Monday, June 18, 2007

Snipers at COP Sword

Getting situated when we first arrived at Ramadi was a challenge that kept me from making regular posts. Although we are no longer in the city itself, there is still a good deal of talk about those first couple of months. Thankfully, things have quieted significantly. COP Sword was arguably the most kinetic of the outposts our Soldiers manned in the city. They took enemy small arms fire everyday, and sometimes indirect fire, IEDs, and VBIEDs. Contact from the enemy wasn't uncommon at any of the COPs in the city, but it was especially regular at Sword.

I had my camera during one of those fights. I caught our First Sergeant, 1SG Balcer, and his staff manning the radios and coordinating with battalion headquarters back at Camp Ramadi. Although the mood at the time was intense, I knew that later, pictures of him with receivers at both ears would get a laugh.

My wife might be surprised to learn that while staying out at the COPs, I learned to sleep through gunfire. (I am an incredibly light sleeper.) It's not that I didn't hear the gunfire; I just knew what types of sounds to listen for: large explosions, shouts of desperation, and lots of running around--otherwise, I remained in a slumber with my arms over my ears. These COPs were essentially homes that had been turned into frat houses (not to imply a lack of professionalism or standards). They always made room for worship services and haircuts, but there wasn't much room when it came time get some sleep. February through April, we slept up on the roof tops, and enjoyed the cool, evening air and starry skies. Once May hit, the mosquitoes, sand flies (a real pain!), and persistent heat took the fun out of that. (Now that we're up north of the city, and the highs are in the 120s and lows are in the 80-90s, air conditioning is needed for survival--at least our survival.)

At COP Sword, we got to know the sniper teams real well. You might recall from a previous blog the fun we had beating "the twins"--Lohf and Taylor--at spades. I am including a few pictures of Lohf zeroing his sniper rifle--an M24--from the roof at COP Sword. As far as rifles in the military go, it's pretty impressive.

1 comment:

Bobbi Hayes said...

Hey how have you been? Eric told me you hadn't been feeling well. I hope you are feeling better. I can't wait to see him....not too much longer now!! YIPPIE