Thursday, February 10, 2011

Superbowl Sunday 2010

Superbowl Sunday is more than just some big event where I get to watch funny TV commercials and eat chips, occasionally pausing to watch guys get paid way too much to play sports. It's also an anniversary.

Superbowl Sunday 2010 was the night I almost lost three friends.

We were making a run from JBB to Seitz, part of the Victory complex of bases on the outskirts of Baghdad. 2nd Platoon left to go to the same place about an hour or so before us, so we joked that they were clearing the route for us. It was going to be an easy run - zero trucks there, bring some back. As such, we rode a little tighter than usual.

We didn't notice that all the street lights were out this time. We didn't see any of the Iraqi Army around like usual. I was driving the #4 truck, about 400 meters away from our lead scout. There was a flash of light, then a deep "pop" sound, like the world's largest balloon popping. Before the words "what the fuck was that?" even finished leaving my mouth, I saw police lights come on to my right as the Iraqi Army suddenly appeared, reacting faster than they should have.

I heard the lead scout TC over the radio stating that they took a hit on the right side of the vehicle, but everyone was okay. They're still rolling. He wanted the #6 truck, the medic vehicle, to move up so the medic could check out his guys. SOP for a blast.

He would reiterate that everybody is okay a few more times. His voice was cool, like we were running a drill.

The radio keyed again, and a voice started screaming "OH FUCK OH FUCK OH FUCK." Unbeknownst to me, the gunner dropped down out of his turret and landed on his mic switch, accidentally keying it up while he reacted to what had happened. The concussive blast of the explosion rang his bell pretty good and he didn't remember this later.

It was an EFP - explosively formed penetrator.

An EFP is a disc of metal, ideally copper, on a shaped charge. When the shaped charge goes off, the disc turns into a molten spear, punching its way through armor like a hot knife through jello. This EFP didn't form properly, however, and only made it most of the way through the TC's door. However, had it hit a few inches further to the vehicle's rear it wouldn't have mattered, because it would have found the seam where the door meets the body.

We didn't make it back in time to watch the Superbowl. So we missed out on two honest-to-God beers as well.

I still don't like loud noises.

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