“Our squad was patrolling the main highway south of Kirkuk with a group of Iraqi police, October 2005. We had orders to set up a hasty checkpoint which we did next to a big field. Our humvees were lined on each side of the southbound lane pointed north. It was at night so we used flashlights and headlights to signal people to stop and then they were directed to park in the field.
There, the IP would go through each car or truck looking for weapons or bomb making materials. In that part of the country the Kurds and Arabs were constantly battling each other with us caught in the middle. I was about ten meters from the checkpoint providing overwatch on the vehicles.
It was all going pretty well. No problems. About twenty minutes into it a car was approaching and all of a sudden he stepped on the gas. He was coming at us like a rocket. Well, everybody knew that we were going to get the shit blown out of us so we all opened up on this car as it got closer and closer.
Rifle fire, .50 cal., my 203. Everything. And still he came. Finally I just kind of closed my eyes waiting for the “click-boom” and the searing heat of the explosion. Something I was familiar with having just had my humvee hit by an IED the month before. But the only noise was the screeching of brakes as the guy finally came to a stop at the checkpoint. Everyone ran over to his car thinking that this dude was going to be ground meat.
Not a f*cking scratch! The IP pulled him out of the car. Through our interpreter he said that he was drunk, freaked out when he saw our lights and mixed up the brake and gas pedal.
The IP changed his flat tire and sent him on his way. We, in turn, got the f*ck out of there and RTB.
We were fixin to rotate back to the states the next month so that was out last hasty checkpoint. And our patrols for that last month devolved into just driving around trying to stay out of harms way.”
-Sgt. Fred Hansen, 1st Infantry Division. Iraq 2005.
This interview was conducted by Battles and Beers (TM) Every soldier has a story, and every story deserves to be told.