What I thought would be a relaxing day for me as an American Army Soldier at Camp Warhorse in Baqubah, Iraq proved to be untrue. It was the morning of May 28th 2003 after a "normal night" consisting of a somewhat manageable sleep schedule despite the frequent mortar attacks on our camp. Emerging from my Colman tent I started my daily routine, shaving my face using the drivers side mirror of my humvee to see myself, and using my canteen cup to rinse my shaver. After cleaning up I ate cold chicken and rice from a MRE packet to energize myself for the long and hot day ahead.
I was the 2nd Brigade 4th Infantry Division Command Sergeant Major's Driver; I was also part of the Brigade Assault Team which was mainly active at night when we were getting attacked. The day started out slow and calm, the hot sun began to rise and quickly heated things up. Shortly after I ate my meal the Brigade Command Sergeant Major reminded me we would not be leaving the camp that day. He had told me this the night before, yet it was still a sigh of relief for me to hear it again. I would not have to deal with the high level of anxiety involved with driving around in a combat zone, nor did I have to wear the heavy bullet proof vest while within the perimeter of the camp.
Before it got to hot to drink our water, I met up with some of the soldiers from our supply section to get some ice to fill my cooler. They had already gone into Baqubah to the Ice factory to get big blocks of ice, they were about 4 feet long and we would chop them up with our bayonets. That was one of their daily duties along with gathering all the supplies our company needed to survive out there. I had gone with them many times before to Baghdad, and Baqubah to get supplies such as generators, lumber, and other building supplies. As I was waiting in line to get my big block of ice a Staff Sergeant from supply asked me if I would lead them to an air base in Tikrit, Iraq to pick up more supplies that came in on a Chinook helicopter. What they needed was someone who knew the way and had a humvee to lead them there. I of course said yes and arranged a time and place for us to meet for the convoy briefing. I went back to my tent and began to get ready for another adventurous day.
It was about 10:00 AM and getting hotter every minute. I met up with the three vehicles that would be following me which were two humvee's and one 5 ton tuck. Each vehicle is supposed to have three soldiers with them and at least one machine gun per vehicle. We were short three machine guns and decided to have the Humvee with the machine gun be the trailing vehicle. I had a M16 with a M203 Grenade Launcher. Riding with me was a Sergeant, Staff Sergeant, and a Captain, all with M16s.
We started our journey to Tikrit, Iraq which is Saddam Hussein's home town and where my division captured Saddam in a mission called Operation Red Dawn. The drive from...