Our squad headed for a sandy brown colored Stryker parked near the base's front gate, piling inside. Picture the inside of a small metal container on wheels with all metal seats. Add four squad members, loaded down with 50 lbs of battle rattle; kevlar, body armor, ammo, weapon, water, and NVG's. Luckily it was only 0615 or we'd be roasting like hogs in the Iraqi heat. Thank God for small favors. With everyone locked in, the Stryker started forward with a jump. It would be a ten minute ride to the DZ in the Yellow District.
"Hey Micahart," Lakes yelled over the Stryker's roaring engine. I turned towards the PFC, careful not to hit my head on anything.
"What's up Lakes?" I could tell that he was edgy, his eyes flickered excitedly around. This would be his first true outing into the city, exciting to him since he had never been past the Green District.
"This is just gonna be a quick in and out, right?" Walsh looked to Lakes, a big grin on his southern features.
"Hell no, Lakes. We're knocking down doors and busting some caps in peoples asses. That's what you Detroit boys like to do right?" Lakes nervously smiled as the Stryker came to a halt. The driver turned back to us and ordered us to dismount. The back door to the vehicle whined and slammed loudly onto filthy city streets. We all jumped out into the blazing morning sun, guns raised and checking for targets. The only people who currently populated the streets were women, old men, and young children playing in the dirt. Donkeys gave us lazy glances while stry cats scattered into nearby alleyways. You could see the toll the war had taken on Ramadi's people. Saddam hadn't exactly been kind in establishing and running his government. When the U.S finally kicked him out and the terrorist moved in, it was just adding more insult to injury, to a people that had survived centuries of Dictatorships.
A few of the woman watched as the Stryker shut it's rear door and left for base. After checking our corners, the squad stacked up against a wall of a nearby house. It was designated target number one. Walsh turned and smashed in the door with the heel of his boot. He then stormed in followed by Lakes, Thane, and I. Nothing, only silence occupied the first floor. As we began our systematic search, the face of the house exploded. It sent large chunks of concrete into the house and the rest of us scrambling for cover. Ducking behind an tipped old coffee table, I found some respite from the explosion. Walsh was shouting into the squad radio but I couldn't hear a thing. The explosion's concussion sent my ears ringing. After a few drawn out moments, my hearing returned, reluctantly.
"Thane give me a SITREP! THANE! YOU FUCKING O.K?" I turned around to see Thane dazed and confused but other wise uninjured. Quickly I jumped up and pulled Thane behind the worn table, we were now sitting ducks in the house.
"What the hell hit us?" I yelled over the squad radio. Lakes popped up from behind a small desk his hair was slightly singed, but otherwise he was alright.
"RPG!" Walsh replied, eyes widening as he looked behind me. Not wanting to turn around, I grabbed Thane and hurried over to the stairs as another explosion rocked the home. Bit's of burning material, concrete, and dust washed into the room as if the house had taken a deep breath in. The second RPG had knocked the wind out of me. As I tried to breathe the dust filled my throat, making me cough and wheeze.
"Someone needs to kill that motherfucker!" I finally managed to shout. Lakes hurried over to the rest of the squad as Walsh made a quick motion towards the stairs. Without hesitation, we moved higher into the home. At the top of the stairs I peeked around the corner and saw a gunman outside the window.
"Contact!" I yelled raising my weapon but Thane had seen him first. Bullets soared from his gun striking the enemy rifleman in the chest. A mist of blood burst into the air as the man fell, dead. My rifle still rested snug against my shoulder, safety off, waiting to see if any other enemies appeared. None popped up across the window. Walsh set up Lakes and Thane to watch the second floor windows.
"Micahart, you're with me on the roof. Let's move!" I gave Thane and Lakes a thumbs up, then took off up the stairs after Walsh. On the roof, a sudden eruption of gun fire clattered all around us. Tracers and bullets zinging past us in all directions, good thing they weren't well trained. Walsh and I slid to cover and returned fire. The loud bark of Walshes M4 followed right on the heels of the AK-47's fire. I could feel the sun's heat beating upon my body. If the enemy ever learned to fire their weapons properly...we were all dead.
"Direction!" I yelled reloading my rifle. Walsh fell back into cover and pressed the squad radio.
"20 meters to our 9 o'clock; Three Tangos. Five more at our 3 o'clock One might be our RPG."
"Lakes and I will get the enemy's at 3 you take the ones at 9." Thane shouted over the comms, as the magazine slid home into my rifle and I turned to my 9 o'clock. Looking down my sights I saw two, black hooded insurgents were standing on a nearby roof spraying wildly from the hip. I quickly loosed a few three round bursts from my rifle praying they'd strike home. A spray of blood filled the air as one of the men violently jerked backward and slumped over. Dropping into cover, I let Walsh take his turn. The clatter of explosions and gunfire had created pure chaos throughout the city.
"All Tangos at 9 o'clock are dead. Corporal how are things on the second floor?" Walsh shouted breathlessly into the radio. No response came as the gunfire increased in tempo. A symphony of war carrying on without it's director.
"CORPORAL!" Walsh yelled again. Finally static buzzed into a recognizable voice.
"Sergeant we have a problem! More Tangos are entering the surrounding buildings we need to get out, NOW!" Walsh looked to me, both of us were running on pure adrenaline. Neither of us said anything. We knew we were in the shit and had to get out; how though, that would be the real issue. Walsh grabbed his radio, doing what he had hoped he never would.
"Hotel this is Bravo, I repeat this is Bravo. We need an immediate Evac from the Yellow District. Our coordiantes are. Lima 29, Romeo 37. I repeat Lima 29, Romeo 37. How copy, Over?" Bullets whizzed past my head pushing me further against the roofs cover.
"Roger that Bravo, Stryker unit's on the way. Out."