baker at horseshoes. I then went and ate a good dinner. I was feeling bad, but dinner helped. After dinner, I pulled my CQ, reading the whole time. After CQ (around the corner and down the hall ten meters.), I came back here and here I am now, at 1930 hours, and I am undressing now. Boom, number thirteen at 1935 hours, another boom!..and Boom, Boom – this could go on all night. Boom – I wonder what is shooting at what? Maybe counter-battery fire, but I don’t hear our mortars, maybe they’re Cobras, I don’t know. Boom, lost count, but it might be at the airfield, maybe Hunter on the MSR. Boom, Boom, and its 1940 hours now. Boom, Boom – It sounds like a real war. Boom – Boom- close, Boom, Boom, Boom, Boom, sounds like artillery, the shriek of air displacement, then the explosion sound. Boom, Boom, so cool is the sound of battle. The word now is that it’s an American helicopter or more, and some people can actually see the flashes. They must be pounding something to hell. Probably 2.75 inch rockets on Littlebirds. It’s almost 2100 now, and the XO says it was the Rangers. They were still operating out there somewhere, taking over our snatch Aideed mission. Range Fan, Sept 25 recovery mission.

CRASH SITE RECOVERY

60

Ray Schneider and Author September 25 Battlefield

25September Rude awakening at 0200 hours, ‘Get it on’, and we loaded trucks by 0210 and were off towards the rumor – a downed aircraft – leaving our compound sometime between 0220 to 0230 hours. Leaving the front gate, we turned right into the city past the Embassy, and right past the north side of the hospital we shot up twelve days ago. Lucky we didn’t get ambushed. We turned toward the airfield via the K-4 traffic circle to pick up a fire-truck, but someone decided it wasn’t coming with, so we just passed through the airfield perimeter road and out the east gate up and along a ridge that stretched towards downtown and Newport, about two klicks east of the airfield. It was no mans land, border area between two rival clans. We were stopped on the main north/south high ridge road east of the crash site and received word the crash site was receiving small arms fire, but were still on the trucks when an Egyptian convoy of M113 APC’s passed through us, and it was the Egyptians, who had come and rescued our pilots. The pilots were wounded, burned, and one was blind. The one who could see had held off a group of Somalis, killing two, until he was out of Ammunition, had sat down, and a Somali boy came to them, said to follow him and led them to a building to hide. The boy then, either led them to an Egyptian checkpoint or led the Egyptians to them. I don’t know for sure. The pilots had 50% burns over their body area. We moved from the second truck towards the rear of the convoy, where we turned right down a wide street with modern buildings, still evident in the dark night, the large buildings with large wide side streets, each doorway and window a darker square. We 61

moved down this street for four to five hundred meters of city blocks, coming to an intersection at the bottom of a long sloping hill. The cross street loomed in front of me, as we moved down on either side of the street, myself on the left side. I came up on two humvees exchanging machine-gun fire with targets down the street to the left, and further up the street to the West. There was a fire burning in the intersection, which I mistook for a tire-fire roadblock, on the opposite corner from the two humvees. I crossed behind the humvees, screening my night vision almost in the middle of the intersection, as most of my platoon moved to the right past the fire. We immediately took incoming fire from down the street to the left and up the street to the west. The humvees continued to return fire, and the arriving company deployed to the other side of the intersection taking up positions along the western edge of the road. I had run across the intersection running directly into a scrap pile of broken wood and corrugated steel sheets, almost tripping on it, hearing my name shouted as I made my way through the debris and past the fire to the sound of my squad leader’s voice, sounding off my presence as I arrived. –sorry, flare scared me-an Ak-47 only 40-50 meters to our left, no place to hide, it got pretty anxious with fire from all around, three sides now. I finally ran through the roadblock looking fire and joined my team, not looking at the fire to save my night vision. On arriving and announcing my arrival, McClain and I were positioned across the street from where the rest of the platoon faced west towards the cities heart, and McClain and I were watching an alley on the far side of the fighting. The firing is mostly us, but there is enough incoming to worry a person, and demand a response and the crescendo is quite loud. SSG directs McClain and I to join the M60 on the other side of the road, and we move to a small concrete escarpment and set up in the light of the fire facing down an alley between two large four story buildings. Meanwhile, 1st and 2nd squad blast this building with the help of 1/87 M60 and M-19 gun hummers and our m60 teams. One gun team was set up with us, but were called away to assist the fires on the other side of the street. The firing behind us was tremendous, but McClain and I were intent on our alley and missed the light show. It must have been horrific. The people who shuffled out of them the next morning unarmed and unmolested, may later need therapy. Twenty feet to the right is the fire, which I still have not looked at, and Danny says, “Hey, look at that helicopter,” I’m thinking what helicopter and he indicates the fire. It’s then that I glance to the right and peer at and into the fire, finding flames licking up past melted props and the mast protruding as if a fiery funeral pier from the middle of the thirty by thirty feet of what I now realize is flaming fuel and burning airframe and luckily, all ammunition on board had already cooked off. McClain and I stayed in this position until 0530, first light, with the dawn breaking beyond the buildings to our front and the fire-fight having carried on for thirty-five to forty minutes behind us, to the right in the intersection and extending down the street to our left. First light revealed a blind alley between the building the Helicopter had hit, and a massive gray cement structure all of four stories and a hundred meters down the street to our left. The rest of the squad had occupied this building, climbing over the triple concertina protecting it. On the open veranda along the building or just inside, a Somali was encountered, apprehended and commenced to wail as if he was being mistreated. About 0530, we were called to join SSG Tewes up on the roof, four stories above the battle.. I asked how much of the building was secured, was told just this stairwell. This was a massive building, a sort of large administrative building, with wide corridors, rooms, and stairwells leading to the roof. The roof was massive, with several stairways going the width, and four to six running the length, rows or columns of stairwells, and all we secured was one in the southwest corner, and the Squad plus some of second, Rays squad, SSG Tewes, and LT. Hanes. 62

When assembling on the veranda, I again ran into Ray, who promptly informed me he still had to shit, but had nothing in which to wipe with, therefore I reached around my neck, removed my desert camouflage drive-on rag, and handed it to him. Some time after assembling on the roof, he saw me and said, “I just took a combat shit, I leaned on the back of the stairwell, and my ass just exploded!” I didn’t ask for the driveon rag back. There were Marine Corps murals and various spray painting by the marines on the walls indicating their presence previously. Turns out this used to be their HQ while here and in brighter times was a functioning civil blood bank. Must have held a lot of blood, it is massive. Sixty meters by one hundred and twenty meters at least and they liked to come to the roof. There’s a short concrete railing, of a cap over thick concrete spindles. We on the roof are lined up facing west into the city. There is the intersection down to our immediate left and a three-story building directly across the street from ours, and another next to it to our right front. Past this right side building, the street turned west and there was another building just coming into the new days light, and we observed a family stirring inside, going about their morning routine. Further up the street stood a long dark building running parallel to ours, with wooden shutters on the windows, and directly behind this building stood a structure maybe a story higher than the three story shuttered structure. This one also ran parallel to ours and would become the focus of our attention later. McClain and I were on the extreme left of the line of riflemen, with Danny on the left of me with his SAW, I with my M203 grenade launcher. Ray and a member of his squad were twenty meters or so down the rail, and SSG Tewes, the Lt. and the rest of our squad. We were taking fire from the large building that ran parallel to ours and was three buildings into the valley to the west. On the far side of the valley, the terrain rose gradually for four hundred meters to where I could see a monument sitting squarely on the next ridge next to the road that was a continuation of the road we ingresses here on. Beyond the crest were the rooflines of the Presidential Palace and surrounding buildings. The intervening valley floor to the south of the large apartment buildings directly to our front was an open bazaar type area. On the approaches to this from our side were corrugated sheet metal vending shacks, one of which was the mass of debris from the helicopter striking one across the street from the building it hit, the same debris I found myself stumbling through earlier this morning. Machine gun fire erupted down the street from the long four-story building, the pink/orange tracers a winking line of fluid life, darting towards unseen targets below me, friends of mine, I understood. I relayed to the Lt. where the fire was originating from, and fire erupted from a lower level window on the left side, and Danny and I returned fire, Danny exclaiming he had hit, and with the volume of fire from his SAW, I believe him. The LT. Asked if I could mark which building we were receiving fire from. I fired a green smoke grenade and it passed over the roof of the building, he yelled back that I had missed. I waited peering intently at it, waiting, and then, yes, a thin wisp of green smoke rose from behind the building, and I yelled back, “No I didn’t.” The thin green line rose as if a finger pointing, directly midsection of the building, and the reason soon became apparent as a Cobra helicopter gunship passed overhead spraying twenty millimeter canon rounds, which inadvertently fell on us, with one striking Schneider. Whoosh, and off went the TOW missiles, and the show began, pass after pass, one to reload, another attacking, it was horrific and wonderful, you couldn’t put a price on the experience. SSG Tewes had Tiejens fire his LAW rocket at the building, and as we watched, the missile flew into the door of the apartment where we had watched the family rise, and 63

exploded inside. Whoops, wonder what happened in there? SSG Tewes shot at a Dog running below us in the street, I think he hit it. I used the intervening exchanges to engage shuttered windows interdicting possible snipers, at the target building, and continuing sighting in my four-power scope shooting at various targets. Beyond the valley, topping the crest on the road that continued from our came a crowd, about abreast to the monument, a crowd I estimate at from four to six hundred people as the front filled the width of the street. We had yelled reports from the LT. that crowds packing recoilless rifles were seen approaching; therefore I relayed the presence of this approaching crowd to the LT, who was masked from seeing it by the helicopters target building. The LT. yelled back for me to disperse them, so I calculated for four hundred meters and dropped five or six grenades onto the crowd, and they dispersed. The helicopters finished their business, as fire erupted to the southeast of our building, on the street we had come by. I watched as the humvees in the street below used a multi-colored smoke screen to maneuver to an empty lot adjacent to the crash site. I guess in cover of the machinegun tracers I observed flowing down the street. A fire fight ensued on the streets below, the debris of carnage I was later to leap over on my way by, a lot of blood, a smashed M-16 magazine, a nearly burnt into two AT-4 rocket, and a bloody bandage next to a bloody blast spot. We on the roof felt that Sammi might be enveloping us, as the sounds of battle raged on the streets behind us. I was watching the area to the southwest, scoping in on Somalis and generally keeping an eye out when I heard a yell from the stairwell. It seems even Danny got the word and as I was gazing and leaning over the railing taking pictures of the Humvees and terrain, the squad had made it to the ground, and SSG Tewes came back up and got me. As I moved towards the stairway, I felt resistance and realized I had accumulated nearly twenty thin wires that got tangled in my equipment, evidently the guidance wires from the TOW missiles. I got out my Leatherman’s to cut them, but they were too strong to cut. I gathered them all up in a bundle and stepped over them continuing towards the stairwell. Running down with SSG Tewes behind me, I had my camera and as I leaped over what was left of the helicopter, I took a picture under my arm of SSG Tewes running behind me. The rest of the squad was waiting for us around the corner, we were the last out. We split to either side of the street, making our way along the wall to the first intersection where SGT -----sat in a Humvee with all the color drained out of his face, if you ever seen that on a black man. The hummer was facing down the street we were coming up, so we gathered around it and waited for him to turn around, then continued our trek up the street, watching, running, shooting, it was the wild west. There were too many windows, doors, and alleys so we applied a little suppressive fire into some, and fired down the cross streets as we ran. Four to six hundred meters up the road the trucks still waited where we had left them. SSG Tewes accounted for everyone and we boarded the trucks. They were now facing towards the airfield, so we were able to pick up, and watch the sun rising to our left off the Indian Ocean. The Somali people of this neighborhood, within the sounds of battle, were up and carrying on their days. People were coming and going and one would hardly realize the suspense and apprehension the pervaded this convoy. One shot from unknown quarters may have spelled a blood bath. We continued towards home by the round about way of the MSR, all sixteen miles of it. We were home by 0830 and on to a breakfast of T-rat eggs and corn beef hash, pear halves, corn flakes, and apple juice. Leaving Airfield Main Western Gate onto MSR after 25th Battle.

64

Charlie Co. Nest Five
Back in our platoon area, I cleaned my weapon at my cot until 1000 1030 hours, and then went and took a shower. We still take our weapons everywhere, so it showered with me, and we took a nice long one while washing my chocolate chip flak jacket and Kevlar covers in the shower using the plentiful aid package shampoo as laundry soap, SOP. We spent most of the day hearing praise and critic and warning speeches, while telling battle stories; reading and finally cleaning my new load of 195 rounds of 5.56 mm and loading them in my spare magazines, bringing me to nearly nineteen magazines fully loaded, and then dealt with my 40mm grenades. I was summonsed to drive a hummer over to HQ to get a M-19 40mm Automatic grenade launcher; we have bunker watch tonight on a bunker next to the Tunisian bunker. These set on a rooftop on a building just up hill on the next tier up. This all after a dinner chow of steak, salad, fruit mix, strawberry shortcake, and a coke, oh and mashed potatoes. I ended the day organizing my magazines and grenades, as I lay them out and took pictures of all I carry. Now that I have all this down, I’m going to bed. Oh yeah, I took a nap from 1030 to 1200 hours or so and woke up sore as hell, in my gut mostly, don’t know why. I will write more on the battle someday. I have got a lot on tape, about two hours or so. ( was later recorded over) It’s 2315 now and we’ve been taking incoming light-small arms fire, answered of course with heavy fire from here; a couple RPG’s received now at 2315 hours, as we’ve taken seven or eight RPG’s but none of them close to here, some sounded from Hunter on the MSR, a Fort Apache support facility on the Western beginning of the MSR. Probably payback for the killing Charlie Company put on them today. Continuous payback, this is insane, especially because my conscience knows I’ve been a part in killing some unarmed, if not friendly Somalian. They must learn, at their own peril, that to support armed gunmen when we only come to help them or our people will only lead to their death. Again today, we had the stray dog and no one shot it until later, that is. The Sammi’s will leave their weapons when their out of ammunition or deliver weapons to groups, knowing we don’t shoot the unarmed; they are learning. It’s now 2330 hours and we’ve taken three more RPGs – and another one, they’re getting closer now, probably our counter battery, another, or maybe those are – nope those are either – another and another- RPG’s or mortars, close ones sound like our counter-fire, maybe, two more – shit, I’m going to stop, or I’ll be up all night if I follow this, this way. 26 September War he wrote, ‘Is Toil And Trouble’, tired muscles throughout, an utter internal/external exhaustion, an inability to sleep – mental awareness, the mind unwilling to let go, and even if it does, the slightest sound of anything close to battle-noise and you’re instantly wide-awake, adrenalin activated, heart rate increased. (This would remain an element of psyche for years to come. Some times I would flail and swing at things or people in bed, or whoever happened to be there; Other times I would find myself leaping from bed to awaken in a fighting stance. The nightmares of the Somali under the bed would also continue, as well as cooking brains. These were short, wake me up fully experiences. At times I would wake with a start for no reason and just lie listening to the sounds of night, and lie awake the rest of the night.) The strangest thing for me is the mentality during battle, no fear, no real excitement, just detached mechanicalism and amusement, all interacted with moments of 65

intense decision making process, and I detect a mental over-ride of the adrenal pituitary and fear related centers of the mind. I don’t get overly excited, as I seem to enjoy myself and long for danger, for the battle and destruction. I see that I save the pondering and thoughtfulness, the - what if – how could it beuntil after I’m safe, or mentally aware that I’m directly safe. Safety here is superficial as no one has control of sniper or indirect fire. Death can be random chance here, where on the battlefield it is more apparent, ever present and utterly possible. Yesterday was more dangerous than the fight of the 13th of September. We were reacting to the enemy this time, and they are falling into a pattern. Next time they will lose more people; this is obvious and seemingly inevitable to me as we adjust our attitudes. Last night or early this morning, a vast eruption of gunfire woke me up. They, the perimeter guards had a shadow chasing night and morning. 1130 hours, I want to be alone, in a sense, not physically, just mentally as I’ve been avoiding people all morning. My mind is clear, blank, as I’m trying – easily now to feel no emotions, nothing generated by thought or thoughts generated by emotion. Just an awareness and extra sensitive senses I’m contributing this feeling to, and a feeling of determined resolve plied over in the mind. Just the physical regenerated sounds and sights, no mental or “visual” feelings about what I’m reliving. For the present senses, sounds are the most prevalent, while sights are insignificant, I hear and categorize all around me, but dismiss most what I see. 1245 hours and as thoughts come, thoughts go. There’s a mental mechanism in command of the adrenal outlet systems of the body. I can feel it sometimes, as an engine sitting at idle, readily brought to full power, or red lined at the push of the foot…, so is the body after battle…, ready to respond. I’m reading, Without Remorse, and in a part of it, marines come from march, quick time, to halt – I remember in airborne school when a Marine former drill instructor was marching our group to a classroom to fill out paperwork, all 100 plus of us and brought our majority Army formation to ‘halt’ when we were trained for a preparatory inflection or at least a ‘mark time, march’, then a ‘Company, halt’. We were all bumping into each other; I’ll bet we looked all messed up. One noteworthy aspect of my two battles is that the one on the 13th the enemy were reacting to us operating on a planned mission, while on the 25th we were reacting to the enemy and I think we did better on the 25th. I’m very proud to serve and fight along side these men. I get emotional at times, which isn’t like me, for we are truly a team, and deadly at our business and business is good. I’m thinking back to sniper school, as we trained our twenty power spotting scopes over the back or shoulder of our sniper buddy, with the instructor behind us with his 100 mm spotting scope. You could see the ‘trace’, the displacement of humid air as the bullet passed through the dense, warm air. As I kneeled behind the stone railing of our over watch building, I could see the trace of machine-gun bullets, with many tracers even more visible, forever etched in my mind’s eye. I can’t recall if the tracers looked a peach color or if it was my imagination. Just a light colored supersonic blur. I slept until about 0830 and then read all day long, finally going to work out at 1600 hours, and went to chow at 1700 hrs. Since then I have been sorting and organizing my many cluttered possessions. It’s almost 1800 hrs and I am going to read again! 1935 hours and we just got word – Sept 13th -85 confirmed dead Aideed followers; (125 reported in Watertown Newspaper) and 65 confirmed dead on Sept 25th. Throw in a pile of wounded, and now I’ve got to live with the fact, some of my grenades and bullets most likely connected.

66

Boom! Just had mortars or RPGs explode real close, like right outside, and one far on the other side of the buildings, but yes, one right outside, Sammi’s mad about the body count. The lights went off fast, everyone grabbing flak jacket, Kevlar and a piece of the floor. Our Tunisian machine-gun bunkers opened up, and then the Mark-19 throwing out about twenty to twenty-five grenades into the city, nope, all forty-eight rounds, they ran out of ammunition. The Tunisians fired for quite some time, but throwing up flares mostly, and still are. I just got back from showering and it’s now 2945 hrs. Water was nice and hot. I ran into SGTs Henry, Meyer, SFC Daghita and Lt. Roberts in mess hall earlier, and old HQ First Sergeant Tucker. They were all asking about our firefight, congratulating and all that goes along with survival. We told a bit of our endeavors, Ray telling about his shitting on the roof with helicopters racing overhead and everyone shooting, Ha! He wiped his ass with my chocolate chip Bandana. Guess he had Diarrhea from malaria pills, so leaned up against a wall with legs far enough apart and away not to get spattered. Way out there. Allen’s kind of remorseful, his conscience is bad, as he was on the M-19 Bunker last night when the Tunisians opened up, he had engaged a dark four story building approximately four hundred meters away, and overshot it. They landed way out there, past the MSR and we could see as the fiery blasts of twelve 400mm grenades illuminated the green tarps over refuge huts. We’re jiving him about helping to wipe out the city, killing more than the Tunisians do. He isn’t taking it too well. That Mark-19 40mm grenade launcher is one bad weapon. I’ve seen it in combat at night, and at close quarters, it’s spectacular! Well, time to read, its 2100 hrs. Oh yeah, heard tonight that 400 militia have infiltrated the city, trained by the PLO. Great, I’d like to lay a couple of them out on the slab someday. 27 September I’m up for Pt after a 0330 to 0430 guard shift. PT was a combat soccer game where my team lost one to zip. The water was shut down, so we couldn’t shower. On the way back from the soccer field we ran by the Swedish Hospital and Barracks, where a bunch of them were photographing and looking at where a mortar round had landed near them, wounding one of their doctors. We spent the rest of the day packing for the MSR. We are to occupy a position at the start of the MSR, the first checkpoint past Hunter base, an unfinished concrete house with walls and a roof. The rest of the day passed uneventfully and I pulled the occasional guard. I traded a box of swisher sweets cigars to Thornton for 120 shillings of Somalia currency in one twenty and two fifty-schilling notes. 28 September Up at 2400 for a two hour shift, but went on a patrol with SGT Richard to the lowlands east of here, lasted about forty minutes. Crashed out again by 0300 hrs, just grab a spot on the sandbags; curl up with your poncho liner, and was awakened again for 0600 for my next two-hour shift. SGT Richards was getting his ass chewed for all the garbage SSG Tewes told someone else to pick up. I picked it up, this being the after chow trash from everyone. Ate chow previously, instant oatmeal, eggs and spam, and chocolate milk, and then afterwards we policed up Bravo Company’s trash. Now I’m relaxing after shaving, brushing teeth, and cleaning my weapon, not much more to report. Stayed up and used the phone, and went to bed around 2300hrs. 29 September Pulled CQ from 0200 to 0300 hours and then crashed until first call, and I’ve been noticing that I awaken frequently for no apparent reason, and I instantly feed adrenaline 67

into my system. Its like waking and rapidly bringing your heart rate up, the Somalian Syndrome (that will persist to this day, minus excessive adrenalin.). PT went okay and was not very hard; some pushups, sit-ups, pull-ups, and a slow run. Afterwards I showered, shaved, and then ate a fine breakfast of fresh pancakes – two, yes, and scrambled eggs that were alright, a box of Raisin Bran, and fruit cocktail I put in my kergon yogurt. I spent some time reading and then did a police call, extended version, which I got out of to drive the same NCO’s as last week to visit Cpl. Hall, he’s a lot better. After returning, I packed my ruck and then read all afternoon, standing ready to head out at 1400 hours to man the bunkers and guard helicopters at the airfield. Put on my gear, grabbed my ruck, and still no one knew for sure when we were leaving. I headed up to HQ anyway, and sat around and read while leaning on my ruck. Boarded Godman’s, yes Lance Godman’s truck around 1500 hours and we headed out, lock and loading at the gate, heading out towards the MSR. We checked out the Indian troops who replaced us on the MSR. They have Russian BMP-IIs painted white with the UN in black. It was strange to see. Arrived at the airfield, the NCOIC from C1/87 didn’t know where to take us, I did know, but still we waited on the truck and finally driving towards tents we had vacated at the beginning of this month, moving into the one next to the airstrip that the scout leadership had occupied. Everyone bunched up at the entrance talking to the persons coming out or waiting to get by us, and I went around back and grabbed the first cot inside the door, the stupid asses. Not enough cots to go around, but we’re not all going to be sleeping at the same time. Two hours on, two hours off with four guards at a time from 1800 hours to 0600, so there’s three two hour shifts, a guard post about ¼ way down the runway(10,000 ft runway) to guard some OH 58’s and Cobras. There’s another position near the far end of the runway, way down there in no mans land, to guard four Uh-60s; I have no idea why they’re so far out there, but there are two guard shacks real close to us, so it seems pointless, but they’re manned by Egyptians, I think, as I could hear them talking. A UN Jeep kept patrolling up and down the perimeter road every fifteen minutes or so. The first guard we pulled was at the end near our tent, on top of some conex boxes set on end. Greenly and I talked the time away and a female mechanic walked by spoke up at us, and later on when we came from off the top, she cornered us and got us into trouble with SGT Seidle, the asshole stupid shit any way. I lay down, and it took about half an hour to almost drift off, and this stupid shit comes back babbling some fool idea about us trying to get over, the asshole spoiled my sleep plan. Our second guard was at the end near the Egyptians, on this broken down bunker. 30 September 2200 to 2400 hour guard shift, and I let Greenly sleep the first hour of guard, and then awakened him and tried to sleep myself, but he scared the shit out of me, awakening me with this excited voice, ‘Did you see that?’, as some small dog sized animal running across the street. At this time we only had half an hour to go, so I just stayed awake. SGT. Seidle showed up ten to fifteen minutes late, asshole, and so I only got a one-hour nap before 0400 hours. We pulled our last guard in front of those conex boxes. I dozed and Greenly slept fully, but all in all our guard was down; had only one scare, I woke up suddenly when a pilot walked between the conex boxes near us. At twenty-five till I woke up Greenly, and we got our shit together; head out at twenty to six and I stopped off to take a long awaited shit; then undressed, grabbed all shower paraphernalia and waited for five minutes up at the shower point for the Sergeants Major; took a look-cold 68

shower, it felt great anyway, and then I went back and read my book on my cot until 0730 hours. I then awoke Greenly, and with Trowbridge and I, we went off to chow; airfield chow of scrambled eggs, bologna – I didn’t eat, raisin bran, and oatmeal. Dinner last night was better, by far. Afterwards, I read until 0830 or so, and then we once again went and watched my movies, No Where to Run and Sniper, which we finished around 1130 to 1200 hours. At 1230 we got word after a nap that we were to start heading back to the University; how I have no clue, and with SGT Seidle, it looked doubtful. I could have gotten us out of there. Around 0330, our replacements showed up; said they had flown, ahha, I knew it, that’s how I would have gotten us out. We saddled up and walked towards airfield and waited about a half hour for our bird to touch down, pick up several others, as we waited once more for it’s return, which came shortly. Four of us, and FORSCOM Captain boarded and off we flew. Combat flight, the pilots were edgy, but good reason to feel that way, I guess. We arrived at Jaybird after dropping someone off at the hospital helipad. The Captain went his way, I went mine, as Galarza went his, but finally followed. Trowbridge, the pup, thought we should wait for everyone else, I said no way and Boyd agreed. We headed out and I stopped a humvee and asked if he was headed to the University, yes, so we now had a ride and he dropped us off right at our building. By this time I was feeling sickly, but linked up with Schneider and went to chow. Balog showed up, and we ate well, two plates to hold it all. I showered after getting back, a nice hot and long shower. I t felt great, but I’m still sick, so I lay down and crashed hard at about 1830 hours; slept and dreamed all night long, until awakened at 0430 hours. 1 October I got up and took a piss, grabbing my notebook and Clancy novel, but ended up taking all my time writing in this. All kinds of new rumors; we will be leaving by Halloween. We’ll be leaving by the first of November. We’ll be out by April; and my favorite - The marines are coming...and we’ll be the first ones to go; all our missions are cancelled. I don’t know what to believe anymore. It’s almost time for first call, that, I do believe. I hope the day goes okay. My headache is gone at least. I finished my second cup of coffee, taking two Sudafed with it. I awakened everyone five minutes early, some of them having the ass, I told them too bad and life’s hard, all jokingly of course. We took a slow run for PT with the 1st Sergeant running with us. Hall just walked in, looking like he lost some weight at the hospital. It’s now 1015 hours and I’ve taken a long, hot shower; ate a sprite breakfast, and sorted through some old newspapers for Somalia articles. I helped SSG Tewes set up his rope anchor system for the Mark-19 demonstration for the higher ups. I am sweaty now, but have been sweating all morning. I worked out a little after PT. I hear that Aideed is talking to himself; his clan is splitting due to his ever-increasing psychosis. I think if we keep up the pressure, we’ll succeed in breaking his regime; it’s inevitable, I feel. It appears we’re backing off at the wrong time. I filled two boxes of accumulated belongings to send back to drum, and then went and watched scent of a woman, but I was grabbed to fill sand bags, yeah, two hundred of them. It took thirty of them fifteen minutes. The higher powers that be want us to carry sandbags in our rucks, so when we take a building we can fill sandbags and fortify. MOUT fights, and our actions concerning the nature of our mission, would dictate that we would be too fluid to fortify, that we were not taking territory, only reacting or responding to situations on the ground. SSG Tewes had us fill these to prove a point; 69

what about security, when every fifteen minutes we were in another firefight; it would take three men three hours to fill the same number. They’re high, and I went to watch the remainder of my movie, The Scent of a Woman, and then went to chow with Ray and John Hall. It was fairly good, beef patties, potatoes and gravy, salad, chocolate cake, blue cheese dressing, a Shasta coke, and two chocolate milks. I came back to grab a nice, hot shower, read my mail, and went to watch another movie, A Few Good Men. Was interrupted before that, though, during Ren & Stempy, for a squad meeting and then again to come and get dressed, as we have to sleep dressed all night long, as the Pakistani’s are conducting a ground taking mission tonight, and Bravo Company is standing QRF, but I’m confused. I thought the Pak’s were taking over QRF. Around 2130 we were hit with RPG’s and answered with Machinegun and Mark-19 fire. Some of us just continued watching the movie, killing airborne cockroaches and blowing the war off like a second rate friend. I watched the football reports after the movie, and now its 2315 hours. I’m eating my last daily dose of weight gainers, getting ready to crash – goodnight! 2 October First call at 0430, just to shave and brush teeth, then we could go back to sleep. I did, and slept until 0800 hours, awakening Ray to go to chow. They were trying to pass a T-rat eggs and sausage off as food, and very gooey oatmeal. I ate Honey Nut Crunch, washed it down with apple juice, and grabbed a coke for later. I have been doing nothing all day, wrote a letter, talked with Schneider for a while. Collins came by and spent a while talking to Ray and I. He got the rifle, cot, and team leader slot of the guy shot in the gut on the 13th of September from Bravo Company. We’re about to head to the airfield for guard duty. We flew a quick nap of the earth flight and were there in no time. Helicopters are limited to 1100 feet at night and nap of the earth during day. We arrived, moved to our tent and set up, and then went to watch Sniper, but were chased out of the TV trailer for bible study. It must be Sunday, no, just Saturday bible study. Came back to tent and got ready for chow, if there’s anything to get ready – no, just go! …I guess. Chow was strange. I went to tower near perimeter road afterwards and took some pictures of Russian T-62’s and BMP’s belonging to the Indian Army, I think. They were all painted white with big black UN painted on the side. Schneider and I chatted with a couple of girls playing catch-nerfball. I then went into a tent and talked with an E-7 who demonstrates new electronics marvels’, and we ended our free time playing Uno with Thornton and Tiejen. Our guard went quickly, with SGT Richards Talking our ears off almost the whole three hours. October 3-4 Battlefield

70

3 October We are off guard at 2400 hours. We slept until 0245 hours, and then started the long 0300 to 0600 hours shift. I did radio watch and dozed for two hours, while Schneider couldn’t even sit down. This position was down to the end of the runway near the Egyptian positions, guarding one UH-60 helicopter! I was up at last hour keeping Ray company, and watching the false dawn and run-rise on the Indian Ocean. SGT 71

Richard showed up about five until 0600. We crashed for an hour and half, and were awakened by SGT Richard, to get ready for our 0745 flight back to the University complex. It went quick, and we landed at Jaybird and waited for a ride. SSG Skiles and SFC Borjon came for us. At around 2015 we were mortared, taking two, and hear last night the University/Embassy took incoming, too. We arrived back here at the platoon area, and I went and showered, and then went and ate some Rice Crispies with chocolate milk. I then cleaned my weapon and wrote some letters. Were alerted, as a humvee was attacked, several GIs wounded, but we stood down after twenty minutes or so. There still are no details, although Ray just told me Doc Annesa has word from a Medical Major who went and picked up our travel orders, and that we’ll be departing in four to six weeks. I only slept for three hours from 1200 noon to 1500 hours. I was doing a crossword puzzle after reading the stars and stripes. At 1500 hours or so, we were told to ‘get it on’, alerted due to an American force under attack by Somali forces. The details were incomplete, sketchy, and otherwise vague to us at the bottom. Soon after we were told to stand down, the Rangers had responded to the alert call. At about 1645 hours we once again received word to ‘get it on’, this time being informed that two helicopters had been shot down. We boarded trucks at 1710, heading out of the University compound to the airfield by way of the southern Main Supply Route. We arrived there at dusk, unloading to await instructions, and being told that the Ranger relief force was under attack fire and surrounded. At this time our attention was on the medivac helicopters coming and going in an almost continuous cycle. Word had it that we may air assault in, but was rescinded by 2nd and 3rd platoons being told to mount up on trucks and 1st platoon to stand fast; our trucks were to be used for possible WIA or EPWs. The column left, and 1st platoon set back to wait. We received word via radio that the column had taken a wrong turn and been ambushed near the K-4 circle, and that they were disengaging to return to the airfield. Also came word of casualties inflicted on them and the loss of one five-ton truck and a humvee. The column arrived back sometime around2100 hours, disembarked and commenced redistributing ammunition and drawing more ammunition. 1st platoon gave up some ammunition to the other platoons, but soon after were issued additional ammunition, giving us more than our basic load, and in my case, three times the basic load of 210 in seven magazines of thirty rounds. We were told to stand down, as trucks were on their way, and also Alpha Company of our battalion would be joining us, along with the Battalion Command Group. A group of Rangers would lead the new relief effort. Also was announced that we would be forming up with Malaysian APCs. Our column started towards Newport along a coastal route, arriving and joining the Malaysian contingent. And Pakistani M48 Patton tanks. After some time of setting on the trucks, we disembarked and split up to board the Malaysian APCs, seven men plus their three man crew, which soon became quite crowded. When we were crammed inside, I found I was in the direct center, pinned unable to move and unable to see outside through one of the many firing ports. The column started along the coast, turning north into downtown Mogadishu, and soon afterwards was under direct fire from numerous buildings on either side of the road, bullets striking our APC, and once being rocked by a near miss from an enemy RPG round. For me, the ride was terrifically tortuous. Downtown we inched along as forward elements cleared roadblocks, stopping and going on one block at a time, inching it seemed: the machine-guns hammering back at the prepared ambush; RPGs exploding; our APCs crew members throwing grenades, shooting his 40mm M203, scared to expose himself to load his 7.62 MG and taking half the time of the ambush to do it. We would sometimes stop in an alley opening or 72

intersection for long periods it seemed as the whole column came to a halt. That was very scary, as I was sitting unable to move or see. It took almost two hours to get through that series of ambushes. We had a lot of firepower, though, but still fortunate. I wanted out of that iron death trap, or so I thought, as one direct RPG hit and we would be hurting. It was like star wars out there as the only slit I was able to see out of was where the duel machine gun barrels exited the turret. After several hours, we pulled to a stop, and were told to disembark, getting out of the left side of the APC, which later proved to be where we received fire from. We formed into our teams and squads, which at first was confusing due to the nature of our uneven distribution among the APCs. Our attention was directed to the laser designator being trained on the crash site, which was down an alley into a shanty town, a maze of shacks consisting of sheet metal, cardboard, various wood pieces and corrugated sheet metal all clumped together in apparent disorder. Our 2nd squad, 1st platoon led into the maze, passing the crash site and arraying into security positions on the twelve o’clock position with the gun team of SPC Tiejen and PFC McClain. 3rd squad was next in order, setting up near the helicopter, but arrayed also on the twelve o’clock through three o’clock position. At this time there was sporadic firing on all sides, pot shots sort of. Heavy firing erupted back on the streets near our Malaysian escorts, with red tracers flashing overhead. At this point on our movement in, I held fire on a human target passing by my cover position facing down an alley, due to the impossible fact that there were friendly units out around us, but I didn’t know where. There was the sporadic firing abbreviated by occasional loud exchanges of rapid gunfire, punctuated by explosions. At this point, SSG Tewes commented on his earlier statement that we weren’t receiving incoming fire when I commented on it, but now he admitted that, yes, that was incoming fire, as some bullets passing around and overhead and occasionally through our position. I could hear an Ak-47 or several shooting from various positions around the crashed helicopter, the rip of the bullet passing through the corrugated sheets of the shacks. There were definitely several enemy soldiers prowling around shooting at us. After some time and 2nd squad had shot up some distant building with m203 40mm grenades, and Tiejen with his m-60 MG had fired up a shack or two, we got word to unass the area, as we were going to burn the helicopter. When we first got there, we were told some names of the missing to call out, Cleveland, Smith, and Dugart…, but never found these people. While pulling out of the alley, I ended up as rear security, almost in the billowing smoke and illumination of the new furiously burning helicopter. We held this position for some time due to the enemy fire we were taking from the other side of the street. Finally we exited the alley to find two APCs damaged and disabled, hit with RPGs while we were in the maze of shacks, and abandoned by their crews. We regressed across the street, pressing against the walls and crossing an alley as our second M-60 MG team of Lawler and his assistant gunner, firing down it to cover us. We spread out along the building and approached the damaged APC, its engine still running. We were instructed where the RPG had come from that had hit it, and started to take this building under fire, being answered by an enemy sniper, as SSG Tewes firing his rifle and myself firing 40mm grenades from my m-203, and my rifle cartridges at widows and rooftop of suspected building. SGT Richard prepares and fires at three story building, range fifty meters, missing with an AT-4, enemy answers with RPG and machine gun fire. Gimber and I step out and shut these up with intense 40mm fire, don’t hear the culprits anymore that night/morning. The occasional AK burst we answer with 40mm, SAW, M-16 fire, and SSG Tewes prepares and fires a LAW, and I 73

cover him with my M-16. The back blast goes inches past me, I thought my eardrums were burst; they rang as several M-16s and a SAW open up next to me, everyone wanting some action. I can’t hear well, now. I continue to shoot M-16 and 40mm grenades. There’s a lull in the action about 0430 to 0530 hours. Lt. Hanes stopped the APCs that are fighting up and down the street, to go down past the three-story building and down the hill to assist and extract our encircled platoon (squad) of Alpha Company. We have heard their fight all morning and watched AH-6 Cayuse assist with miniguns and rockets. Tracers going all over, occasionally over our heads; after the firing we did in response to the enemy RPG and machine gun, a Mark-19 also blasted the three story building, sending fragments careening everywhere. I’d hate to have been in that building. We had lost an APC from fire from there, a hit on its top front with an RPG. I could see where the flames and smoke came out of leaks around the front viewing armor plate of the driver. He must have died. The engine was still running and a crewmembers helmet lay in the middle of the street not far from the vehicle. The moonlight gave an eerie and ominous touch to the still, steal monster, with its purring diesels, waiting in the night and the distant sounds of battle offering reality to a questioning moment. Twenty meters behind the damaged, but running APC, a second one is silent, as if asleep, no one nears it; black scars on the side, a wounded beast succumbed to its wounds, useless to the crew that gave it purpose. In the alley between the two buildings, we huddle against came the assault on this APC from the side while the first was attacked from the roof of the building we’ve now silenced, while now the alley belongs to our M-60 machine gun and its endless stream of death, covering us as we too fire down the alley in passing. In the distance, flares and star-clusters fired by the enemy or us, but too far away to illuminate our position. Serve a purpose beyond us, a signal or to better see? Again the sniper in the three story and we respond severely. Thornton’s M249 SAW has jammed, he has nothing to remedy this, and I give him my leatherman and flashlight. It only has a white lens, as I move away from him. After fifteen to twenty minutes he succeeds at unjamming it, too long to be without a weapon out here. I’m wondering what will appear across the street when it gets light soon. We can hear the occasional sniper out there, and the enemy has captured the crew and rescue party, we later found out, so they were around. False dawn is on the horizon. The APCs came back an hour or so ago and now they wait up the street. We have three left out of five, and will have to pack ourselves into them. I am sitting next to the wall, oriented towards the dark shacks of the shanty neighborhood across the street. It gets lighter and I’m wondering what’s to happen when the sun comes up. The firing has slackened over the hill and we’ve taken no sniper fire for a while. Finally as false dawn turned to dawn, word came to pick it up, we’re moving out, the platoon loading onto the three remaining APCs. It’s crowded, as we load then wait a moment, move out with all the Company. The First Sergeant sit’s next to me, I’m in the very back, under the left rear hatch. The Lt is freaking out, thinks the driver of the APCs to our front have missed our turn, wants us to signal them to stop, but the First Sergeant calms him down, tells him they probably know where they are, as they have said they’ve been here before. The ride lasts for about fifteen to twenty minutes, with the APCs only firing as we left the battle area. Finally we pull to a stop, the side door opens, I see the steps, wide ones leading up to what I now recognize as a stadium. I had thought I heard someone in the night mention the stadium. We unload and mill in loose formation, accepting the presentation of our Distinguished Survivors Medal, happy to be alive. We move into the 74

stadium, and out into the playing field, where we climb up into the seating sections. Volunteers are asked for aid and litter, as the wounded and dead will soon be arriving. I volunteered as did Schneider. The mood is joyous to be alive, but full of pain at the task we now must face, and we wait. The word is they are twenty minutes out, a separate convoy of APCs that disengaged from our convoy some distance from us. They were bringing in Alpha Company and the Rangers. Now they are here, pulling into columns and lined up on the field. I spot the dead on top of the APCs and we open the doors to the smell of blood and sweat. I helped carry a man wounded in both legs, bloody and in pain; filthy from a long night. I help carry several more with various wounds, and assist removing the dead from the top of the APC’s, Ray climbing up with another soldier and gently lowers the dead soldier to the many waiting hands. I wait nearby, watching the unloading of more dead onto stretchers, rolled from the tops, blood running down the sides. Priority cases we carry to waiting area near to the helicopter landing area and then in order of their priority, load them for evacuation. I helped carry my wounded friend Bevitt, a friend from Alpha Company who was shot in the right inner thigh. I pulled a tick from his foot as we wait and tell him he’s looked better and he thanks me for pulling the off the tick. Then he’s gone. The Rangers tell us thanks and take over their own people. I go back to my gear on the grand stands and watch the evacuation, counting five poncho-covered litters. We’re all exhausted, and only a hand full of unwounded Rangers remains, maybe twenty, mostly from the relief column that came with us. The Rangers left first. Alpha Company finally lifts off, it took a long time. The Pakistani’s feed us chicken and rice, and tea. Charley is the last to leave, and flew out on UH-60s back to the Embassy, then took trucks back to the University, in time for breakfast chow, the off to clean weapons. Fifteen years later, from memory. “At 1600 hours we got word to get it on. I’ve 19 magazines plus thirty rounds on clips, and a speed loader, six hundred rounds in all. For my M-203 40mm grenade launcher I have fourteen High Explosive, nine HEDP, four smoke (green), one parachute flair, and six tear gas, and my ever-present K-Bar knife. I think I’m ready; well I wasn’t as ready as I thought. Charlie Company, 2/14th Inf. battalion picked up or assumed QRF on the morning of 3 October, 1993 and on this night we were to move by truck to the Mogadishu airport to be at an advantageous position to assist our fellow UN contingents, the Pakistani’s, in case they needed help. We were told to put it back on at 1645. We moved to the trucks, loaded and by 1715 were on our way. Report is that two helicopters had been shot down, near to where the humvee had been ambushed, but only five to six hundred meters apart. The reason we stood down the first time we alerted is that the Rangers, about fifty or sixty of them had rappelled in and did rescue the pilots and crews, and had Sammy just where they wanted them, all around them. Yeah, they were surrounded. We took the MSR to the airfield and it took forever, arriving at the airfield at dusk, with Medivac helicopters lifting off from the Hanger where the Rangers were barracked. When we arrived, we detrucked and moved into the Airport Terminal, the squads assembling in areas, hushed and urgent conversations, commands, and extra supply of ammunition distribution, myself picking up six more rounds of 40mm HEDP. At this time, 1st platoon was ordered to stand down, as 2nd and 3rd platoons reloaded trucks, taking our empty trucks with them, and that was emotional, just being left behind. The rescue party, taking a wrong street out of the K-5 traffic circle and was ambushed; having to turn around under fire, an action where 75

Carol would be wounded along with Pamer, who would receive the Silver Star. They had to turn around and break contact, with Pamers M-60 covering as the rest loaded trucks. They lost a humvee and a five-ton truck to gunfire or RPG. They broke contact and came back to the airfield. While they were doing that, 1st platoon was on hold, not knowing what was what, but thinking things were under control. The medivacs were obviously landing, taking out seventeen wounded, we counted as they landed in front of us. Now the word is they, the Rangers had seventeen killed and six missing, but I doubt the missing part. The other platoons returned and we redistributed ammo and sat around for an hour wondering, waiting. We finally got word that we were going back, with Rangers in the lead, Alpha Company, and then us, Charlie Company all in Malaysian APCs except for the Rangers Who would take their fifty calibers and Mark-19 mounted Humvees. It took forever to truck to the coast and we had a worrisome moment when we went out the wrong gate, as we were to follow an inner-coastal road to Newport. When getting to New Port, we were loaded on five-ton trucks, and there we sat and waited in them for an eternity. A column of APCs arrived and we dismounted trucks. We assembled into cluster squad formation and moved towards the APCs, a large four wheeled type, white with black UN, Malaysian Army, with only their crews, commander, driver, a machine gunner in turret and one standing to shoot machine gun at double folding up doors on the rear roof. I was bumped from my squad, finding me pinned the right rear up against the legs of the machine gunner and next to Raymond Schneider. I sat in a no man’s land with no seat, between the turret gunner and rear gunner, next to Ray who sat in a similar position on the left side. The ride was horrific, as I was scared to death of taking a RPG through the thin steel side. We fought our way through something. I don’t know what, as neither Ray or I had firing ports, but for about ten to fifteen minutes there, everyone was capping off magazines of ammunition, the turret gunner was twisting and turning and brass from his dual thirty calibers were raining down on me as I handed the rear gunner grenades to feed into his M203. We fed him until we ran out of hanging grenades, as there were bandoleers of 5.56 mm Rifle, 40mm, and hand grenades. When Ray and I couldn’t find any more 40mm, we handed hand grenades to him, which he tossed over the sides like a fireman in a parade. Out of grenades, Ray and I tried to coax our gunner up on the gun, but it had no linked belt loaded. He finally mustered the courage to rise above the roofline and slip behind his thirty caliber. While the turret gunner was pivoting, and in cases shooting up at the large buildings, I glimpsed these buildings, some with muzzle flashes blinking at me as I watched. The gunners tracers were going off like a fire hose, and in it other lines of tracers merged, giving me the impression of star wars. All this time, our APC is being rocked by the explosions from the rear gunner’s grenades, and a cacophony of gunfire is erupting within the APC from every direction within. My visual and acoustic senses are on overdrive, the adrenaline is flowing, and I’m subtlety thinking, if we get hit by RPG, I’m in the center. SSG Dulen’s yelling, ‘Hand me another Magazine. They’re running past the alley.’ and continues to blaze out the firing port. We fought our way through a ten to fifteen minute ambush, not taking any casualties, but probably inflicting a lot. The travelling fight probably started about2430, and we pulled up in front of a two-story building maybe seventy to a hundred foot frontage. Across the street was a cluster of shacks made of poles and corrugated steel sheeting, and now I know where all the factory roofing went. Down the street to the left, on the same side as the two story, sat a three-story building dominating the corner. Across from this building on the 76

opposite corner, sat another large structure, with no apparent windows I can recall. The three-story structure was an assemblage of windows with maybe four across the face, just darker shapes on a massive lighter shade of dark, all surrounded by the zero illumination dark night. The Two story structure to our left, and I’ll use the nose of the APCs as cardinal direction, had an alley on it’s left that leaders had emplaced a Machine-gun team in the middle of the alley, going to a prone position and delivering a mass of fire down the alley, bullets careening and tearing down the street, tracers ricocheting of concrete tearing the night up in crazy chaotic patterns of red lines. The right side of this structure was a wide street, with the imposing three-story on the opposite corner. Tiejens’ gun was emplaced in the open street next to the two-story building. He faced the same direction as the first gun-team, across from the three-story building, and began to fire down this street. Someone ordered Danni, as AG to join Tiejen by lying in the street in the open on the gunner’s right. Danny wasn’t having any of it, and said so. The APC’s sat facing the three-story building, while idling in the center of the street and not firing at anything. To the right of them sat the assemblage of shacks, a shadowed cluster of geometric shapes, lines, and dark pathways. I was to the rear of the last APC as SGT Seidle was ordered to take his team across the street and into the shack cluster. SGT Seidle yells, “You want me to go in there?”, indicating the dark opening, re-asking in a hesitant voice, “In There?” several times as if incredulous, as if mentally preparing him, and to his credit led his squad across the street and into the dark hole. I was amazed, that took a lot of courage. The rest of the squads followed suit, and single file we entered the imposing cluster, with SGT Dulen’s 2nd squad leading, and SGT Seidle leading them. We all followed the narrow trail with the gray shadows and dark masses near to each side, the smell of charcoal and close human habitation; I could sense the presence of Somalis in their shacks. A short distance into the maze, I looked over a low fence to my left, spotting the Helicopter, I having to look twice to believe what I was seeing. The entire roof of the cockpit and engine area was gone, and it looked like a convertible Helicopter. I moved on, taking a knee just past it next to the next shack, putting my hooah finger less gloved hand right into cactus, embedding numerous cactus needles into my exposed fingers. I went down to both knees, and hung my rifle by its sling, taking my other fingers to pluck as many cactus needles from my hand as possible. I couldn’t get back up, the weight of the ammunition was pinning me down, so I had to bend forward, doing a quick pushup, and subsequent squat to regain my feet. I moved on down the path, uttering the names of the assumed MIA. To the right, a path opened up, and I held my fire as a white gowned Somali man almost lost his life, but my quick observation noted no weapon, so I let him go on his way. Bullets were snapping by and through the shacks, and I said to SSG Tewes,”Is that incoming?” he says, “no, that’s not incoming, then a round snaps close striking the corrugated tin and he says, “That’s incoming.” We had no idea where it was coming from, but a cacophony of Machine-gun fire erupted from the streets and lines of machine-gun tracers now reached lines over our heads moving like red blurs from side to side, and then there were several explosions from the street. SSG Dulen had his people fanned out across an open area, and was directing some grenade fire at some distant building and towards the distant sounds of another battle. We were ordered back to the street after about half an hour, and 2nd squad passed through us and I took up rear security. It took us another half an hour to egress the 77

shanty alley, and with me peering without night vision (I had looked at them and recalled our many stand-downs after the order to ‘get it on’, and had tossed my goggles on my cot, now I peered into the night down the dark alley. I was standing next to the fence near the helicopter when someone used a thermite grenade on the wreck, and was now illuminated by a serious aluminum, magnesium and whatever else burns in a helicopter glow and soon was enveloped in the thick, white smoke. Although I no longer had to peer into the dark, now a thick white smoke enveloped me and the trail, and giving me only a couple meters of visibility. I told myself, anything comes out of that fog it dies, as I choked on the smoke. The egress seemed like an eternity, but in reality only took maybe fifteen minutes. The rest of the platoon had attacked back into the street, driving the attacking Somali RPG gunners off, retaking the street to find a Malaysian crewman’s helmet lying in the street. As we again fanned out in front of the long two-story, someone pointed out the two RPG burn marks and holes in the side of the rear APC just down from the turret gunner as if trying to take him out. SSG Tewes had me follow him to the far corner of the twostory, while around the corner on the side street wall; Sammi had a heavy-machine gun and an RPG gunner. We fire and I engage the three-story with 40mm grenade. There was another Derelict APC setting in this intersection and as SSG Tewes and I came forward of it, I saw the blackened and blasted edges of where a RPG had penetrated the armored windshield, a direct hit at the top-front, but the engine was still running, it’s diesel chugging away wafting fumes into the street. I am standing somewhere to the rear of it, when SGT Richard steps out to engage the building with an AT-4. He was standing a little forward and several yards left, so his back blast was minimal to me, but the rocket races like a meteor into the night sky passing over the three-story building and racing off to make is on fate somewhere in the city. The first Sergeant steps out of the dark from behind us, saying, “Who fired that rocket?” This pissed off the Somalis and a machine-gun erupted from on top of the threestory, firing down the street over my head, its long line of red tracers searching for us, and my eyes followed them as it’s first thoughts were of my friend Ray, I knew his squad was lined up past where the bullets now raced. Boom, and a meteor roars down from the roof following the path of the machine-gun bullets, and a loud concussion soon follows. Mark-19s and fifty caliber mounted humvees are now engaging from where the enemy fire had gone, and a cacophony of 40mm explosions are impacting the face of the building, and I step out further into the street and engage the building with my m-16, the volley fire HEDP, as Gimber now steps out to join me and we assist the hummers in widening the windows. SSG Tewes now has the ass at the expenditure of an AT-4 by one of his team leaders and desperately tries to unsling his Laws rocket; I helped him free the strap from his equipment. As he readies the rocket in haste, I realize he’s going to need some covering fire and realize I’m in his back blast, I step to the side and back several meters, opening up with my rifle. As he fires the rocket, a sledgehammer of concussion pushes me a meter to the left, and my head and ears are ringing. The rocket impacts and after several moments of grenade and rifle from others, and myself the firing subsides. The APC to our left still running, and after a question of what do we have anything to mark the building for little bird pinpoint engagement, SG Tewes climbed into the APC through the open rear hatch, turning off the loud monster and emerging with some Malaysian booty, a pair of Malaysian night-vision goggles, and several aluminum tubes.

78

Earlier, a pair of Malaysian APCs came up, and Lt. Hanes directed them to a position down the street several hundred meters, to where a squad of Bravo Company under SGT Hollis, (a fellow sniper student while I was in school) had been ambushed and occupied a building. A helicopter could be heard nosing over into a high pitched dive, and looking up, a line of tracers from its mini-gun erupted in a vertical line from the night sky, followed by several shrieks and meteoric streaks of red from the 2.75 inch rockets he had fired, and finally pulling out of the dive to race off into the night sky. Well, SSG Tewes was determined to get some of that, and taking what looked like a flair, he fired it at the building, whoops, tear gas. I had nothing but ammunition in my protective mask case. I covered my face with my t-shirt and hoped we didn’t get attacked. After the mad engagement, my squad was lined up in front of the two-story building, and Thornton had a stoppage in his SAW. He had nothing to dig it out with, so I handed him my Leatherman’s, but he couldn’t see what sort of stoppage and asked if I had a light. I told him only a white lens Maglight, and he took it. The squad on both sides of him kind of faded away as he turned it on and cleared his stoppage. Some time during the action, a Somali woman walked down the street and past the three story and us, passing into the night. During the fighting, three other APC’s had moved up and were moving up and down the road blasting at anything that shot back, and the three story building. Lt Hanes stopped these APC’s and with some animation, convinced them to move several hundred meters down the road where SGT Hollis’s squad was isolated and the pin point aerial attack was directed, Eventually they returned having extracted the squad. The two hulks sat ominously silent the remainder of the morning, a silent testament to the nights action. And as false dawn, approached I began to winder of the coming day, thinking we had better get off this street. It was just coming dawn, as the APC’s returned, enough to get everyone on board, and I boarded one with Fist Sergeant Doody, feeling I was now restricted. I wanted to pop up out of the back top hatch but was afraid to ask the First Sergeant. I looked at the Radios; they were made in West Germany, labels all in German. I later discovered these APCs were called Condors. They had a hatch on either side between the two large wheels. We rode the APCs to the stadium, finding we were the first to arrive, and moved up into the Bleachers, some lying down, others such as Ray, SSG Dulen and myself were too geared up to even sit. I moved to the top of the bleachers and took several pictures from the top rim of the stadium. About this time, the main body of Alpha Company and the remaining Rangers came in with the dead and wounded. We moved down to assist in aid and litter, but still wearing our helmets. The first thing we all saw was a large man lying in the supine position, stripped of clothing, blood running down the outside of APC from the roof, Ray and another quickly climbed on board and carefully lowered the man down to five or six sets of hands, taking him we placed him on a litter and others carried him away. He had a long gash in his neck and was stark white from loss of blood. We turned back to the APC, casting open the doors to the sick, sweet smell of blood and wounds. Five or six wounded lie waiting for us, and we extracted each to a litter taking him to an assembly point nearer to the bleachers. Pakistani Soldiers appeared throughout, offering water, hot tea, and rice soup with chicken broth. The first thing the wounded asked for was water. I ran across one of my friends from Alpha Company’s wounded, whom I helped carry, and pulled a tick from his leg near to the bullet wound in his thigh. After concluding the aid and litter, we moved back 79

into the Stadium, and I extracted the one item of luxury I always carried, a can of Coke and ceremoniously popped it open. During this time, I sat and casually took pictures of the medivacs and stadium the best I could under the sly, as I knew Delta and Rangers would confiscate my camera. As Alpha and the Rangers were lifted out, there was only Charley remaining, and we were the last airlifted out. I took one more picture as we past the stadium in the air, and a final shot as we descended to land at Jaybird. The trip back to barracks was solemn and thoughtful, not as had been the triumphant return after our first fight, but certainly having an aura of accomplishment and satisfaction.” It appears that the Sammi’s were ready for them, as if their interpreters or someone in the know had set them up, as there were defensive positions on the site of insertion and contact almost immediately, coupled with the loss of a helicopter early on. We first got word at 1515, 3rd October and finally getting it on at 1645 hours. We only made it to the crash and encirclement site at almost 0100 hours 4th October. Over this hill, about five hundred meters from us, a squad of Alpha Company is pinned down. The sound is distinct; stray bullets close, or high above your head, Explosions relatively near or far, and our own explosions from At-4, LAWS Rockets and 40mm grenades, and bullets impacting ground or concrete ricocheting off our target building, fifty meter to our front. The tracers bright red and go careening off in every direction, or will actually stick into a concrete wall or mortar, glowing quite brightly for a short time. The yellow, green fire trail of the Rocket propelled grenade, large, noisy and ominous. An APC, hit and out of commission, its engine still running, sitting there like some forgotten toy, and another further back into our position, silent and scarred. The three remaining moving up and back, firing their coaxial machine-guns, we sent them to assist Alpha Company, but it took a while for Lt. Hanes to get them to understand what we wanted them to do. They came back, after a while, I still don’t know if they helped. We never figured out how to mark our target building for the gunships, so had to deal with the threat on our own. To do this we would step ten to fifteen feet into the street from the shadows and shoot our weapons or rockets at the windows. I shot eleven 40mm rounds at these windows myself, and an AT-4 missed while a LAWS rocket connected. Gimber shot maybe as many as me, and the Mark-19 shot as many. We rocked their world. They can install larger windows now, and some in new places. We never did completely suppress them, as they still sniped at us from up there through out the morning. An area only twenty- five to forty meters from our area of concentration next to this building front. I’m glad we never took fire from the shantytown across the street, exposed as we were against that building wall. We would have killed civilians with the amount of fire power we apply, that’s the first we saw them preserve their non-combatants, but the other times we were maybe fighting in neighborhoods that they weren’t a part of, thus the disregard for their civilians. Pakistani Stadium, Early Dawn, 4 October, 1993

Raymond Schneider, Overlooking Medivacs, 80

Pakistani Stadium, Morning October 4, 1993 SPC Rodney P. Burke, Pakistani Stadium.

5 October First call 0530 hours, and I’ve been up and writing of yesterday’s events. A cup of coffee and now I’m wide-awake. I wonder what this day has in store for us. PT you can bet. Kia tally for 2/14 – one dead, twenty-two wounded, of which seventeen are from Alpha Company. The word is that four M-1 Abrams tanks and a company of Bradley’s are on their way over. The day was going good until about noon, and then the stupid shit started. Clean our LCE, flak vest cover, and Kevlar cover. Tie everything off; inspection, here, that’s nuts. I just changed my covers, but I did have to tie off one ammo pouch and one first aid pouch I use for my compass. I then sewed glint tape on my helmet cover, and sewed a foam pad around the neck of my 40mm grenade vest, as that thing is unbearable to wear regardless. We had our own squad AER, one thing that came up was that SSG Dulen is spreading hints that he had to take over 1st and 3rd squad that SSG Skiles and Tewes stressed out and lost control, and should see a psychiatrist. Yeah right, he’s just a hot head, high strung. Rumor has it we’re picking up Dart team mission for two days, Downed Aircraft Recovery Team for the Rangers, starting tomorrow. I’ve been to dinner already, same ole, same ole. Final word is there were seventy-eight wounded and twelve dead; seventeen of the wounded from Alpha, and five from Charlie 2/14, while Alpha had PFC Martin KIA, and Battalion lost a Staff-Sergeant Houston of the combat engineers KIA. That leaves sixty Ranger and Delta casualties, forty-nine wounded, eleven dead, and ten or twelve left standing, by my rough battlefield estimates and rumor. 6 October Yesterday went by slow and morbid, sort of a doze day. Up this morning at 0330 for guard, and stayed up until first call after guard. We did a PT session of push-ups, a two-mile run or so, topped off by my arm workout abbreviated. I went and showered, taking a pair of socks to wash them. Afterwards I went to the TV room and watched the news, pictures of the APC killed by RPG at my platoons’ position. They were very destroyed as the Cobras shot them up with TOW missiles after we left. They also showed the five-ton truck and humvee we lost when 2nd and 3rd platoon was ambushed at the K-4 traffic circle, were burned also. Last was the scene that really has me filled with pain and rage. Dragging our dead through the streets, like something inhuman. This must have been one of the pilots or crew, but I think the Rangers or Delta lost men MIA at our site. I have on tape recording my platoon at the 2nd crash site calling for the pilots by name, it breaks my heart to listen to it and know they’re gone. Calling out, Smith, Cleveland, Dugart, and I had to listen to my tape just now to remember Dugart’s name. (Shugart). Damn, I’ve been holding this note pad for the last half hour or so as I dozed. I’ve been cleaning my gear and laid out my ammo. 630 5.56mm, 33 HE, 4HEDP, 7 flairs, 6 CS teargas, four smoke 40mm grenades and was just issued two M67 fragmentary grenades this morning. There’s been a lot of hype and speculation about the M1s, Bradley’s and additional Rangers and 24th Mechanized troops coming. Are they

81

going to replace us? 600 24th troops, 4 tanks, spectre Gunship, Apaches, and we wonder. We’re still dart team for now. 2nd Book 6 October, 1100 AM We’re waiting for inspection and I am reading some of Newsweek and napping a little until noon. I then went to the PX with Ray and bought film, and when I came out some Indian soldiers asked me if I would go back in and buy them a radio, but the kind they wanted wasn’t available and they settled for Walkman types. Ray and I headed back to platoon area, where I spent time sweeping and sorting, packaged some things to send home. I read some more of the article I was reading, and then went to the Swedish PX to check on my film, but it’s still not in. Coming back here, I finished laying out my gear for inspection. It’s not perfect, as I just wiped and dusted and a light brushing of the dirt and dust. Now I’m sitting on my cot awaiting the frivolous inspection, and now we have to put our shirts on. SFC Borhan inspected all our gear, and when the CO inspected, he checked less than ten percent. Capt. Whetstone gave us a speech after inspection on who is coming to assist and how long we’re staying, and I taped it with my micro recorder. We went to chow and it wasn’t too bad, barbeque chicken. We talked to SSG Simpson afterwards and SSG Baker earlier, about Ray and his feelings concerning our situation. SSG Simpson thinks we’ll be gone in three to five weeks, and the CO thinks by January 15. I think in a month and a half, tops. Ray has been pretty well smashed, very demoralized; everyone in our immediate command wants me to talk to him, encourage and lift him up. I really don’t know how. He already reads his grandfathers WWII bible, and has spoken with the chaplain and two Sergeants we both respect, Simpson and Baker. I crashed early, but not before hearing that a Sammi had gotten into the embassy, UN compound and was still at large, throwing grenades. SGT Seidle and SGT Hernandez were both out between our bunker and the water-point next to the wire, locked and loaded – Paranoid – The embassy is a long way off. 7 October 0530 wakeup and I still have a headache when I lay down and I still do. I took two aspirin and two Tums. We ran four miles or so for PT and then couldn’t shower, as the water pumps were down for repair. I changed shirts and went to breakfast in a dry PT shirt. I was seriously hungry eating eggs, French toast and rice Crispies in chocolate milk, my poor boys cocoa Crispies, and orange juice. Now I’m watching the liars on TV, saying we were defeated on the battlefield the other night, I don’t think so. Three hundred Somali dead, five hundred wounded, and we had twenty dead and seventy-eight wounded. I think we may have had a draw, at least! My numbers may be exaggerated, but there have been over one thousand casualties in that area, a place we call the ‘Black sea’. Last night the airfield was mortared, and a direct hit killed one Ranger and wounded thirteen. A hit on their command post, they have no luck. Time to send the Rangers home, I think, but the word is there are more on the way, to replace the battle weary. I think we’re equally weary, or a little wearier than they are. I got some more info from SGT Washington; Duncan (Durant) is the name of the pilot whom was captured. Smith, Dugart, Cleveland, and Duncan – There were two bodies dumped off at sword base. The pilots said that women and men were ferrying weapons towards the encircled Rangers, but they were denied permission to fire on these 82

people. All told in transportation, we lost five Humvees, one five-ton truck, two helicopters, and four Condor APCs. Pilots also saw 106mm recoilless rifles moving towards our positions and again permission to fire was denied. The new word is that radio-detonated mines have been found strapped to Donkeys. There are cadres of terrorists from places such as Iran and Libya, and the PLO are training the Sammi’s. All this info, take with a grain of salt. It’s been a lazy day, 1530 hours now. I’ve taken my packages to the post office. I’ve been studying my E-5 study guide and playing games that the bank sent us all afternoon - just saw the C-130 spectre fly over, good omen – I’m happy, I’ve been eating all afternoon, candy, pineapple, applesauce, and granola bar. Sorted my goodies and gave SSG Tewes my gummy worms. 1545 hours, the battalion assembled up above HQ. The Malaysians, assorted highranking dignitaries, and other odd spectators were present. This is when we found out about the second fatality, SGT Houston. An engineer attachment, was in an Alpha Company APC on the way out, was shot in the chest. SGT Houston lived several days and died recently, yesterday or the day before. I didn’t know. Two sets of boots, a rifle stuck bayonet first in a square of sandbags, boots set to either side of rifle. I recorded the ceremony on tape. Okay, its 1930 hours and we’ve just gotten the final official word on the Somali body count from the 3rd and 4th, three hundred killed, seven hundred wounded, so we put one thousand swinging Somali dicks out of action. I wonder how many of those seven hundred we’ll be fighting next month. Those figures are from the Geneva contingent, the Swiss. Since I trust Swiss watches as reliable, well! Damn, there’s a lot of grab-ass going on now. We’re happy, happy! I can hear Spectre, right now, and we just had the Tunisians blast off a mad minute. Word is we’re getting new lightweight DCU’s and a new hat, and some other odd new gear. Tomorrow we go out and live fire on a range with the Bradleys. Yeah! 2/22 and 2/7 field artillery are getting their shots and all SRC or whatever. Yeah, we’ll have 105mm artillery cover, Spectre AC-130, four Apache Helicopters, Seven Cobras, four Abrams tanks, and a battalion of Mechanized. They’re here to support us, I hope. We’re going to hand Sammi his ass to him. I f he kills Duncan, he’s over with. Gimber has been issued a Laws rocket, where is mine? I hope I get one. Yeah, we’re jubilant, after the emotional moment of the KIA memorial. It’s almost 2200 hours now, and I’ve been outside working on my arms and shoulders. Tunisians were firing it up, so they drew my platoon and HQ out to watch. I talked with SGT Sax, who was with HQ in an open hummer, when we ran the long ambush through downtown Mogadishu. He said it looked like star wars. I said I was smashed in the center of my armored car, so blind I was scared shitless the first half hour of firing, or so. It took over ninety minutes to get through that mess. Ray came out, talked to me my last set. That’s when the firing started. He said the 1/22 was also alerted and SGT Smith has our travel manifest made out, and we should be packing in about a month, so I was right. Forty-five hundred marines have been off the coast for the last week or so. Ray is going to the port on Kenya’s coast for R&R, Battle stress; he’s like me, too much time to think. He’s all right on a mission. It all closes in on you while you wait – down time. SSG Tewes thinks we are going into some serious combat mode real soon, and I kind of think so, my self. I can hear Spectre flying overhead. I wonder where Aideed and his understand what lurks over their heads. Ray says we have Aideed number one, two, and three men, his right hands so to speak. He’s asked for twenty of his men who are held in return for Duncan. God protect our man, I know he’ll do as he has planned. There’s always hope. A newsman who interviewed us today said they taped the Somali’s cutting off the dead Americans balls and dick, 83

dragging our dead, and holding up body parts and bloody clothing, dancing around with pieces of our men. They’re savages, no honor or virtue, no respect. Well, I’m off to bed, 2310 hours, and another day gone by. 8 October It’s now 0730 hours after a 0530 wake up where I arose to shave and brush my teeth, and PT, mostly stretching, a two and a half mile run, some pushups, sit-ups, pullups, and gravity sucks. I went to chow at 0700 with Schneider. He’s off to Mombasa, Kenya for R&R, has just left. SGT Seidle went too, and some more from the other platoons. I feel alone, actually going to miss him, Ray, I mean. I just finished tying off the pull-up bar to the wall of our building, as it wants to fall over. I am going to shower now, and then get dressed for QRC. I was awakened about 0430 this morning by gunfire. Jesse Jackson said on the tube that our attacks over here were racial, and Les Aspin turned down a request weeks ago from General Montgomery for Armor support. Spent some time on my study guide, and dozing, but now we’re on a stay busy stress syndrome. It’s 1230 hours and I’m in the bla, feels like I’ve lost my best friend. I miss Ray already. He’s really been here for me. Now I feel alone, no one to identify with. The shadows of battle hang over me. Someone once said that once you’ve seen the elephant, you’re changed forever. I look forward to battle, as an addiction, but also long for leave, for a rest. The part hard to handle is the down time. The waiting…in lieu of fate…prelude to destiny… harder than actual combat or peace, it’s utter limbo, always to wait…never know. I studied for a while, until it bored me too sleep, and then napped for an hour or so, to again get up and read, my book ‘The First and the Last, and then went to the toilet. I ran into Tiejen coming back, and we sat on a bench in front of the mess hall for quite a while, no one knew where we were and that was good. After finally coming in, we noticed everyone was doing PT, so we dressed accordingly. I worked my abs, sit-ups and crunches, and then came back in to cot and studied a little, and now I’m off to eat chow. I’m back, I had watermelon for the first time here and vinegar soaked cucumbers, a tomato-goulash type dish, chocolate cake, and milk, and peas and carrots. I am going to study for a while. I had a long talk with Allen, we talked of one NCO who almost broke, one you wouldn’t have thought would, about Schneider, himself, my self, self-defense, and staying here compared with going home soon or in November. The pros and cons. tried studying a little more, about guard duty, and will have to reread that one as I’m getting tired; it’s only 1830 hours, though. Probably more bored than tired. I can’t concentrate, just need to do something. We haven’t been mortared for a while, although the Tunisians shot it up last night, and I heard what could have been, an incoming RPG explode during their mad minute. 9 October Spectre fired over 100 105 mm rounds lat night, at what I don’t know, probably just a display of force and zeroing his gun. The Tunisians woke me up early this morning, damn machine guns. It took a while to get back to sleep, as I also had guard from 0030 to 0130 hours. First call at 0530 hours found us, company formation run. Our squad leaders got an ass chewing from the 1st Sergeant passed down through SFC Borhan to them, due to their squad members falling out of the run. Some people just can’t run. I did my hour after PT weight workout, showered and went to chow with McClain and Thornton. Boucher sat down with us; we talked about the troops coming over, how the mail will be messed up and set back, and the scout’s part in the 4th October battle. I came back here 84

and talked supply into taking my laundry late, good-natured fellows. The second time I’ve been late for laundry. I’m feeling kinda bla…distant…thoughtful…pain…I just came in from the deck, was out absorbed in my own…smoking a Swisher Sweet, and SSG Skiles came out and asked me about Schneider. He said SSG Dulen, Ray’s Squad Leader, was putting Ray down, saying he thought scouts were supposed to be whoooaa, SSG Skiles having served in the scouts with us both said bullshit, scouts has nothing to do with it, to look at Burke. We talked about our times in scouts, people and places that seem so far away, so long ago. War does change a person. I was changed long ago, but feel more so, now. The memories, near misses, wounded, dead, actions, tracers, explosions, and varying sounds of passing bullets. The smell of cordite, diesel, sweat, dirt, and filth, all mixed into the sound of distant battle and the wondering if any friends were wounded or dead over there. The wonder of what happened to Smith, Dugart, and Cleveland. Where are they? Now wondering what happened to the lost patrol. What will happen when the sun comes up? As I’m both wondering and fearing its light. The sound of distant battle…nothing more provoking of emotions, not even more than being in battle it’s self. As I ponder, I think it so petty to write of what I’ve done today. It’s now 1930 hours, I’ve just eaten some chow, Campbell’s soup, after our instructions on POW search, and then I slept for an hour and half, but was awakened to go down to these roofless buildings to teach the Cherry some MOUT SOP with our squad. Our cherry refill soldiers have been kept out of our missions, owing to their just arriving the day we came back from our first fight. They were actually sitting on their footlockers as we all sauntered in from the fight swaggering and telling battle stories. It must have been an impressionable display. I came back here after about an hour and grabbed my checkbook, and Tiejen, Allen, McClain and I went to the PX where I wrote a check for $6.50 to Danny, so I could take his money and pay for my film at the Swedish PX. They weren’t open, changed their hours. I came back here just in time for CQ, and studied for the E-5 board. I watched some video tape from someone’s home until around 1700 hours, and then went to chow, eating with Burek and finishing alone, while eating a lot. I came back here and watched Fugitives, and then went out and sat on the sandbag wall and staring out into the night. I remembered and speculated…, we’re going to get the poop on tomorrow soon. We’re going to the range for two days and one night. I am going to get undressed and take a shower; it didn’t happen, I crashed. 10 October 0430 hours, I’m just off CQ; word from drum is that 10th Mnt. HQ is on their way over, as 10th mountain is taking over from the UN. Damn how tempers flare, I had asked Trowbridge to wake up Adams for me on his way back to bed at 0400 hours, well at 0410 hours Adams shows up and has the ass with me. I just figured out he wanted up at 0330 hours, but that’s when Gimber woke me up for CQ, things can get pretty mixed up early in the morning. Sitting here waiting to wake up, I’m going to pack my ruck for the range, and shower and shave. Jamming to Metallica; my coffees ready and I have the majority of items ready to pack. I stayed up after CQ to shower, shit, and shave, but not in that order. I then went to phones and tried to call my mother, Ronnie, Smokey, but couldn’t get through to a satellite. I packed my ruck, filled a canteen, went and got four boxes of flakes and bringing them here to eat in my canteen cup. I grabbed the hummer keys from CQ, I’m driving to the range. It’s raining lightly, has been since early last night. The seat was wet, so my ass was wet before we left. The ‘range’ we’re going to is an old armor 85

and ADA military facility. Derelict ammunition carriers, and across the road what looks like a SAM launcher parking garage, as the launchers are still there and what appears to be the first stage of what could be SA-2Soviet ADA missiles. Other odd military vehicles; a 57mm single barrel AAA with its muzzle stuck in the dirt and long abandoned. These people have been at war for almost nine years, civil war that is, and had attacked Ethiopia before then, but were beaten back. The building my platoon occupies has a majority of the walls knocked out, but still has a roof on it. The pier sections holding the structure up don’t appear up to the task. The engineers set off a demo-demo for the track heads. I felt our structure shake. Good thing I slept on the roof. Seven of us did, the two M-60 gunners and their AG’s, and Gimber, my roommate from back in Drum. We filled sand bags for the live fire room clearing lessons, the sandbags to absorb the rounds and prevent ricochets. The track heads had a live fire with their tanks and Bradleys, and that was spectacular. Later, we all joined the Saw gunners, 203 grenadiers, M-60 Machine gunners, and Riflemen climbing from the M1A1 Abrams turrets to the building rooftop, where we had a live fire of our own. These target buildings were devastated, but still standing. We also had a lesson on M203 firing as a grenade struck o pole to our front and bounced back at us, exploding near the right side M1A1, wounding a tank crewman. We concentrated fire into the buildings and later set up a quick fire range. A general showed up and gave a big speech, I missed what was said as I listened from the roof top, wishing I had tape to record it. I took a picture, anyway. The night ended with the tracks firing flares and having night live fire, and spectre showed up, opening up at a point a thousand meters or more away. I pulled my rooftop guard from 2140 to 2250 hours. I slept through the morning with occasional waking up, and the wind blew off my poncho, once. I slept pretty good, but dreamed all night. 11 October 0530 first call, I stayed on the roof watching the Company awaken, until we were called down from watching the live fire show of our mortar section, to go shoot M203 rounds. When we got there, we found all the HE had been shot up, so we went back across the road and liberated two boxes of smoke rounds. I fired green, Gimber fired yellow, less spectacular than HE, but trajectory practice just the same. Afterwards, we showed up back at our rucks just in time to pack, do a police call, and carry range material to the trucking point. The trucks arrived, we loaded up and after a medium long wait headed back to here, the university, which was still here. Time was after breakfast, but I went anyway, liberating three boxes of Rice-Crispies and chocolate milk, ghetto coco-Crispies, and a couple cups of sliced peaches and odd particles of fruit cocktail. I cleaned my weapon and now it’s about 1115 hours. Almost time to go to the Swedish PX to get my film back. Oh yeah, the prisoner that Aideed has, his name is Duran, not Duncan. I saw his wife on TV, he is listed as MIA. I went to the Swedish PX, bought a T-shirt and my film still wasn’t in. As I was going to, I saw Balog smoking Esparza, Riggle, Watson, Bledsoe, Cruz, Boucher, Clayton, and Gibney. I stopped and watch on the way back, fifteen minutes later. They were low crawling, then back swimming and various other things. Then SGT Henry took a picture as they were covered in sand from the volleyball court. I walked up then and asked if he had been promoted. He pointed to the E-5 rank on his hat, said ‘I’m not wearing this for nothing,’ told me to do pushups. I didn’t. Esparza said, ‘He smoked me too,’ the Corporal Ranger, as Sgt Meyer put it. I walked away, the Sergeants commenting on it. Fuck them, I’ll die or get court marshaled before I do pushups for Balog. I’m 86

studying for the E-5 board myself, tonight, or this afternoon, as it’s only 1315 now. Well, for as long as I could stand it. Schneider is back from Mombasa, said he drank one hundred beers or more and ate steak every night. I went through my mail, nursing a malaria pill induced headache, enhanced with a Shasta coke. I crashed after talking to Ray a bit about his trip, R&R, I mean. 12 October Up at 0330 for guard, then stayed up until first call, and went and called mother and wished her a happy birthday, cussing over the phone, very embarrassed, but we were talking about here, and I got to telling her about the Rangers not saying anything about us, 2/14th helping them, like sucker punching us, but then, maybe he wasn’t supposed to mention us. Maybe it’s something we shouldn’t talk about, who did what over here, security and all that. For PT we played volleyball, but kept it light since we have to run this afternoon, which is stupid, since it’s going to be ninety degrees or more. We’re cleaning now, our personal and common areas. We didn’t run, but stayed in PTs all day. They brought in beer. I drank some and had a comfortable buzz. We had camaraderie discussions and conversations, war stories. The cooks served steak, fish, chicken and some realy good baked beans with bacon. I chugged two one-liter bottles of water from the time I went to bed to first-call, arising to piss several times. I took two aspirin and two Geritol before bed, dreaming most of the night. I could fly, in my dream. The second time I’ve dreamed that here in Somalia. 13 October 0530 first call. I was up at 0500, having a couple cups of coffee. We ran a slow run, the usual long course, around brigade circle, back down university hill, turn into the Embassy access road, back to the corner farthest from anywhere, turned around, back to the university, up the hill, around brigade to and down the hill to our road, and then back to the barracks where SSG Tewes marched us around for a while to cool down. I worked my arms afterwards, and then grabbed a cold shower. It seems to be more people are using our shower these days. Spent the morning squaring away our areas, did a police call around our building, and then spent the big part of the day rereading letters and writing returns. I also read newspaper clippings, and then played a game of Monopoly, coming in second out of five, but still a loser. I have been on call to be Airguard or TC for a convoy going to get some nineteen newsies, but it’s almost 1700 hours now and the mission never happened. I went and picked up the Mark-19, Prince was at HHC, so we helped him load lightweight DCU’s and boots so he could carry our M-19 back to our area. One air-guard is back, Tiejen got hit with a rock, as Somali kids threw rocks at them. Ambush, I’d have shot a tear gas at them. Chow was bland, but filling. They had Welch’s grape soda for us, and I’m now full and relaxing, but I’ve been doing that all day. I hear we’ve gotten the last body back from the Aideed faction, and now only the pilot, Duran is still in their hands. I hope we get him back, and I hope we go back for one more shebang. The word is the 24th is going to pull some sort of mission, and we’re on QRF for them, so we’ll probably go out. They’re sure to get into a bind. It’s almost 2100 hours now and I’ve been playing Monopoly again, and again coming in second place, which isn’t a place in that game. It’s been a lazy day, the most work I’ve done is carry about three boxes of water from a five ton earlier, but there were a lot of us, so forty-five boxes went quick, and carry the M-19. I think my workout this 87

morning was the hardest thing I’ve done. I took a nice hot shower, running the tank out of water. Now the nights about over, and I have last guard so I get to awaken everyone for first call. On the armed forces radio tonight, they said the UN was not going to deal for the release of Duran and that he’s to be returned unconditionally. I believe he may not come back alive, as he’s been shot in four places, I’ll bet he’s bad off. We’re going to get nasty over with them over this. The Navy or Marine fighters and bomber (F/A-18 Hornets and A-6 Intruders) air-patrols have been overflying the city during the day, and Spectre flies sometimes at night. I’ll bet Sammi is spooked. I would be. I stayed up late, trading guard with Thornton, my first call for his 2330 to 0030 hours shift. I woke up half dead, having dreamed most of the night; I dreamed I was still in Somalia and still doing nothing. 14 October 0530 hours again, and I’m up with two cups of coffee. We stretched for twentyfive minutes, so our twenty-five minute of running took us only a short distance, and someone, Boyd or Thornton, maybe both decided to sprint up the short hill near the mess hall, so SSG Tewes obliged us, made us do the down and back up four times. It felt good, and then off to the chin up bar, and finally rounding it out with one hundred sit-ups. We have a PT test coming in two weeks. We wasted time doing nothing, bull shitting and playing grab ass until 0830 or so before showering. The water was still warm by that time Chow was okay, I spoke with the chaplain over chow, talking of the Somali situation. Back here we’ve been discussing the same-ole what if about Duran; when we’re going home. It’s now 1430 hours; I spent time cleaning my area, taping some of the swimsuit girls from out of my sports illustrated on the wall over my area. We started around 1100 hours playing monopoly, I have actually won! Gimber went out first, my boardwalk got him. Tiejen lasted about four fifths through, but when he and Boykin finally talked me into trading my singles for theirs, so that they could build a monopoly, it was too late. I had upwards of six to ten thousand cash, and was able to put hotels on my two new monopolies. Boardwalk finally put Tiejen out, and Boykin tried to stay for another half an hour, but I had all the $500’s and ninety percent of the $100’s and seventy-five percent of the $50’s. The last five minutes was like an avalanche, I am victorious, after coming in second place a loser twice before. Almost 1500 hours, we just got word that Duran has been released, well, God bless him, for he’s been through hell. I think 2/14 is close to going home, but you never know past the rumors. I went to the CQ/phone/CP area and stood around listening for a while. Saw Schneider and Gomero coming back from the hospital, said they were turned around at the entrance, as all appointments were canceled. Ray said he saw two Task force Special ops helicopters there, and on the way back he suggested that Duran may have been released, and it was confirmed to him when he stopped by Scout CP. We came back to the barracks and everyone was getting into their PT uniforms, and so yes, now we were. We were detailed to go get packages from up at Battalion, and there were none for me. I did 82 sit-ups for PT and then sat around most of the time, and lay down afterwards waiting to go to chow. I’m back now, had beef-chunks over macaroni, corn, and Apricot jam on MRE bread, all washed down by three chocolate milks. Now I’m back here in my cot, relaxing and doing nothing, writing…; I went to bed early, after showering. 15 October 0530 first call, I had a 0130-0230 guard shift in there. We went for a three mile run for PT, and I had done curls during guard. I read some after chow and a shower, but 88

SSG Tewes stopped by and told me I had better study, I was only going to hurt myself, and so I studied most of the day. At 1500hours we dressed for PT, I worked out while most everyone else plated volleyball or football. I smoked myself, doing 82 sit-ups too. I went to chow afterwards, it wasn’t too bad, but I eat anything and everything, anyway. I heard the Rangers are leaving in seven to eight days. I studied after chow, for some time, and then Schneider showed up from KP. He asked if I was showering, so we went and showered a late one as I had napped after chow and was kind of punch drunk, and very sore from working out. I took a long, warm shower. I came back here and studied for some time, but crashed early and hard, jamming to Poison, Aerosmith, Skid Row and Ozzy Osbourne. I dreamed all night, that I had come home. Good to be home, I thought so in my dream. 16 October, Saturday I had no guard last night, and there was no first call, so I got up at 0730 hrs to go take a piss, now I’m still up and am getting a cup of coffee around. I heard we might be finding out for sure when we’re leaving in eight to ten days. Today we have an awards ceremony for Purple Hearts and Expeditionary Medals, I’ve seen the Expeditionary medals, and they are pretty. We also assume QRF today, and SFC Borhon is planning a ‘get it on’ drill. I’m still groggy and sore from yesterday. Its now 0945 hrs, I just shaved and cut my neck using this new Bic-steel razor. I lay down and took an hour nap, it felt good, and then got up and started a second cup of java, and then SGT. Richard hustled everyone outside to do PT. I had a case of the ass and didn’t cooperate at all, but I get that way. After PT I took a shower and washed my PT shorts in the shower and then went and hung the PT set out on our clothes line, since we ran so late in the morning, they were drenched in sweat. Didn’t do much for the rest of the day, but I did do some writing, as I received some letters and answered them. Ate Cream of Chicken soup for lunch, and napped before the ceremony. We headed out to that at 1545 hrs and stood in formation forever, as Gimber passed out, and we were finally dismissed. I audio taped some of it. The remainder of the night passed slowly and I recorded a conversation with SGT. Washington. I studied for E-5 board most of the day, copying down some of the questions that were to be asked, studying to memory those ones. I stayed up until 1130 when my guard started, pulled it and then passed out hard.

17 October Almost not worth writing anymore, but that’s just me disappointed; I went to the E-5 board today, and was a complete screw up, as I’m not geared for that, being nervous and scatterbrained. I did real badly, (in the words of SFC knight, ‘I’ve never seen him afraid of anything.) My laundry just got back. We were able to sleep in today, but I still awakened exhausted. I took a nap after our after board review, and just got up a half an hour ago. I ate some Campbell soup, watched some WWF, and now am totally bored. I’ve got to get out of here, its 2 PM, ‘sad Sunday.’ I’m losing my do-nothing-type day motivation. I need to sweep my area and do a lot of things. I took over playing Monopoly for Thornton, who had to go to combat life savor class. I got the ghetto properties and chased Galarza off the board after trading him my Ventnor for his four railroads; I traded the green one I bought, Pacific for St. James and Illinois. That gave me three of the cheapest; 89

I ended up beating Peat Tiejens Boardwalk and Parkplace, and three other Monopolies, yes, I won another game. The day passes and I do read a lot these days. I ran into Balog and Collins at Dinner. I showered and worked out after showering, crashing after reading SOF. 18 October Word is the 20th November; I hope so, time to go. Up at 0530 hours, getting old; Ran a couple miles; did some sit-ups and push-ups, two each – ha! I had guard from 0200 to 0300 this morning and tried using the phone afterwards, not happening, but also got to talk to SFC knight who was on the E-5 practice board, he said I did alright; reassured me a little, made me feel better. I do need to change my mental attitude on entering a board. I think I’ll use rage, as that always calms me. The showers were down, a trickle doesn’t get it, but I made do. I chowed to a big breakfast. Schneider had the ass, as he hares his squad, none of them get along and his NCO’s are two-faced and like ‘bitches’. I pity him, he should be in my squad. I packed several boxes after chow, taped them up, then went to finance and got an advance of sixty bucks. Now off to the post office, cost ten bucks to send two boxes home. I think the Swedish PX has lost my film; it’s been almost a month. I bought a Zippo lighter with their field hospital logo on it for twelve bucks. I plan to buy one for SSG Tewes. I came back here and did nothing for most of the day. At 1500 hours we put on PTs and did sit-ups. The first sergeant came out, told me it wouldn’t do to get a 160-170 score on the E-5 board, and that they were holding me back until the next one in December. I feel great relief. SSG Simpson came by, has said that it’s certain we’ll home by the 20th November. I ate chow, not too bad, and showered a long-long-hot shower making up for this morning. I’ve been reading SOF all evening. I have CQ at 0100 to 0200; I guess I’ll try to get some rest. The First Sergeant said the SGTs Major said our fights have been the most intense since Viet Nam for American Infantry. The real thing was the length and flaring of the fights. I believe him, and Collins said that the people up at battalion think I’m certifiably crazy. No, I guess I’m not. I’m just not as scared or uncertain as most people, and I find my personal experiences interesting. It’s hard to relate; everyone who does battle has a hard time relating to people who ask about it; therefore, I taped it and took pictures. So fuck it, don’t mean nothing. 22 October Damn, where have I been for two daze? Way out, southeast, along the coast in nomans land. The first day, the 19th, we set up a 203-competition range and a quick fire range on top of the reef peninsula. I did nothing; sat around gazing out to sea, enjoying the fresh air and rain, yes it rained on us for quite a while, and beautiful coastal scenery. We were shooting at five spaced targets, from 100 to 300 meters for points. My leaf sight was off and my rounds were falling short, no points. I took pictures, relaxed and ate dinner, and did a guard rotation. Almost had a wet dream, but stopped myself. The next day the Company built many bunkers, a trench, and lay out concertina wire for a live fire roadblock running simulation. I got to pull guard, and then SSG Tewes sent Thornton and I went on top of the peninsula to relieve Greenly and Trowbridge at guarding our equipment. We watched the Company work and I got out a pair of Binoculars to check out the Navy ships we spotted on the horizon. An aircraft carrier, a cruiser and a destroyer, and a Marine Amphibious roll-on-roll-off assault ship. They were there the next day, too, on the 21st, when we pulled back to the University. We were able to swim after the ambush live fire on the 20th, and I went bare-ass into the ocean. Some went exploring and seeking aquatic life forms. We saw an eel, 90

numerous crabs and other sea life, colorful fish. Schneider found conches, we boiled water in it to chase out the mollusk, but it didn’t come out, smelled horrible frying in its shell. We spent some time dropping coral rocks off the cliff onto the crabs; watching the waves roll into the cliffs; bullshitting, and a lot of that and I handed out cigars. That night we had an ammunition consuming mad minute shooting up the fortifications built earlier in the day. We were company on line shooting ocean side off the cliffs’ into the ocean on the right side of the peninsula. I fired about 250 rounds of 5.56mm at targets with chemlights taped to them, and fired half that on burst just to experience that trigger time. I ran out of extra ammo, except for my basic load and moved back to my sleeping mat. I napped for about half an hour, and then pick up and went over to Schneider’s position and talked about the narrow margin of safety in combat and various funny things observed in combat. I picked up and moved the twenty feet to the M-60 position where we pulled guard. These really aren’t positions, just equipment of squads on line, sleep on mats at foot of rucks and LBE, we pull our guard with the M-60 machine gun at the gunner’s bed, comers and goers must bug the shit out of him. I had first guard; therefore I got to sleep the rest of the night uninterrupted. I talked to Gomero during my guard about the States, life, ETS, jobs, God and eternity. I slept well, but dreamed a lot. Yesterday, 0530 hours we were up and packing and the trucks didn’t come until 0800 hours. We loaded, after getting one five –ton truck unstuck from the sand, and made the hour long drive north along the coast, and over the MSR. Back here we unloaded, went to chow, returned and cleaned weapons, finally showered up at battalion, as our shower was down. The rest of the day I spent reading mail and drinking water, and I went to dinner, trying to recover from my exposure to the elements. I had guard from 0230 to 0330 hours this morning 22 October I led PT this morning, ran my own route, that sort of thing, and did my own method of stretching out the squad. We ate chow afterwards, showered, dressed and now we’re on call to TC and Airguard for Bravo Company. I’m sorting, cleaning and piddling, right now and trying not to do anything today. I’m all sun burnt on my nose, cheeks, forehead, lips and arms. Someone shot at our helicopters this week, I think on the night 20 to 21 Oct. It’s almost 1400 hrs; I’ve been answering letters and spent some time counting rounds, and more time rapping with the guys. Most of the day passed uneventfully; I worked out at 1530hrs, having a good work out with solid iron weights; thirty through ten-pound weights and two curl bars. I played Monopoly after chow and won and then went out to the deck and finished my workout. Now it’s 2115 hrs, time to crash; a very slow, do nothing at all day. 23 October 0530 now and 0430 for me having last guard, and we did platoon PT with only 1st rd and 3 squad as 2nd squad was pulling guard at the airfield. We ran the usual route down to the embassy and around the field hospital. The shower was a mere trickle and I forgot my towel and washcloth; washed my PT uniform in the shower, drying or wiping off with my shirt and used my shorts as a washcloth after I washed them with shampoo, and then washed and rinsed them again. I’m dressed now and 2nd squad is back, already. I’m eating Cheezum Pringles and candy, waiting for Schneider to finish showering so we can go to chow. I’ve already eaten my weight gainers and had my coffee while on guard. We were supposed to go out 91

somewhere and guard engineer vehicles, I think over by Hunter. We’re still on call for that. I’m going down to the Swede PX to check on the ‘lost’ film from hell. It has been over a month. My face is pealing like a snake, and it’s very dry and rough, especially my nose. We ran past Triple Douche this morning, twice, and their scouts jeered our second time past something like they were over here to relieve us, as we’re getting sent back because we got our asses spanked. Jealousy will get them nowhere, non-CIB wearing fucks. I hope they like guarding the MSR and pulling KP. Schneider’s back from the shower and getting dressed now. Now days we seem to decide our days and make trivially important plans with odds or evens, or sometimes paper, sizzers, rock, but usually odds or evens. I’m back from chow now, after having eaten a square biscuit with bologna washed down with Danish Chocolate milk. Stopped off at Company area and watched a report on an attempt to overthrow the Russian government; tanks firing and all at a place called ‘the white house’. Sixteen people arrested a failed revolution. Its 1030 hrs, we’ve been cleaning weapons and mine’s about as clean as I want it. I went to the roof with a can of heavy-duty Marine Corps issue insecticide and now I have no ants coming down my wall, for the moment; they were coming through a window up near the roof, little piss ants annoying the hell out of me. I keep looking up the wall, but they’re regrouping, planning alternate routes and new avenues of approach. They like my candy bucket, as I’ve already had to throw away my bag of candy-corn. A reporter was in, a little bit ago, singled out Thornton, asking him about his family; he shut her up after he said they were in the middle of a divorce. She’s been running around with another wild wife, feeling free and easy, not paying their bills, neglecting their daughter. He’s been close to a nervous breakdown, but he’s strong, so screw the bitch. (1430 hrs, my opinion of the day. )…if we go out and fight, people will die, the type of soldier that survived our earlier fights was largely due to fire discipline, and training, where most of the dying was from the others’ side. But the mind has to stay clear and focused to remain disciplined. Not that I think we’ve lost discipline, I just feel we’ll do a lot more shooting and less discriminating, a broader target base you might say. It’s now 2030 hours, I took a nap some time after the reporter left, awakening to go to the Swedish PX and they still don’t have my film, but I bought a lighter for SSG Tewes, to award him from the whole squad, as he’s ETSing in March. After coming back here, I sat around talking to Schneider until 3pm, time for PT; I did my 100% sit-up routine, once on the incline bench, once on the mat, one hundred sixty-four sit-ups and thirty crunches. I went to chow afterwards, and have just eaten some Tums for that disaster. I got my hair cut after another long talk about what we heard from SSG Simpson, who we spoke with after chow. I then went and showered the hair from off my shoulders. Spent more time talking after showering, and have just finished reading for the night while listening to Scorpions and Pearl Jam. Now I’m going to crash for a while, like all night, as I don’t think I have guard. 24 October This place is driving me crazy; I don’t know how much longer I can do this. PT twice a day; take our phones; lousy food; showers that hardly work; training in a hostile environment; a prisoner in our own camp. Planning road marches! I hardly participated during PT, as I’m in great shape, always have been, and their programs only wear me down if I do them. I’m just burnt out and tired of being here; we’re slowly driving each other over the edge. Discipline and morale are in bad shape. I just ate a cold breakfast, eating with Riggle and Collins and Squirrel came later, it’s the same with them, too. I ran 92

into SSG Owens outside the mess hall, same with him, too. We need to go home. 0900 hours, that’s all I have to say. Whoops, I wrote on the wrong pad and found this to copy to the right page – Another day closer to home. ) 530 first call, that’s getting – gotten – very old. PT, too, and now the rumor has it that we are due to do road marches. I was waiting for the stupid shit to come full force. The army sucks, I’m getting out for sure. 1045 hrs, I’ve been reading a Life magazine, good articles on the year’s natural disasters. Now I’m going to read my book and let it put me to sleep, wake up and eat a can of soup and weight gainers. Then it’ll be just about time for 1500 PT, when I work out on the second phase of my workout. I just heard some shots, probably a test fire and was awakened this morning by shooting to the south of camp, automatic fire, the first I’ve heard in a long time being fired out of camp. I finished my workout and I’m smoked; I did a few new lifts. I ate a ration of weight gainers and Schneider and I got into the chow line. We had T-Rat steaks, wasn’t too bad. I was actually full when I left. We ran into all sorts of people before, during and after chow. Tomorrow, thirty thousand Somalis from various clans are staging a demonstration/march into the K-4 circle and Black Sea areas; we’re going on alert, as I’m sure Aideed’s people won’t like that and will likely meet this with much force. This may be the thing I’ve had a feeling about, for so long since the 4th, a feeling of inevitability that’s been on my mind. Evidently, these demonstrators are part of the forces who handed in their weapons when asked to do so, and Aideed’s people took two warehouses of weapons out into their strongholds. Its 2000 hours, everyone’s winding down, playing grab-ass and jiving. I took a nap for about an hour. I was very tired from my work out; my muscle mass has increased as the weights are helping a lot. I’m going to continue working out when we get back to Drum.

25 October Crashed hard and dreamed all night, awakening for guard around 1130, was totally wiped out. 0630 first call, no PT,; I got dressed for the day, to await word to get it on which never came. I ran some errands and finally got my film from the Swedes; it cost twelve bucks, and then went to the PX and bought some cokes. I was sapped of energy, almost dehydrated by the time I got back here. It’s getting hotter each day we get closer to December. I had PT again and all I did was a few sit-up’s. Felt shaky, like I was dehydrated. I took my malaria pill. I’m losing enthusiasm in writing anymore, same ole, same ole, ready to go home. 26 October Lazy day, I stayed inside mostly, recovering from the dehydration I experienced yesterday and through the night. It’s getting hotter and easier to become dehydrated. I went on an errand that turned into five errands, so I was out in the sun without water and sweating for some time. I awakened the last time this morning and took two aspirin substitutes and two sinus pills with a pint of water. I was still weak on the 26th. I stayed indoors, missed my workout and read all day. I showered twice, morning and night, crashing late, though. 27 October 93

No PT and I still didn’t workout. I went with Ray to the PX, read, played Tetris, watched some TV, and am playing Tetris now, while alternating with a Michael Creighton book, Congo, and it’s now getting late. I also went to the post office with Ray. We do a lot together, mutual support, he wishes he were in my squad. I got ninety lines on Tetris, my high is ninety-two – that game drives me crazy. Bravo Company was coming back from the beachfront range today, and as they passed through the more built up zone between Guard Post one(The Alamo) and Hunter base, one of them in the forward trucks fired shots to scare a donkey or goat off the road, and the whole company shot their basic loads into the surrounding neighborhoods. Now we have new rules of engagement and we’re being monitored for war crimes. I’ll bet a lot of people who used to like us were killed or wounded. Those were friendly people. Bravos Commander is probably in for hell, it may be the end of his career, and so much for the cease-fire. Only ten Somali were killed and twenty wounded last Monday. We’re going out to a range further south on the coast tomorrow. It’s after 2300 hrs; everyone’s sleeping except for the fireguard. People, some anyway are fed up with each other, normally squad-to-squad crossgrievance type problems, and the constricted and confined nature of our situation. The heat doesn’t help, and seeing the same people all the time. I’ve been reading up to now, and the lack of mentioning home is self-preservation of my own device. I write because I have to. I write about here with ease due to real-time, and it helps me better understand each event as it happens, in hindsight through memory recollection. If I write a lot I’m caused to remember the real-time with special differences, not as a kaleidoscope of intertwined memories. By applying a date to recorded facts, I can better bring out additional details in the future, where they would normally be vague imprecise mental images, which I can’t count on, but for now I’m off for a end of the night piss and then to sleep. 28 October 0630 first call showered and shaved. I packed up my pogie-bait and field paraphernalia. I got some details of Bravo’s debacle from Collins. His third platoon never fired, but the two other platoons did. He said they fired warning shots, one man, due to a kid hitting them with a rock. The saw gunner’s were gunning cowering civilians down, people scattering in every direction. This was not near the MSR guard point, but only four to five hundred meters down the road on the intersection guarded by Arab APC’s – M113’s. A place near the Moroccan compound, I guess. I guess the First Sergeant said he heard rounds going over his head, and Schoemacher said he saw someone with a rifle. Sword base fired up the area after Bravo was clear, and they’re a long ways off. 2/14 has got to be the laughing stock of the country. Yesterday, civilian contractors were ambushed and killed, somewhere over near the airfield or Newport; this shit is starting again. 29 October It’s about 1900 hrs, been a long day. Our 530 wake up turned into 0630. I ate chow of weenies in T-rat eggs and creamed beef. We arrived here the afternoon of yesterday. We’re at an ex-Somali military post, which may have been housing a Battalion or more at one time. The roofs are all off the barracks. Most of the interior and some of the exterior have crude military paintings or murals of soldiers doing their soldier things, plus unit crests and a Somali flag. There are old destroyed Italian trucks lying about. We found a rusty old bolt action or two, and a broken stock, also, and a lot of old ordinance that EOD blew up today. Yesterday was spent setting up what appear Malaysian tropical 94

tents. I went for a walk on the beach and took a lot of pictures. It was very hot yesterday, one hundred degrees plus and very humid. The sunset was nice and the moon on the ocean. Very peaceful, a good vacation for us all. The day today became hot real quick. We spent most of the day relaxing, and went to a squad brief at a sand table of the live-fire scenario of a downed chopper. Wet my shirt entirely with sweat several times today, pants too. Relaxed until 1500 hrs, and then went out to do the walk through and live fire. Operating in this heat is awful. I spent time with Schneider and SGT Seidle talking of the battles we were involved in. I’d like to record those talks one of these days. The marines were flying all around us here today, Cobras, Hueys and Seakings. We could see Abe and her escorts out to sea most of the day. We also did a booby trap lane; SSG Tewes died and Allen set off two more smoke traps, we had violet, yellow and red all at once. I couldn’t move as I had three trip wires in front of me and the smoke was so thick I couldn’t possibly get out of the room I was in without setting one or two off myself. Damn, it was hot, one-hundred degrees plus and one hundred percent humidity. I’ve been drinking water constantly, lying in my Poncho hootch next to the tent now, on my pussy-pad, and its 1930 hours now. I’m going to nap; I’ve got guard at 2330 to 0145 tonight, out. 30 October Packed up the tents, trucks arrived around 0730; we took the coastal drive north and the swing around the MSR to here, the University. The showers weren’t up until around noon. I pulled CQ from 1300 to 1400 hrs, and then slept and read the day away. Not much doing, worked out in the late afternoon, I took a late shower and then crashed. 31 October I had 01090 to 0200 CQ, and am sleepy as all hell; but maybe not. For the seventh straight day I’ve done no PT. I had to take Trowbridge to the helipad this morning. His wife was arrested for possession of an illegal firearm, in other words, she had no permit. He has to go home to care for their five children. I had slept until noon, and am just back from visiting Jenkins, as he arrived today from the States. We’re going to the airfield tonight, it’s my squads turn to guard helicopters. I remember I woke myself up laughing hard from a dream. That was just before my CQ shift. After CQ, I awakened Martin who fell asleep on guard and a half hour into Schneider’s shift. I just spoke to Randell about Mombasa; we’re going there on the sixth of November. I can’t wait; I need to get out of here and can’t pass up the opportunity to go to Kenya. The rest of my day went slow. I did sixty sit-ups for afternoon PT. I didn’t go to the airfield, but some of my squad did. I went to and was eating chow by myself until Collins showed up, and I have now just finished a losing game of Monopoly, I’m going to bed now. 1 November I had to nurse a headache and nausea all night. This place has a way of making me sick for no reason. I awakened and took some aspirin sometime this morning. Instead of PT, Tiejen, Boyd, Gimber, SSG Tewes and I went as TC and Airguard for the chow run over to the MOUT site which is the area where 1 /64 of the 24th Division will be when their base is completed. I could think of a better place to put them. On the way there we drove over the spot where a fire-roadblock was set up last night, getting soot all over me. The 24th sent M-1s out that destroyed the roadblock. I’m sure Sammi wasn’t expecting that. We finished our chow run and returned here to a breakfast of scrambled eggs and 95

pancakes, grapefruit slices and orange-juice. I took a late shower and the water had time to heat up, so I had a hot one. I just finished using two cans of bug juice on the ants that have been raiding my AO. I’m looking around and don’t see too many right now. I finished a second letter to my young California pen pal. I went on a second TC trip, this time to pick up 3rd platoon,; they had chased a large group of Sammi’s off their AO, and later took small arms fire from the bush to their rear. By the time we arrived, the 24th whose convoys had shut down the MSR had arrived in force. I sat around reading a little as we’re still on call, and got word to ‘get it on’ to go pick up Alpha who were at the Blue Lagoon. On our way back in, those in the first two trucks shot at kids who were throwing rocks at them. The assholes are getting stupid on us. I finished chow and played two games of spades with Ray as my partner, and we won both! I afterwards worked out and took a shower. The phones are impossible to get through, and if you do, you may get cut off, so you say your goodbyes first. Anyway, there’s nothing left to do now but go to sleep. SSG Simpson leaves for home soon, and he stopped by to say goodbye, promising us some slots for sniper school. It’s good to see anyone get out of here. I’m happy for him. 2 November 0530 wake up with no guard last night. We did a short two plus mile run and sweated for twenty minutes after stopping. It’s that humid here in the morning, you sweat everywhere here, even in air-conditioning; I took a cool shower and sweated after getting out. I got dressed in tri-colors today and went to chow for pancakes, sausage links, and orange juice. We had to sweep the long inner hallway after breakfast. I placed a couple words in scrabble for Gomero, and then took over for his last two words; zoo got him thirty-six points, though. He came in second place, thank me. Reading, eating, reading eating – rest room (piss), reading! 1230 hrs, a picture in this magazine reminds me of the cliffs out at Blue Lagoon. The clams embedded in the coral, perhaps hundreds of years old, when we broke them open, there was a live clam in them; unable to grow, but able to feed off the dead inner reef, and some other potato bug looking creatures with fuzzy fur around their edges, looks like one of the prehistoric in this magazine. I listened to music while reading, and even wrote something for a change. It’s now almost 1500 hrs, a very slow day. We didn’t do PT, but I did work out an abbreviated pump. Ray and I lost in spades to Martin and Burek, but we had beaten them the night before. The best out of three will be tomorrow. I went to chow and it was decent tonight. Chili-mac, peas, peaches and corn bread, but there’s only orange juice left to drink. The showers were still hot when I hit them; I came back from showering and the word is we have to wear shirts to the shower, as our nipples are teasing the female types. I crashed late around 2200 hours. 3 November I had first call guard hour. We did a four-mile road march for PT and I did curls afterwards. I had pancakes for breakfast, covered in blueberries, and orange juice to drink. I was wanting to get a haircut from Boyd before I showered, but he took too long cutting his own hair, so I blew that off. I’ve been loitering around all morning; read the elementary class letters sent to Ray from the teacher, as his cousin is one of the kids, I got a kick out of them. The day passed slowly and there’s not much of anything, I did. I packed a box and sent it out, and lost again at spades; luck has to change, but no I lost to Hall at Monopoly. I think I’ll quit playing games. I’m going to work out, yeah, that’s what I’ll 96

do. That was 1730 hours, it’s now 2400 hours and I’m on my guard hour, sitting in the uncomfortable chair, and it’s raining quite steadily. It’s very relaxing and cool, and I had to go put on full sweat PT uniform and grab mu Cutters due to the skeeters, now. It’s a down poor as I sit in the bunker, yeah, I like it. I’m eating my Weider ration for the night. I went to chow and it sucked, but it was a good time anyway. We played spades when I returned; one game lasted almost three hours, Ray and I won. We had to play a tiebreaker as we were two games to two, and we won that one, too. The best out of five, feels good to win, we always underbid, but were stetting ourselves until we got our signals down. Ray just came by, after pissing off the deck into the rain. Another half an hour and back to bed. We are supposed to get to sleep in tomorrow morning. Doc Annesa is here, getting ready to make a run for the outhouses, I told him to piss off the deck, it’ll wash away; he just did, ha! I can’t wait to go home. I saw something about the National Guard tonight; I may check it out, the 38th Infantry in Indy. Just what I wanted, lately, that is; yeah, it’s raining. 4 November I slept in this morning, to 1730 hours, and then went to shower and shave. It’s been the ultimate slow day. I played three games of Spades; I won two, and played five games of horseshoes, winning three with Ray as my partner against Burek and Martin. Not a bad day for playing games, as I think I heard a lot of rumors, new and old. Our AT section turned in their Dragon thermal sights, and another rumor says we are to turn in our ammunition on the thirteenth. The interpreters are being given a vacation on the twelfth. Some wives are said to have called Colonel Ward over the newspaper article saying we’re coming home, and he replied that we should be home by the twenty-first. The Chaplain got into an argument with him, chastising him for knowing when we’re leaving and not telling. Anyway, breakfast wasn’t bad, and dinner took the edge off my hunger. I’ve been drinking a lot of coffee and tea today so I need a shower. I’m just back from the PX where I picked up a card and headphones. 5 November In past tense, what have I done yesterday, as today is the sixth. I played a lot of cards and took a nap that left me dehydrated, considering the PT test we did early morning. I did a 300 +, but was extremely dehydrated, and still have a slight headache this morning. I ran around getting ready for a pass to Mombasa; one-hundred and fifty dollars from finance and wrote a fifty dollar check buying a pair of shorts, a camera, and a bag of Redman. I’ve got two-hundred dollars for the trip and a MasterCard if I need it. This morning we’re off to the range. I ate dinner with Ray and Jenkins last evening, hearing another rumor that Soldier Gym in Ft. Drum is laid on for us on the 22nd on 0800 hrs. With this North Korea thing, I wonder what our future holds. I finished the night with a hot shower. 6 November 0500 wake up, packed for the range, but we’re not to load until 0830 hrs, so we’ve got three and a half hours to get ready. We had eggs to order at chow, peaches and Choco-milk; two cups of coffee to get the pump running. Loading on number three truck, but no one was certain which truck was which, so I put my ruck on number two truck with my case of bottled water. Uneventful drive out to the new range, a place half way between Blue Lagoon and Old Fort, the place where Alpha Company was attacked by the bees. We set up a zero and qualification range, as the other platoons set up Saw, M-60, and M-203 ranges. 97

I didn’t zero correctly and shot the qualification with large aperture, so my first try score was quite low. By the time I figured it out, I had failed again, this time using the small aperture without re-zeroing, which changed my sight picture. I shot a third time, shooting Buchanan’s target with one magazine, so I had to shoot again, and the fourth time I only shot twenty-seven out of forty, after zeroing with my small aperture. By this time I was shaking from the effects of coffee, sinus pills, and dehydration with a full sweat in my eyes. I went to the M-203 range after second try, using only leaf sight, but was off the targets eighty percent or so, scoring quite low, but was able to adjust my zero perfectly. When I walked back from the 203 range, the heat was incredible about taking me out. I was very smashed, but went and zeroed my scope to a reasonable zero and reshot the qualification course, shooting a thirty-four this time. I should have done better, much better. Six missed with my Redstar scope, but my zero wasn’t perfect to begin with. I spent the remainder of the afternoon relaxing, reading, Gameboy, food, and dinner. I had first guard at the M-60 position, Ray staying there with me, so I stayed along with Tiejen and McClain, through his shift just talking in the dark. We watched a lightning storm to the north and suspicious lights along the next ridge. I was able to sleep through the night, having to get up once when a light mist came down, I moved deeper into the tent. 7 November 0530 first call. Nothing to do, we’re all finished. My big mistake, I shot 3rd and 4th qualification try after M-203 range yesterday. I shot with scope today, as all days seem to sun into each other. I read my book afterward, until about 1000 to 1030 hrs, and then we had to pack up the tents while the sun was already threatening to crush us. The tents done and loaded, Ray, Gimber and I headed with all gear down to the mess area to our platoons’ waiting area. The sun was incredible, (It’s the 11th and I’m back from Mombasa.) the hot sun. The CO had us all get our gear on and trudge over so he could take a company picture; I wasn’t at all enthused as the one turned into a half dozen cameras. The last thing I want, a company picture; platoon maybe. I was very dehydrated after this day and was out of it as I later cleaned my weapon. I chugged a liter of H2O. The next day we had our PT test and I was still slightly dehydrated. I did – whoops, the date first…,

8 November I did my customary 300 +, with 85 push-ups, 92 sit-ups, and ran twelve minutes and eight seconds on the run. Our squad average was quite low, but not the lowest. The rest of the day I used to drink water and recover, and pack for Mombasa, and oh, the PT test was on the 5th, as we only did PT this morning, a slight run, piggybacking the last hundred meters, and then I packed for Kenya. We didn’t leave until 0930 or later, with Ray as the air-guard on my truck, and SGT Seidle as TC. There was only one truck with two hummers as escort, and me with only two magazines and we left our weapons on the truck at the airfield. We were there quite a while as the plane wasn’t there yet, but did arrive about 1100 hours. While waiting, I went to a pile of Mig fighter jets and a couple of Supersabers piled at the side of the road that links the airfield with Newport. I bought a case of Heineken for 14.00, and drank a couple while talking to Ray on the five-ton truck. I went to sign in and get boarding pass; they didn’t need any ID, as they went by my name tape 98

on my DCU top, therefore, SSG Skiles asked if he wrote with a marker the names of the two who were screwed out of their slot onto the two who came to replace them, but weren’t on the list, would the guy accept that? Yes, he did and so Guiterez and another guy were able to come. I drank several more Heinys as we waited; Luke and Ray finally pulled out, wishing us well. At 1330 hours, we boarded a Toyota bus, drove across the taxiway to a Pakistani C-130 transport, a civilian model, and loaded into the canvas jump seats. About an hour into the flight, I pulled out some of my grub and shared it with Andrew and Greenly. At 1.45 hours out, I stood up at the right side door window and watched the coastline slip by until we pulled inland and descended for the next fifteen minutes. We landed. I saw a letter on HQ (12 Nov, 1420hrs) mailbox, telling of SGT Reid not getting much mail and asking us all to write him. This brings me to my own emotions, feelings I desperately want to quell, how can I talk to him? What can you say to someone who has lost all but his life? I guess sometimes I just think too much, but I have a lot of time for that. I know I’ve been fortunate and clearly see the blessing I’ve gotten from surviving with no wound. I feel I’m remembering the actions, the wounded, the dead, as so I never forget or become callous again. Your senses and emotional awareness just expand into memorial reasoning with an internal and external conception. I deal with this in my own way, I can’t explain as it’s p[personal and my explanations and descriptions are too narrow. I think I will always remember and feel in loneliness something that can only be and just is, ( case in point, there’s a whole list of people I served near that I fought with, I could have interviewed them) for only me. I can’t recall which day I am on, it’s the fourteenth; I can say I drank away the ninth, tenth, and eleventh in a blur of Heineken and JD. The twelfth I recovered and was still an airhead through yesterday. A lot of spades; won ninety percent so far as Ray and I can be real good if we try, but we do things different a lot of times that make us either die fast, or as in the majority, we take forever to win. I worked out yesterday and ran a four-mile platoon run. I’ve been lucky on CQ and guard roster the past three days; I had my first guard since I’ve been back tonight, the 2130 to 2230 shift. Now I’m listening to music, Metallica and GNR: the Notre Dame vs. Florida state game is on and it is halftime 21 -7, yeah, go Irish! I can hear the game is back on now. We had a formation for the BC yesterday so he could tell us he didn’t know when we would fly, but expects to eat turkey here. Tomorrow we get our CIBs and then later – 2100 to 2200 hrs we start the twelve-mile road march, but we get to sleep in, so….,. Outside I can occasionally hear the AC-130 Spectre. Two civilians died today when their auto was hijacked. Aideed says his troops are out and intelligence says activities are getting hostile. Here comes Spectre, now. 14 November Up at 0900 hours, and I’ve been dreaming all night that I’m still in Somalia, imagine that. Shaved and have eaten already, Rice Crispies in Chocolate milk. I had a cup of coffee. My back is over its normal morning soreness. I’m killing flies, watching the piss-ants carry their bodies across the room, up the wall, and out the windows, our own casualty collection teams. Who dares wins. That spades game lasted forever, until 1230 hrs. I’ve just showered the coffee scum from my body, and now I’m dressed for our CIB award ceremony. We’re all discussing whom we want to pin on ours. Schneider and I want to pin on each others, as we’ve been through a lot together. I need to get to the PX to buy a camera. I want to use my black and white film. 1445 hours and we’re back from our award ceremony. SSG Tewes gave us ‘blood CIBs’, slamming his open heel of his 99

hand into the metal, the pins penetrating flesh to the hilt. We had to feel the pins while going to parade rest, to at ease, and back to attention after ten to fifteen minutes speech from the Battalion Commander. I could feel the pins in my skin the whole time, it was the ultimate feeling, and I was really feeling what it meant. I will never forget or regret, and have pictures, too. The afternoon was spent awaiting our road-march start time, which was kicked up to 1900 hours. We played a game of spades as we waited, and got our asses stomped. I am still stuffed from dinner, so expect to cramp and puke, since I ran my twelve-mile marches. I ran less than half way last night. I was exhausted afterwards, coming in at two hours and thirty-three minutes. I had two sodas, cold and refreshing, with corn chips and Tortillas, bean and cheese dip. I crashed hard after reading my book for a while. I dreamed of going to the Mississippi river after a flood, which was nearly dry, and under snow. 15 November 0700-hour first call, I’ve showered and shaved, feeling half dead, a slight headache and a stiff neck. Getting dressed now, choco-chips today. We’re going to Sword Base to guard for forty-eight hours starting today. It’ll be a change, a chance to get out of here. The people who were going to Mombasa were cheated out of their passes by Bravo Company, so they’re still with us. Heating water now for my morning coffee, it’s almost 0730 hours, another beautiful day in Mogadishu. Breakfast is over, scrambled eggs, a cake type biscuit, fruit cocktail with a hair in it – I spit it out, and grape juice and coffee. Out of canned juice and all milk types, but I ate all I wanted. All packed and ready to go. Have a headache and closed, pressured sinuses that I took two non-aspirin for and two antihistamines – feel like shit. 0945 hours and we’ll be leaving soon. We left out at 1030 and started our guard plan shortly after arriving at sword base. My guard point is close; I only had a fifty-meter walk from the HQ area. We guarded on a two on, four off guard shift, so I slept a lot, and even dozed one man up, one down alternating with Thornton. It was an easy night, easier than our jaunts at the airfield. I was dehydrated from the twelve-mile march, so sleep came easy. I took a whole roll of pictures of Sword Base in and out of our area of operations. 16 November We pulled our last guard from 0900 to 1145 hours, had the extended tour after 1st squad screwed us and didn’t relieve us, and we had to stay until B1/187 relieved us. That’s an asshole corporal for you. The trucks arrived around 1100 hours or earlier and we didn’t pull out until 1230, and now its 1245 hours and we’re back at the university compound. There was some mail waiting for us, and I read mine and answered what I could. I haven’t been in writing mood lately. I cleaned my weapon and then went and showered, afterwards reading my book until chow. I ate chili-mac, peas, cornbread, MRE bread, and fruit cocktail. I was reading and Balog showed up with Ray. We headed out to the scouts AO to play spades. We had a good time, but had our spade playing asses handed to us. We also had a bubble-gum chew off, twenty-three pieces when Ray and I gave up, but Balog and Jenkins went to thirty-one. That’s a mouth full! It was hilarious trying to bid our hands with all that gum in our mouths. The sugar almost made me sick. It was quite the rush! Had to be there, there were so many kinds of gum, and the gum took on a puke color, the clob half the size of our fists. Balog cheated, he kept spitting out all the juices the rest of us were swallowing. They did kick our spade asses, as the cards weren’t smiling on us that night. We made our departure and arrived back in time to be an hour late for my guard, so I pulled the second on instead, 1030-1130 hours and 100

thus, another day gone by. I slept fitfully, awakening in apprehension and fear once, not knowing where I was. 17 November 0530 wake up, our PT consisted of stretching for forty-fiver minutes and a lengthy squad discussion of matters too trivial, though inner squad relevant, to fully recall. One dispute between Thornton and Allen that I’ll decline to mention, and will probably lose in the deep recesses of my camaraderie reverie, so to speak. Today, in case not noticed to this point, is a day full of reflection and memories. My platoon has been washing their gear all day; I decline as I don’t want to wash myself with hopeful wishes of being home soon I cleaned only my night vision goggles, and hung up my stinky sleeping bag and a bag full of laundry that was musty from the Somali launderers not fully drying it. We also had an ammunition count, and Gimber and I are both short a parachute flare, although I can’t imagine why. I joined Schneider after a trip to the post office; he was at the AT&T phones at 3.00 the first minute and 1.50 a minute there after. Not for me, too rich, Ray made three or four calls. Back up here, I was going to wash my poncho liner, but the water is off –so- I finish a book by Ian Slater, and am starting one called ‘Reflections of a Warrior’. I just heard that Allen gets to go tour the aircraft carrier out in the Indian Ocean, I wish it were me. Its 1500 hours and I’m drinking my afternoon kickstarter as the day is waning away, and it’s very hot, but there’s a slight breeze. We played spades most of the evening, until chow time came; that and reading and napping, as they go hand in hand. Dinner was hamburgers and hotdogs. I didn’t have much of an appetite. Listened to my walkman after chow and lay down. I lay and watched a lot of card playing and ended up playing some myself. I lost the last game, and now the evening is past, as its 2200hours and time to crash. We have Airguard tomorrow. 18 November 0530 first call, I’m having a cup of java by 0550, light stretching and calisthenics, a light run that had sweat pouring off us, and a medium intensity workout. I’ve showered and washed my PT uniform with Dial soap as showered. I’m deodorized and dressed in Tri-colors, ready for on-call air-guard for the QRC, it’s now 0730 hours. We had a cleanup session, as some General will be coming through; I was done by 1000 and started on my laundry at 1100, after reading for a while. I’m sunburned now, went shirtless with my Walkman and washed a set of DCU’s, Kevlar complete, flak-jacket cover, two pairs of socks- one white PT and one OD green pair, two brown T-shirts, poncho liner, poncho, canteen cup and cooker, ruck sack, brown towel, brown bath cloth, and my PT sweat suit. Took three changes of wash and rinse water in two mop buckets. I worked out this afternoon, just finished that up recently, and it’s now 1930hours; Ray and I beat Thornton and Burek at spades, I smoked one of my long thin Panatellas from Kenya before they had to go guard the JTF compound entrance. I’ve been hanging out since, reading a magazine, jiving, oh, and went to chow with Ray in the last part of my afternoon workout. I didn’t eat much, but should have. Working out and the heat take away my appetite. SSG Tewes showed up looking for me a minute ago, trying to distract me, I reckon; I asked him if he needed something- no – I finished the evening with a spades game win, with hall as my partner against Thornton and Shivers. I ended the night with a shower that felt great on the sunburn. 101

19 November 0130 to 0230 guard this morning, followed by a 0530 first call, I awakened dead tired, probably from PT, working out, and the effects of yesterday’s sunburn; oh, and not to mention an early guard shift in the middle of REM. I had a cup of coffee, and for PT we headed off to play football. I sat and watched, not interested, and left at about 0650. I was in the shower by 0700, but there was no water pressure and I had to rinse off the lather I applied with a soaked washcloth when I had enough droplets soaked to squeeze a trickle of droplets, clean is clean, no matter how it comes. I lay down for an hour until 0900 hours, when I had CQ until 1000 hours. Back here again I’ve been napping again, but awakened to read and have been up since, it’s almost noon now. I set out for an ‘I had better leave before someone puts me to work’ walk down to the recreation center and thought about using the phone there, but they are six dollars for the first minute and four dollars for every minute after - no way! I returned to back here in time to unload some water and then sat down and read for a while. At about a quarter after three, I went out into the sun wearing some deep tanning oil, and did a light shoulder and arm work out while I turned in the sun; still burnt from yesterday, but I wanted an hour of sun, jamming with my Sony and sunned for exactly an hour. I returned here to my niche and read my international defense review while I waited for ray to get off CQ at 1700 hours. He was off and we were off to chow. A macaroni and ham dish, green beans, stewed tomatoes, buttered white bread, and longshelf life milk. I finished everything except a brownie, but Ray and Burek shared that; all in all not too bad. We came back and just finished a losing game of spades to Hilliard and Burek, and again losing to Richards and Seidle after showering. I had CQ from 2100 to 2200 hours and then went to bed, dreaming all night long. 20 November 0500 first call and no PT for me, as I’ve JTF guard up at the Unisom HQ area; the first shift is McClain’s and mine. I had time to take a long hot shower and drink a cup of hot tea. Guard went with a lot of saluting of officers, including a one, a two, and a three star General along with many Colonels and Majors, both Army and Marine. Our shift ended at 0900 hours, and came back to get into a spade game that came real close, but they came from behind with a blind-ten to win. The second game we drew no cards and lost in six to eight hands, in the minus category. Afterwards I went to the PX with Schneider, he being inexperienced about what line to get in, therefore we wasted a half hour and only moved six feet while the express moved its entire length. We switched lanes, and on arriving back here only had fifteen minutes to relax. That was my off time. My second shift went just like the first. The Marine Corps commandant was supposed to come by, but did not make it during our shift. We stayed at the Embassy Compound and went to the German PX for a soda, afterwards walking back to the university, arriving just in time to get into the chow line. I ate steak, macaroni, green beans, watermelon, and cake with strawberries, terrible grape juice, and long shelf life white milk. I came back here for an hour nap, awakening to sore feet; I took my boots off, and am just now putting them back on, having only fifteen minutes to go back out to JTF HQ. Its 1830 hours and I’ll be back after 2100 hours for a four-hour nap. Thornton had chem.-lights set up at the wire opening, like airport runway lights to light the path, the officers and staff all liked that, alternating red and green for Christmas. Time went quick, and I sat on a sandbag barrier most of the time. After guard I came back here and went straight to bed, having to put a towel over my eyes and listen to music to block everyone out. I slept well, but was tired for most of my last shift. It 102

started raining sometime into our second hour, the second night to down pour and yesterdays woke me up, it really rained hard and continuously for several hours each night. 21 November Finished our last guard shift at 0300 hours, I the middle of a downpour and we were soaked on the way back in the open humvee, McClain a bit more due to being in the back of the hummer and Boyd plowed through a rather large puddle, sending a wave of water into the rear of the hummer. I removed my wet clothes, redressed and crashed hard. I slept until o800 hours, then went and showered and brushed my teeth. The water wasn’t on, so I didn’t get to shower, but I did get several weight lifting routines out of the way before that. We had a formation to be at, so I dressed right after the shower and moved up to Battalion at 1015 hours; the formation was for a four star general to recognize us for our accomplishments; I taped it. He is General Monday, Commandant of the Marine Corps. After we were dismissed I returned, undressed, and went out to continue my workout, and lay out on a cot for an hour and a half listening to tunes, basting either side in the African sun. As I finished, I came inside and grabbed a coke and one for Schneider , took it out to him, and came back in and made some Campbell’s soup; one of my last cans, and then went to the mess hall and grabbed a piece of fruit. Word came that we were to do PT, so that’s where I just came from, losing a game of volleyball. Now I’m finishing that coke, finally. I took over for Long as Schneider’s partner for spades, they were down 300 points, we ended up just below 500 losing, but we didn’t do too badly. 25 November I’ve been busy doing nothing, as I lost three days of spade playing, sunbathing and the three S’s. It has been raining off and on for the last week and I haven’t left the compound in a while; pulled the occasional guard and CQ. I have been sick since Monday, the 22nd. It’s almost like being dehydrated, a headache with nausea. That may explain the lack of interest in writing. We were supposed to have Monday off, but had to run for four miles. When SFC Borjon tried to mind screw us and ran an additional route up and around the doughnut; Tiejen dropped out and SGT Richards got the ass, said we were going to run this afternoon. I got into it with him, wouldn’t give him any hot water for coffee; we didn’t run, but just in case, I made myself scarce running errands. That was the 22nd; the 23rd, Tuesday, we played some volleyball; I sunned and worked out a little, as I had done the day before, but taking yesterday off, the 24th, from working out, but had a two-hour session in the sun and now I’m sun burnt. The day went fast, due to napping and good drugs to dull the pain. Now it’s the 25th and we’ve been cleaning our asses off to impress a general that may come through. We also have to go outside and trim the weeds, and then get dressed into Tri-colors for the holiday. Its 1000 hrs, I’ve been awake an hour now. I starved all day and then worked out at 1500 hrs, afterwards going to the big dinner; it was real good and I ate two large plates of all sorts of things. We played spades the day through and finished the day playing. We (Ray and I) won all the games. I was still eating just before I went to bed.

26 November 103

I had 0230 to 0330 hrs guard and then crashed until 0900, a long sleep in. It rained most of the day, monsoon type rain. I bummed around most of the day, winning an early game of spades, and read some. I went and picked up a M-24 sniper rifle, but I’ll be by myself as Ray is going to the airfield for guard. I took a midday shower and washed my PT uniforms. It was raining when I went in and when I came out. After returning from the scouts with the M-24, we went to chow and got that out of the way. I went to the PX with McClain and picked up some 400-speed film for the photo session at New Port. I worked out for a bit before showering, though and just finished getting around my gear for New Port tomorrow. I wrote a letter to Sergeants Major of the Army R. A. Kidd, telling him about someone stealing the coin he sent to Danny and me. There’s hell to pay for that I’ll bet. Now it’s almost 10 PM, 2200 hrs, time for bed. I had to read a little before crashing; read until about 2330, having no guard to pull tonight. 27 November After doing the first rotation of roving patrol in a hummer around the perimeter of New Port for four hours on, eight off and at 12 noon I tried to sleep in the tent, but the heat about killed me; tried to read, I could feel the steam coming off my eye balls creating a hot, wet heat between my eyes and my glasses; tried to sleep but my body was dripping in sweat; felt as if my brains were cooking. I talked Allen into leaving after waking him up, if he was asleep. We passed a half an hour recuperating in the airconditioned room the PX was in, it being closed anyway, so no traffic. Afterwards, he suggested we go watch TV, over at the UN 566 support whatever unit across the compound. The selection was bad, one channel some pogues were watching, and I came up with the idea to go to the airfield. We headed toward the New Port to Airfield exit to hitch a ride or walk, but in either order. We saw Sgt Hernandez on his roving rotation, said hello, we were off. We walked about several hundred meters, seeing an Italian vehicle coming, I stuck out my thumb. They were decent, Victor introducing himself, a young Italian soldier and four others in the open 4x4. Upon exiting the south gate, they locked and loaded going into the intermediate Somalian zone, between the two compounds. We didn’t; the Sammi kids were silent until they saw us Americans, and then they waved and yelled Americo- They must be afraid of the Italians. They dropped us off about half way around the Airfield and we walked half the remaining distance before a Major in a hummer came by and I thumbed him down; had his doors tied in the back, as that open area I mentioned, he was passing through and about 50 kids tried to storm his humvee and steal his gear; he whacked them with a steel bar he said. As soon as he pulled up at the hanger it started to rain and was down pouring by the time we ran around it to shelter; real lucky! I ate an apple under the new airfield chow pavilion while we waited and then ran during a lull to the TV trailer. We watched a Dreyfus movie until the chaplain chased us out for prayer at 1600 hrs. We then spotted Sgt Seidle through the tents after coming back from the PX, which was closed. It was almost done raining. We chatted with 2nd squad, who we had left off this morning on our way to New Port. They were shamming big time. Cow time came and we headed out to get in line, Chilimac, an airfield favorite. I ate well. We ran into Cruz, from when we were there long ago. He asked about our Cruz, his cousin. Second was in line by the time we were finished eating, and as we stepped out we stopped and spoke with them. We got a lot of looks due to our CIBs and my sniper weapon. We said goodbye to the guys and started back. No vehicles came all the way around the airfield and up the hill to the last Pakistani Checkpoint. We started to go down 104

the hill, they stopped us, asked if I was a sniper and then told us not to go down the road as it was dangerous and pointed up the hill between hill and the ocean. We followed it and came upon an American firefighting unit at the top doing liquid fuel fire-fighting training. Another hundred meters beyond we came upon the last Pakistani checkpoint and a dead-end. I asked them how we could pass through the wire, and they said it was dangerous but showed us an opening. I t led into a narrow corridor between triple rows of concertina wire, an alley about ten ft wide that took us several hundred meters down toward the refinery wall. Towards the end, we found that this was a dead-end, no way out, Somalis on both sides of us and a village or suburb not more than one hundred meters to our left. There must have been fifty of them in sight and another two hundred meters to get to the gate, which had an Arab Emirate guard. I gingerly and tensely headed over the wire, locked and loaded ready for anything. It was a nervous moment for us, I having only a bolt-action sniper rifle with eighteen rounds of Ammunition, while Allen had an M249 SAW with forty rounds. We would have to shoot our way through as we ran for it, but the Somalis were visibly shocked to see us out there, must have thought we had big brass balls. The Arab came out of the gate as we approached within fifty meters or so, he looked like a disbeliever, too. We made it, with a pucker factor, of course. We arrived back in time for chow again, to tell our harrowing tale and take a nap before our 2000 hr to midnight roving guard shift; and then I drove around for four hours. Nothing much happened at all; heard a shot as we came around a corner, way off near the city side of the perimeter. It was close on the other side of the conex box wall. 28 November Up at 0700 hrs to shower and shave; no hot water, but the shower was close. I ate a sparse breakfast, and then was off to our four our tour from 0800 to 1200 hours. This trip I carried through an idea that came from yesterday as I was going around the perimeter looking for likely sniper positions, making range cards and checking out target engagement viability. One I made on a pier and a Russian soldier came over and took my picture. Richards had the laser range finder. The pier was always busy; Somalis all over the place, loading wares onto beat up trucks. Well, back to that sniper position idea; one opening of the perimeter led to a prison on a hill above the port, which the United Arab Emirates occupying it. I asked them for permission to set up a sniper position and told them I would be back tomorrow. 29 November So tomorrow came and so did I, and they sent me off following one of their vehicles across the fort, through the Refinery to the gate area we had to exfiltrate through yesterday. They invited us over, sat us down in a parlor setting and gave us honeysweetened tea. We were there quite a while waiting on their superior. After a long time, we decided to tell them we had to go. They said only ten more minutes; we said no, they said five, and then, he was there; a Lieutenant Colonel. He led us out to this outdoors lounge, with pillows in white satin; white paint with decorative designs. I think I took a picture of it. He asked us what we wanted, being very diplomatic and friendly. His informant told us we could do anything we wanted up there since it was a bad area, people had been killed by Somali gunmen out in that area, so anything we wanted, we could have; Not bad for a buck sergeant and a Specialist sniper. Afterwards, we returned to the prison, were led out to an outer guard tower, no one there spoke English and we had a hard time telling anyone our batteries for our laser range finder had died and we would have to leave for now. When we returned, we were told that the prison was now off limits. We finished our shift driving around. Afterwards, I spent the large part of the 105

day sleeping and reading. I didn’t feel like working out, since I had brought my dumbbells along to do curls, but spent some time killing flies, watching the ants carry them away, some struggling to get away. As the ants got some distance away, I noticed a lizard was stealing some of the fly carrying ants. Chow came and went, and a shower afterwards. Chow had been a supposed barbecue over at the pogues hanger, a starvation ration, leaving me hungry still. We came back later and had to stand around like dogs waiting to get a spare hamburger, asshole pogues. I’ll be glad to get back to the U of Moge and all we can eat at our kitchen. Our mess hall is out our door, through CQ and the next building on our tear, midnight fruit runs are golden. Guard duty came, and the port was quite busy this night; Sammi’s everywhere, an Egyptian ship with CJ -7 and Wrangler Jeeps. Jeep hasn’t made a CJ-7 since 1986, these must be ordered special. APC’s, trucks, tanks, conex boxes all painted UN white. Our shift was quite boring, and I was exhausted by the end of it. 30 November The next morning a starvation breakfast, showered and shaved, still no third s, and I dressed and made ready for our morning shift, which passed uneventfully. We watched an American Tanker ship moored with Bradley’s pulling security along with 2/14 scout-snipers. It began to rain on us, and we pulled into the large hanger next to our tents, but we were already soaked. We gave two 544th Support Battalion girls a ride back to the US ship and their truck, and it rained on us along the way, so I splashed through a large puddle that sent a large wave over our heads, drenching us; we had no windshield anyway. Chicks thought we were crazy. Our tour was again uneventful. We finished wet, but the sun came out and we dried off. I killed more flies and read, watching the ants, and packed my bags for leaving tomorrow morning. I went to the TV room, no reception at all; I went up on the roof, looked around, and then returned to the TV room to check out the map, trying to figure out our battle area of the 25th September. Allen went off to the port with McClain afterwards, and I went and took a nap. This last shift tonight was to be our most boring; I drove everywhere, weaving, doing doughnuts, just trying not to get bored and fall to sleep-just drove, drove, drove; and then it was over, we went back to the tents and I crashed hard. 1 December We got our gear around and went off to a starvation breakfast. As we were going to do 2404 maintenance inspections on the vehicles, I saw Alpha Company arriving to replace us. It took them a while to do that so we stood around. I was a driver back to the ’U’ in one of the hummers. I enjoyed the drive back, dodging bumps, occasionally, but not too often. We had to stop at the airfield and pick up second squad, and another stop happened at a dump truck induced traffic jam at the south entrance to the MSR. Arriving back we unloaded, and I set off to the crapper, having picked up an intestinal problem at the port, which lasted for about four days. We picked up QRC this morning, therefore issued the black vests for the last time. I spent the rest of the day cleaning my weapon, playing spades, going through my mail, reading, and a shower. 2 December The next morning we were allowed to sleep in. I worked out and went to finance, writing a check for thirty bucks to get me through the week. I had to look for Cpl Boyd or SSG Tewes, as we were on a Code Red alert due to a meeting between Aideed and some of ours. The day passed uneventfully; I worked out my last routines and passed the evening as I always do, reading, spades, or a crossword puzzle. Oh, and Gameboy (Lisa says,’ I got a letter from you saying you didn’t get the Gameboy till Dec 3rd!!) 106

3 December I don’t remember much of this day, spades, reading, playing the Gameboy, resting from my previous day’s workout. I took numerous showers. 4 December We’re up by 0530, did squad PT; I pissed off Boyd, blew him off when he wanted me to road guard and I disagreed. He got a case of the ass; we had words and came to terms. Back at the nest, I packed my ruck for the field and played Gameboy after finishing that and breakfast. We’re going to the beach, the lagoon to set up a live fire range and shoot up our excess ammunition. We load trucks at 1100 hrs and headed southwest on the MSR, to our ‘blue lagoon’; arrived and immediately started building the three bunkers per platoon, which didn’t take but an hour and some odd minutes; short, half moon shaped walls waste high to shoot at tonight. When we had finished, I grabbed my gear and headed back to our platoon area, down this narrow valley to an old sandstone and corral outcropping away from the beach. About that time, or about, I heard muffled explosions, and soon afterwards found that people left over by the bunkers were fishing with grenades; this started an explosives odyssey that would obsess us for the duration of our free time, reaping bountiful ocean fish. By the time I made it back over to the bunker area, the recovery act was in progress, the seas were too rough, and another grenade proved useless. We received word that we could fish over in the shallow lagoon. We went back and gathered our grenades and headed over there’ we had about ten four to five pound floaters. My grenade I dropped into the middle of a passing school of medium sized fish. The tide carried them in and swimmers retrieved them. Soon, we would develop what we called barrage fishing, dropping from several to ten grenades in a wide area, spoons flying; we were stopped from fishing for a while, and went off to relax and prepare our ammunition, distributing rockets and M203 grenades, and flares. After giving away some 5.56mm, I still had quite a bit left. As the sun went below the horizon, we lined up in order that we would lie out to fire. Boyd would be on my right with an AT-$ rocket; there’s goes my ears. I lay my grenades and flares out on the sand, unsnapping the covers on the grenades, laying the flairs on the vest next to them and several magazines of 5.56mm. By this time, the sun left no shreds of light, and we approached zero minute, the mortar laying down one round of HE on target, but for some reason no more followed, only flairs; an M-60 or saw opened up, and as word came prematurely, we all opened up. Now in the dark of flair light turning on and off, I set out to cover with flairs when the others darkened, and alternating HEDP or HE occasionally firing my M-16, but lost several minutes trying to deal with an extraction problem, and therefore was only able to fire a couple magazines of 5.56mm. About midpoint through our ten minutes, the AT-4 next to me went off, always a pleasure to have my eardrums blown out. I spent most of my time firing 40mm grenades and that kept me busy. SSG Tewes came by and fired a couple of my magazines. Then we were out of flairs; I dug around in the sand and found one more, fired it, shot off another HE or two, and then when darkness fell again ceasefire was called. I had six or seven mags and one HE left. We policed up extra ammo and filed off, being replaced by the next platoon. We kept sustained fire for eleven minutes. After watching the displays of the other platoons, we sat around talking for a while and then set up the guard plan; I had third guard, and then crashed. 5 December 0530 wakeup, made coffee on Allen’s propane heater. Wasted time until the range, where I fired six more rounds and my four smoke grenades- joy-; and then was 107

sent off to the M16 range, where I didn’t make it to, but stopped half way and fired up the hundred or more fish that were slaughtered by a grenade barrage earlier that morning, what a waist. The water really churned firing on burst, but I could walk my rounds into the fish with single-rapid splashes. I fired enough to make my barrel burning hot, and after running low on ammunition, down to one magazine, I walked back to the lagoon, I walked down to the lagoon where the tide had gone out leaving the reef bare at the base of the cliff. There I ran across several eels that were shot-up, and made my way along the cliff. I turned around and headed back a little ways, scaling the reef face to the top of the peninsula. The only shooters were SGTs Stout and Baker, shooting at expended 40mm, laws rockets, and assorted brass. I shot one of my last magazines at those targets, and before I could finish, half the company was coming up behind me; telling me to hurry up, as they wanted to pass to the end of the reef and do some grenade ‘barrage fishing’; and that was a thing to see! Spent the large part of the morning making our way around the ocean side of the reef, catching quite a few fish, but used more grenades than fish killed, not to mention Claymore mines and C-4 ammunition box-bombs. We scaled the cliff at a cove when there was no way to get past a large cut in the reef, with violent surf pounding and washing into a reef-cave. I went back to my squad area and packed, while the rest of the company kept fishing for a while, until the trucks arrived and caught me still loitering and not fully packed. It didn’t take long, though. We packed us and our gear onto a fiveton, and it had trouble moving out in the sand, but finally made it, and we passed the waiting company to join our platoon at the front of the column. The ride back was casual but bumpy. Cleaning our weapons took a long time after our arrival; All the sand, carbon, and rust accumulated in the firing and salt mist. I passed the day away idly, after the three S’s, and crashed early, still with a slight stomach problem from the time at New Port. I had no guard, that night. 6 December We didn’t do PT this morning, but I had driving duty for 2nd squads JTF guard over at the Embassy compound. SGT Hernandez and I traded off, and he picked up the duty-driver for the night. I just enjoyed driving, for a change. I bought some souvenirs at the Embassy PX. I crashed early, again no guard tonight. 7 December I’m up at 0530 ready for PT, but SGT Hernandez asked me to take the last dutydriver shift to JTF and later pick them up; I did, but SGT Washington’s squad was taking over, therefore he picked them up when he went to take his duty brief. I spent the washing my TA-50, reading, packed a box and sent it back to Drum, and playing spades or Gameboy. Nothing unusual about the day; Oh yeah, we had a formation; our Brigade commander, Col. Ward had finally made the trip to see us, and blew incredible amounts of smoke up our asses; I guess could see how our morale was, and our motivation, yet he still droned on. After being dismissed, the Battalion Commander, Lt Col. David drew all us first termers around for the latest reenlistment pep-rally; still unconvinced. I had guard this night, but don’t remember when, no maybe I didn’t; I watched the Eagles lose to Dallas: ( 8 December O530 first call, no PT for me, as I have Humvee washing detail with one person from each squad and all of HQ. It took until 1030; I oiled up as soon as we got to the wash point, and was able to sun for nearly three hours. My tan is coming along fine, but all the sand, grit, mud stuck to me like a bad dream, and when I got back, the showers were down. I had to wait most of the remainder of the morning; it felt terrible, but now I 108

know how the Somalis live without showers. At about 1300,I went and took “burst” shower, and as I was finishing, they came on with reasonable pressure. I passed the day reading, sorting; I went and had my Flu shot, and have been playing Gameboy and spades. SSG Tewes came by to tell me the ship I may be taking might not be back until mid to late January, and there’s no money in it for me, extra duty wise, I mean; Doesn’t look good. I washed my dirty PTs in the mop buckets along with my rucksack, and other assorted items; must have everything clean by Friday, as Customs won’t let any thing dirty back into the U.S. I finished the day reading National Geographic and other magazines; sorted through my wares –keep and throw away time- , and gathered my TA50 items as they dried. I finished the night with a headache, sinus problem; took aspirin substitute, Sinu-tab, and some Ephedrine, and went to sleep at 2100 hrs after a losing game of spades; we blew two ten for two hundreds and lost by ten points. We should have had that one. I awoke fully at about 0130 hrs, thinking it was about 0600, wideawake from the drugs. I couldn’t get to sleep fully until during the last part of my guard 0330 to 0430 hrs, and afterwards went back to bed. 9 December 0530 wake up, and the PT run was slow and short. I worked out two routines afterwards, and then lazed around, reading a lot, and finally laying out my TA-50, but was snagged for motor-pool vehicle washing at around 1300, and so I went and stood around for the majority of two hours, catching a lot of rays. After finishing, I ran into Lance Godman and we talked for a bit about redeployment. We’re all quite ecstatic about it; moods are great and morale is the best since the firefights. I came here and bummed around for a while, before heading out and working out for three routines, and afterwards washed my flak-vest cover and hung it up to dry. I went to chow with Schneider, and afterwards went to the PX with Allen, bought D-Cell batteries, film, and a shirt. I’m back in time for nothing at all, still in Somalia. I read National Geographic’s looking for maps. I was in the process when Schneider showed up with a couple dick heads wanting to play spades. We lost, but they pissed me off early, therefore I shut them up for the game, although someone decide to be their immature self, a real dud, that one. They cleared my AO and I turned back to packing. Now my duffle bag is fully packed. I snagged my ‘Rising Sun’ book and began reading it, but had to stop and do surgery on my large maglight, as it fell from its perch and damaged the bulb. Luckily there was a spare bulb in the back cover. I crashed after a couple of chapters. 10 December Wow, it’s actually 0545, and I’m fully caught up on entries; no more relying on memory for past due. Up with a cup of coffee, still very tired, rough sleep last night; the never-ending PT saga continues; and the nasty chow, love those western omelets…and back here to continue the packing odyssey; pretty well finished and did one of my last workouts, as Sunday the weights get packed. I sat out for some rays and read Rising Sun; good book!... and packed my Magazines to send home, and went to finance as they were closing, but had to return later, they wouldn’t serve me, and after returning received a fifty dollar casual pay, but ran out of time to go to the post office. I ate dinner and went to shower, and then lost in spades; been on a losing streak lately, I’m not mentally into it, I think. I crashed after reading until 2200 hours. 11 December I had 0100 to 0200 CQ, and then the 0530 wake-up, PT formation and two squads plus went off to play football, while I decided to workout, as there are not too many more chances left to do that here. A light workout, and then went back to packing, repacking, 109

and throwing stuff away. I lie down to read; fell asleep; woke up and decided to go lay out, where I read and listened to music, sunning for two hours, ending at almost 1400 hrs. I came back and snacked, going to the mess hall and grabbing Dr. Toppers; the last ones, Ice cold! I made some potted meat sandwiches with Schneider and we snacked on some other goodies. Afterwards, I finished Rising Sun and started The Pelican Brief. We played spades after dinner, winning the first game, but not the second, and then went and showered. Back here, I read Ray’s letters and looked through my new Playboy, a 40th anniversary edition that just came today, with Leather and Lace. Just about ready for bed now. It’s almost 2200 hours. 12 December A day of details for most people, but I was able to workout and lie out for some rays, and went for a run with Burek while the platoon played football; more of the same, today; I had to do a detail starting around 1800 hrs for the mess section, sanding carbon off the cooker unit and miscellaneous equipment. I made myself as scarce as I could. We had played a guess a number game for a ride yesterday and today (the 14th) on a helicopter, as I’m writing this in retrospect. I made a deal with everyone, not to choose, if everyone who did covered me on details for the 13th and 14th; they did. (I’ve been on my share of Helicopter rides around beautiful Mogadishu.) Our mess section has been closed and we.ve been eating with the 46th FSB; we sometimes eat at their messhall back at Ft Drum; they know how to cook. 13 December We slept in Friday, and went to a formation to see if we had TB. Tuberculosis would show on the area of skin where we received the TB-Tine three days ago; I checked out okay. My last day to workout, we’re loading up weights today. I copped some rays and took boxes to mail up to the Post Office; mailed them to Drum along with two envelopes with film. The day passed quickly, mercifully. No guard tonight for me, either. I read a lot in my book Sphere, and won two games of spades; finally crashing late, after reading. 14 December 0430 wakeup and a 0530 formation for the 0600hour start of our battalion fivemile run. That was easy enough, slow; came back here and read, and just found out from Bucky that I was on the list to chase the pallets, leaving for the airfield tomorrow. I thought so long time ago, but no else knew, as I did. I caught a lot of rays today, may have been my last chance; bummed around all day; went to chow at the 46th FSB and had to go in DCUs. I came back here and read; we lost a game of spades. I just finished packing for tomorrow and am going to read for a while until I get tired. I just received word; I link up with SGT Graham to take my stuff down to the motor pool at 1300 hours tomorrow. 15 December I awaken at a quarter to seven and packed my sleeping gear; am still packing now, and my cot is now down for the count; taking it with. I had breakfast again down at 46th FSB, and finished with everything by 0900 hrs; now I am going to lie out for the last time under the African sky; I can oil up and shower before 1300 hrs, our pack it up and head out TOD. It’s kind of cloudy, but still intense rays; I lay out for one and a half cassettes of music worth. One side on my back, other side of tape on my stomach, and then some odd change it up stuff for the last half cassette. I showered and shaved; time to go. I went down to the motor pool after saying my goodbyes; we loaded our gear onto a flatbed 110

truck with the pallets and hung out there for a while until it was time to leave. We arrived at the airfield and took up quarters in a room off to the side of a large hanger. The hanger was the HQ of the Ranger unit here and out front was the scar where a mortar round impacted; the one that killed and wounded the TF 160 and Rangers post 3rd- 4th October. We set up cots and mosquito nets, and left guards while the remainder of us caught a ride to Raven to eat dinner; a good dinner, the last one in Somalia. We arrived back at the hanger and set up a watch plan to guard pallets, our only purpose here. Buchanan and I pulled the last 2400 to 0200 shift; we took turns, in the hanger, one with the pallets; it went quick. 16 December I slept in until o800, and then we walked to Raven for our last breakfast in Somalia. When we got back, I oiled up in preparation for the beach, while SGT Green showered. He and I walked the three miles around the southern end of the runway to get there. We walked the beach and reef, exploring sandy-bottomed tidal pools for marine life. I stepped lightly on a sea cucumber, watching fluid gush from its ends, a strange slug looking thing about six to eight inches long, and almost stepped on an eel, way out in the surf among a large area of tidal pools and seaweed. Up on the beach was a sea turtle dead. Around 1200 hrs, we walked down to where this Romanian officer was, as SGT Green said he might give us a ride. I talked with him for about an hour, until 1300 hrs and then he was ready to go. I called SGT Green in from the water and we departed. As we approached the road, the officer saw a Romanian truck coming and waved it down; I told him about hitchhiking earlier; real cool guy, a major of Infantry, he said. We jumped off at their camp, a couple hundred feet from our hanger. The battalion was there when we arrived, and we had to police up our gear, and move it out into the hanger. The line companies had already gone through customs, all but Charlie and our detachment was waiting for them to arrive to go through after them. They arrived about 1600 and we finally went through. A sham, just asked us if we had any contraband. We took our duffels and rucks out to a pallet; the last we have to deal with them. The line companies moved down the airfield to an enclosed area; a part of the terminal under construction before the civil war. A place we used for transit people, where we had waited to go to the aid of the Rangers. 17 December Our detachment of thirty-four stayed in the hanger, and slept or tried to, on wooden benches or tables, as our cots were piled up by the door. I didn’t sleep much and went to take a shower around 0200 hrs. It was good to get the dust out of my hair. SGT Green, Holman, and Collins stayed up all night, and were still up when I arose for the last time in Africa at 0500 hours. I watched my last Somalian sunrise, and the morning came and went slowly; the C-5 Galaxy arrived at 0800 hrs; they didn’t start loading pallets until 0900 hrs; still weren’t finished by 1100 hrs. We had a couple false movements toward the jet, but never made it to it,; something about rebuilding the pogues one pallet, and later Cairo control wouldn’t let us leave for an hour and we marched back to the hanger, where I commenced to getting my ass chewed for being on the wrong side of a rope by 1st sergeant Mita. We finally left ten minutes afterwards for a real life boarding. The turbines started and we taxied to the end of the runway, jetting off and wheels up from Somalia, Happy Birthday, at 1310 hours; a slow flight of five and a half hours to Cairo West, where our jet broke; unload our pallets into another jet, but it broke, and for the last nine hours we waited in this white bubble tent while mechanics cannibalized two broken C-5s to fix the one we came in on. Its now0330 hrs on this 18th December, 1993, 111

and I hear the hydraulics just come on, as we loaded a half an hour ago. We have been here since 1800 hrs on the 17th. Goodbye Africa and goodnight; Our next stop is said to be England; we should be there by 0900 hrs Somalia time. We took off from Cairo west, passing over Alexandria; clear skies over the Med up the Aegean Sea; saw Greece and the Low countries from thirty to forty thousand feet; stayed blue skies over the Alps into Germany, where we landed at Rhine-Main; there a couple hours and then off to England; cloudy and stormy, and after three passes over an American air base- no go- clearance was given to land at a RAF fighter base adjacent to it. ; stood in the rain for a bit until a bus arrived, taking us to the US Base several hundred meters away, letting us off in front of an Airforce mess hall, where a Colonel opened the door for us, inviting us to dinner. We ate as if we hadn’t eaten in months. Back in the World, 18 December, I forgot how to drive in civilization, received a ticket for driving wrong way in PX parking lot my pedestrian MP. Welcome home and happy birthday, at least you’re still alive and free.

112

113

114

115

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful