Veterans’ Tales by Allen Ness

Oct 02, 03

Uncle Hank,

Pretty much the same old same old here.  Route clearance, patrols, maintenance, bullshit.  Rinse.  Repeat.  Sometimes we don’t have enough water to rinse but you get the drift.

There’s a village down the road with a sign out by the highway, we drove past it the other day and there was graffiti on it in haji script.  We asked the ‘terp and he told us the sign said “Highway of Death.”  So we stopped and took a picture.  Yep, your graffiti terrifies me.  Posing with our weapons, stripping down to Tshirts, screw you, haji.

We met an Iraqi when we stopped to visit his farm the other day.  He had a nice Belgian made FN FAL rifle.  I’m sure you know Fabrique Nationale (FN) makes the SAW rifle for the US Army.  They also make a nice semi-auto (FAL) rifle for civilians.  So this guy was carrying one slung across his back when we pulled up into his yard.  We just stop by to introduce ourselves and give the local farmers a case of water or whatever we have that they might find useful.  Most people have AKs, its standard procedure to see Iraqi’s carrying AKs but not FN FALs.  There’s lots of farmers out here.  They dig a pit with a bulldozer, maybe thirty to fity feet deep, put a pump in the bottom and fill a bermed field with water.  Mostly onions, rice, wheat.  There’s some cows around but in America the owners would be arrested and jailed for animal abuse.  We talked to him for a while and talked him into letting us confiscate his rifle just so we could check to ensure he was allowed to have it.  We told him to come to the COP the next day and we’d let him know if he could have it back.

He was at the gate bright and early, we brought him into the Company Command Post gave him his rifle back, thanked him for cooperating with us and fed him breakfast.  As he was going out the gate he told us about one of the locals who had a stash of RPGs buried in the berm surrounding his well[…]

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