Skip to comments.Letters from Greg in Iraq to his Mom
Posted on 11/05/2005 7:45:49 PM PST by Swordmaker
The date in now 21 October 05, and I am finally sitting down to write. Let me say that over the last several months, I just have not had the time do update nor to gather my own thoughts. Yes, I am still alive, and have all my extremities. I dont know where to begin since so much has happened to us.
I am now getting letters and e-mails from all over the country, wondering if I am alright, since I seem to have disappeared into thin air. One person in particular wanted me to start writing immediately, because I left them with so much desire to know the rest. They were even so kind to have said that I should get published . Grin. Way too much work and thinking on my part!!! I do appreciate the kindness on this, but I ditched creative writing class in High School too much to even go there. Ha.
I guess the best place to start is Over the last month, we have lost several Heros in my battalion to include my Battalion Commander who has been the highest ranking soldier to die in this country. To date, 18 have been killed in action, and approximately 84 have been wounded in action. These soldiers have either died or been injured, doing what they believed was right and completing their mission to the best of their abilities, to ensure that the people of this country can live as we live .In freedom. My sincere prayers go out to the families of these great Americans. Once again, this battalion has called a final roll call for the latest ones who are now missing from within our ranks. 3 of these heroes were my soldiers and they will be misses sorely. We grieve together quickly, and then must continue our mission as this has become who we are. With all of this, our resolve is greater, and the motivation is just as high. We are seeing a difference, even at our narrow view. With the Referendum to the new Constitution being approved by such a large margin, I am extremely proud to have been apart of history. Iraq has now become the first Muslim country to be ruled by a democratic order of government. My SPTT team, and the 3 other 10 man teams in the greater Baghdad area assisted with the security of all the polling sites, worked with our Iraqi units, conducted a record number of patrols for the entire 3rd Infantry Division, and then escorted the Iraqi Election Committee with the cast ballots, to ensure their safe transport for counting. The hours were extremely long, as at times, we were unable to sleep for 32 plus hours. I am so very proud of my team. They soldiered up when the call came, and selflessly and with minimum complaint, made it happen.
I am no longer working with the now very Famous 1st Battalion, Wolf Brigade as a (MiTT) Military Transitional Team. Our new title is SPTT team. (Special Police Tactical Team) Other than the title, little has changed. We are still Liaison. However, we are also trainers, where prior with the Wolf Brigade, they were established and combat hardened. This happened about 2 months ago. My Commander in his infinite wisdom decided that since my team was the most experienced, we were moved to a brand new battalion, who was just starting up. We are responsible to not only conduct a Basic Training style of course, but to facilitate raids and strikes the same as before. The only difference is that I was given 124 completely untrained Jundi or soldiers. Out of the 124, 32 of them were farmers and had never even held an AK47 in their lives. This in itself is almost amazing, since I think children are given one as soon as they turn 5 years old as a birthday gift. (grin)
Well, we began the training of these new soldiers, and started them with the basic marching, weapons orientation. On day 2, I selected several soldiers to fill in leadership positions within this new company. This was a challenge, since all but 2 were without any type of experience. We spent an average of 12 hours a day with them. We also were doing our other duties with the battalion. This consists of monitoring the Checkpoints, to ensure that the other companies within the battalion assigned to them, are doing their job properly. It is utterly amazing. The work ethic is almost non-existent. Most of the checkpoints have a certain number of soldiers assigned. They are on a 24/7, 5 days schedule. During the shift only 20% are on duty at a time. That is of course until they see us coming. Then, you should see them appear from nowhere. It is so much fun, just to sit back in the distance and watch through Binoculars. Then all at once, come down a side road and immediately appear. They start running to get out, and into position where they should have been in the first place. Within 10 days, they had become one of the best trained soldiers within the 4th Public Order Brigade and had been requested several times, to be the personal security detachment for the 4th Brigade Commanding General. They are so proud to be members of the Iraqi Special Police, that we have given them a company motto that is said very loudly whenever they are called to attention. I wanted something that was very short, commanding, and to the point. This is where my very limited command of the Arabic language showed. As they were in formation, I went on this long dissertation of what our tradition is with a motto, and told them that I was very proud of what they had become.
This company was to be the primary Strike/ Raid Company in the Battalion. Their main function is to conduct raids on insurgents in their houses, etc. Well, these 120 soldiers were very attentive, and my interpreter Jay who I will talk about later, had been rambling on as fast as I could speak. Then, I told them that their motto would be First Strike! Meaning fast and with purpose. Well, my interpreter immediately stopped speaking, like he had just been hit in the vocal chords. He looked at me, then asked if there was another on which I preferred. I emphatically told him no, that they have both earned and deserved this motto. He looked back at me again and said roger sergeant. He then spoke for several minutes, and then told me he was finished. At that point, I had Jay call them to attention once again, to hear their new motto.
They began to yell loudly and together, to where it rolled like thunder, but they continued to speak. I immediately turned to Jay and asked, if they understood what it was that they were supposed to say. Jay turned to me and said, sergeant what you gave them, there is no translation for in Arabic that is why I asked. I told them the only translation that we have. They are saying . We are the Company which kills his enemies first!!!!!!!!! Needless to say, I was just a wee bit taken back. I told Jay then I am going to have to figure out another one, since they are Special Police and not assassins. Jay relayed this to the company, and you would have thought I had stolen their paychecks. There was immediately 120 voices in the air, talking at the position of attention.
This is where my former Drill Sergeant days became like a flashback. I immediately demanded as to why they were speaking at attention. The response came back, that I had given them a motto that I was proud to give them, and then had taken it away. They refused to acknowledge any other motto, but made sure that I was not angry or upset with them. The bottom line is, they are the Company which kills his enemies first.
26 Oct 2005
Today, my team had left the Iraqi compound, and was sent out on one of our combat patrols in our sector. About half way through, a call came in over the air from Battalion, that an IED had been reported in an area close to our location. This IED had been placed in the local Muhallah (Neighborhood). This was alarming, because there are a lot of children in the area, due to a local grade school. Battalion stated that the local POB (Public Order Brigade) had called it in, and we were to meet with them for the exact location of this bomb. Upon arrival, we met with the POB, but the only information that they had was that it was somewhere up the street, and no approximate distance. Well, at this point, there is only one thing to do. That is to dismount and walk ahead of the trucks, in an attempt to find the elusive explosive device. So, there we were.. The Lieutenant, and I with our interpreter, began walking on either side of the road and staggered which may assist one of us if the other one gets hit due to not being on line with each other. We walked about 500 meters down this street, asking the local residents if they knew of the IED. We always received the same response, no. With the few people out in this area, we felt that it was somewhat safe. I spoke to the Lt, and advised him to continue for another 500 meters or so, then we should call it off if nothing was found. He agreed, and off we went. We had gone another 300 meters, with my Gunship (HMMVEE) about 20 meters behind me, covering me from enemy small arms fire if it started. Note: Sometimes, things will get called in for a U.S. response, then we get caught up in an ambush.
Anyway, about 300 meters later, I was walking on the side of the street, next to the gutter, looking on the other side of the sidewalk in the dirt for anything that might resemble a bomb. All of the sudden, my gunner began screaming a warning at me. I immediately looked down where my foot was being planted. There in the trash along the street, I had stepped on the IED. It was 3 Chinese Rockets taped together, and was wired to a remote device, which had an LED red light that was blinking. I immediately began to run in the opposite direction, away from the bomb. EOD (Explosive Ordinance Detachment) Bomb squad, was called out to our location to confirm that it was a bomb. Upon their arrival, they sent out a robot with a camera attached, and confirmed that it was indeed an active bomb. Once again, all of your prayers have help keep me alive.
2 Nov 05
Tonight, my team was assigned a patrol in one of our sectors. During this patrol, one of our tasks was to drive into what is called the Banana Plant. This is actually an import where house and Quality Control area. It had been reported that several members of the Iraqi Army had been securing this place. Our job was to check the place out, and see if any anti-coalition forces were there. As soon as we arrived, we entered a two room house that was inside of the compound. We found 5 individuals there, wearing civilian clothing. 4 of them had Iraqi Military Identification, and the other one claimed to be a visitor and friend of one of the soldiers. As we looked around, we noticed that there were 7 AK47s. When asked about the number of weapons per soldier, we were told that they always kept a couple of extras just in case. Then, we noticed a German MG3, which is the best Machine gun in the world. This weapon has a cyclic rate of over 4000 rounds per minute, and is very powerful. Needless to say, they are not authorized to have this type of weapon. At this time, we immediately placed them in the center of the floor, and conducted a complete search of the area. We began to find blasting caps, RPGs, grenades, ignition wire for IEDs, 11 AK47s, one machine gun which had a 2 ft homemade silencer on it, Plastic explosives, Rifle grenades, etc. I have enclosed photos of this cache. We then found a banner written in Arabic, which linked the group to an Al-Queda Brigade, along with a booklet entitled The rules of Jihad. We called out the bomb canine unit to assist with the outside search, and found another large cache. This find has been identified as one of the biggest finds in this region.
5 Nov 2005
I almost feel weird writing this last account. It almost feels like I could be making this all up. Even my guys are giving me a hard time about my luck saying that if they were not here, they would pull the BS card and throw it..grin
Last night, I was walking to the chow hall on our base, around 1830 hrs. It is pitch black here during this part of the season. Anyway, as I was walking across this dirt parking lot, I hear this sound, followed by a poof. This sound is only one I can describe as a spinning top. It was a medium zipping sound. I immediately looked behind to see who it was that was screwing with me. I saw the dirt cloud which came from the lot. This dirt is very fine and deep. Almost like talcum powder, from the Tanks, and Armor units that drive on it daily. As the dust cloud cleared, approximately 15-20 feet from where I was standing, I saw a large Mortar sticking up and half buried. It had landed in the loose dirt, and did not explode. I was the only one in the immediate blast range of this Mortar. As I ran about 30 meters, a soldier stuck his head out of his tank and asked me what that sound was. I immediately had him call his crew out, and we secured the area till EOD arrived. As I was telling the senior EOD officer that I have had a string of bad luck lately, he looked at me, and said . Sergeant, you are still standing here and able to talk to me. From where I am standing, you have some great luck. This rang so true. I cannot get over how many close call that I have had since coming to this Country. I have been very blessed. Once again, thank you for all of your constant prayers.
I will try to keep you more updated as our work load is beginning to get easier.
Thank you for your patience, and prayers,
God Bless G. W. Bush,
Dear Council Member,
I wanted to thank you for your vote, and your hand in helping to draft the Sacramento resolution on the "War on Terrorism." I admire you taking a stand for what you believe, even though a few thousand soldiers have died, for what they believe is right. You have sat behind a desk in the safety of this great country, passing correct judgement on these war mongers, deciding who should live in freedom as you, or live in utter terror and oppressed under tyrannical rulers. I am very glad that you have made your political hatred known. For you see, I am one of those "war mongers." I am also a resident of Sacramento, which means that I am a registered voter. I am currently living in Baghdad, as part of the inept military which you want no part of. Your voice HAS been heard and I will be damned if it is able to be heard again after this next election. You and your counterparts should be ashamed for your decision in this resolution. I have just assisted with the safety of, and first historical vote and Consitutional Referendum in the history of any Muslim Nation. I wonder where the U.S. would be at right now if France had not assisted us during the Revolution. Most likely, we would still be paying taxes to England, and you would not be able to say what you are saying. Remember, it is those like myself and millions like me who have made it so you can speak your mind. But also, be it known, that with your decision to say that, I have the choice to take your job from you. I hope that it was worth it.
Your fighter of freedom,
Gregory A. Parkinson
SFC, U.S. Army
3rd ID, 4th BDE
Thank you for the ping Swordmaker!!
Thanks Mojo...how powerful is the written word when it is the truth! I have bookmarked it! I want to read it over and over! God bless this man!
BTT. Greg has got to have the good Lord looking out for him, and anybody who doubts it can ask him. Prayers for his safe return.
VErrry interesting and Greg will be in my prayers too.
I really would like to meet this Greg sometime.
Thank God for folks like him, and the letter to his Council member was simply delicious.
Thanks for the post. Prayers for Greg and all of our troops.
Man, wasn't that letter GREAT????
May God keep blessing him.
What a wonderful post....and such an attitude!!! I wish the politicians had 1/100th of that bravery and "vision"!
Thank you for the ping - A very powerful read.
Thanks for the ping. May God continue to bless Greg and his mission.
WOOHOO! Thanks for the pings, y'all!
It's always a pleasure reading Greg's reports of the goings-on in Iraq. Glad to know God is watching over him; he's had some close calls.
He and the others with him are doing an awesome job and I'm very proud of them.
Please add me to your ping list for Greg's letters. Thank you!
All of you can address your comments to Greg himself
He is Freeper jmpmstr4u2
His mother is Freeper soldiersprayingmom
Thanks for the ping bitt!