On the morning of the third day, the radio issued this edict, “weapons free. The whole city is hostile. I say again, weapons free. The whole city is declared hostile.”
It was time to go to work.
Armor went in first. Tanks, BFVs, and armored vehicles followed the blast of cannon fire. Buildings collapsed with people inside. The screams got drowned out by roar of 120mm main guns and 25mm machine guns.
Specialist L and I supported them with fuel in between gunfights with the insurgency. Rockets slammed into tanks, and machine gun fire whizzed overhead.
“Hey, I need fuel,” a Sergeant Major snarled at me. “Top me off, we’ve gotta move.”
“Roger,” I shouted back.
They say you never hear the bullet meant to kill you. Over the chaos of a full-scale invasion, I heard a single POW!
I turned and looked for the CSM. He had a hand mic shoved between his helmet straps. His brains slid out the back of his helmet as he slid toward the ground.
Over the radio I heard: “I need a sit-rep, Sergeant Major! Give me a sitrep.”
“Hold on just a dang minute,” I shouted into the microphone. “Get down,” I yelled to anyone that’d listen. “Sniper!”
The voice over the radio kept yelling for a sitrep. Specialist L took cover behind the vehicle and fired in the direction of the shot.
“Who is this?”
“This is Corporal Freeman from the Seventh Cavalry.”
“You listen to me, Corporal, I need a sitrep. Don’t you dare talk to me the way you just did or I’m…”
“You can shut up. Here’s you sitrep. Things are screwed, your Sergeant Major is dead. His brains are all over me, and I’m kinda busy to talk to your stupid butt. Freeman out.”
I threw the mic into the Humvee, and Specialist L and I fought to the cab. People ran everywhere with no regards of safety.
It was like shooting fish in a barrel. Except we couldn’t make heads or tails of those who claimed to be innocent and insurgents, every time someone shouted ‘innocent,’ they took potshots when our backs were turned. We followed the tanks and reached a staging point.
“Give me a head count,” a voice over the radio squawked. Every vehicle sounded off.
“Roger. Everyone dismount. We’re clearing buildings before moving on. Nothing is innocent, remember that. If you don’t kill it, it may end your buddy.”
They always say that things have to get worse before it gets better. Well, things just took a turn for the worse.