“I deployed twice in support of OIR. Both times thinking I’d finally be able to do my job. Machine gunner. Once to Iraq in 2015, and once to Syria in 2017. Iraq was pretty much standing post for 7 months. Very easy to become complacent. But one day, while on post we saw a Iraqi tank pull up on the causeway not thinking anything of it. Later that day, right around midnight, we’re getting ready to get relieved off of post and all of a sudden a SVBIED blows up 300-400m away from us killing 15 civilians and wounding 40+. We took cover behind a tiny wall on the rooftop we were on, went condition 1, and then watched everything unfold before our eyes. People running around holding body parts. The shockwave and heat wave of that explosion that I felt. The chaos that ensued after it blew up. The helplessness that I felt, I will never forget.

Syria 2017. We were the first ground troops in Syria. We pushed down south near Raqqa and set up a little fob/firebase. We did a few patrols, stood some post, and watched our arty guys absolutely destroy isis positions. Isis would hammer us with mortars and rockets daily. Arty would take them out or air strikes would. One day I was on QRF right near the VCP but inside the wire and my best friend was on post at the VCP. We start hearing what sounds to be like explosions in the distance and I say to some of the guys “Do y’all hear that? Are we taking IDF?”. Then finally after about 4 explosions, the air horns we had for IDF attacks started going off. We start hearing the mortars impact closer and closer. Hearing the whistle of the enemies mortars flying overhead of us, not knowing if one would hit and kill us.

One of the mortar rounds landed 10 ft in front of my best friend and we all thought he died. The fear right then struck me, thinking that my best friend was dead and I couldn’t even kill the enemy. Our LT did a Medal of Honor run across the entire fob checking on everyone. Our Plt Sgt was taking cover in our fighting holes between mortar impacts just to check on his guys. After about 25 mortars/rockets hitting all around us, artillery finally took them out. And we could finally see that our friends were in fact not dead but shaken up from the attack. EOD then did post blast analysis and was talking to my buddy and said that if that round was 1 ft closer to them that they would’ve died. I’m so grateful that my best friend is here today. I love you man.”
– Anonymous US Marine- 3/7 & 1/4. Global War on Terror.
This story was documented by Battles and Beers (TM) Every soldier has a story, and every story deserves to be told.