Michael Yon has a new post up today about his experiences with 1-24th Infantry in Mosul:
When the Deuce Four soldiers started loading their two detainees onto the Stryker –crack! A sniper fired. The bullet raced toward us at about one-half mile per second. At that speed, even if the bullet strikes a helmet, or the armor-plating that covers chests and backs, the impact alone can kill. The supersonic bullet was heading straight into the back of a Stryker…?where bang! It punched a hole through a metal seat, barely missing a detainee, and the American soldiers next to him.
Nobody knew all this yet. All we knew was crack! The shot had come from behind me. Within half a second, I was down, swung around on a knee; so fast that some soldiers thought I was shot.
Specialist Chris Espindola and another soldier started laughing. Nobody finds cover faster than me; there is no chance that I will ever be recognized for gallantry in combat. Given how death has a way of interfering with writing, I am okay about that. But seeing them laughing made me think perhaps it wasn’t a sniper; maybe one of them had fired a warning shot. Didn’t sound like an American weapon, though.
I asked, “Did you fire a warning shot?”
They were still chuckling, oblivious we were under sniper attack. But not for long. Soldiers in our Stryker shouted, “Contact, contact, contact!”
A group of soldiers were already running in pursuit of the sniper. LTC Kurilla and his dismounted crew took chase, and I took chase behind them, wearing all kinds of fire retardant and protective gear, for some refreshing wind-sprints in the Iraqi heat. Kurilla stopped for a few seconds, just long enough to tell a man to get his kids inside, then bolted off after the enemy. We ran and walked some blocks, with the four Strykers maneuvering around us, but we never found the sniper. Winded, we loaded-up and drove back to turn over the detainees, grab lunch and roll right back out into Mosul.
Later that evening, the Recon platoon and the snipers, Walt among them, headed downtown on a mission of their own. Mark Bush was driving one of the Strykers when he parked to allow observation of some key terrain. Directly atop a bomb. Within seconds, Mark got the willies about the parking spot, and just as he was about to come over the radio BLAM!
The heavy Stryker flew into the air, blasting tires asunder, one tire flying more than a hundred yards. The explosion was so hard that it traumatized the tailbones of the men. The blast ripped through the bottom of the Strkyer and straight into an AT-4 missile, cutting the missile in half, but neither the missile nor the propellant exploded.
Nine men were in the Stryker. The force of the bomb blew off everyone’s protective glasses, and the exploded fire extinguishers covered everything inside the smoking Stryker with powder. Some of the soldiers were unconscious; others thought their legs or feet were gone.
After seeing the damaged Stryker, and being unable to visualize how human bodies would have to be arrayed in order to fit in what was left of it, I had to ask. I found Mark Bush and asked him how they all escaped being killed.
Without hesitation, Mark looked straight at me and said: “We had angels watching us.”
As usual, his posts are so well written you feel as if your there experiencing it firsthand. Check it out.