Camp Falcon: Baghdad 2007.
After leaving Kuwait and then spending four days on a holdover at the Baghdad International Airport, I was just ready to get to where ever the heck it was we were going. The arrangements there were not too pleasant; there was a choice of sleeping on a concrete floor where everybody was hanging out watching TV, or take your chances outside on the rocks where the unearthly Iraqi bugs roamed. Needless to say none of us really slept, just kind of took breaks here and there. Everyone was excited to see the price of cigarettes though, about fifty cent a pack for the local brand; because there is nothing else to do but sit around smoking and telling stories that was a plus. Smoking also hid the fact that no one has showered in the past four days.
So now we are finally on the Chinook helicopter being chartered to our camp which they tell us is called Falcon. It’s about 0300 hours and the flight is expected to be about fifteen to twenty minutes long. For most of us this is our first real combat experience and flying over Baghdad with the helicopters ramp down and a gunner fully locked and loaded ready to shoot anything that he see’s should have one’s heart rate going, but we must just be too dang tired to care.
I must have just closed my eyes for a second before hearing the flight crew yelling at us. “GET OFF, GET YOUR SHIT AND GET THE FUCK OFF!” I wish a video camera was allowed for this, because even now this seems unreal. Here we are in an area that we know nothing about, without any leadership whatsoever. We all have two duffel bags to carry plus the rucksack on our back, tired as crap and now being basically pushed off this helicopter into a combat zone. People are falling over in the dirt trying to manage the weight of carrying all this stuff, no one knows where to go, and it’s just mayhem with everyone for themselves.
Within two minutes I would estimate the helicopter was back in the air far away from us and I thought well this sucks. The next thing I know I hear what sounds like somebody whistling before being tackled to the ground by a sergeant, “Get on the ground and low crawl that way!” I didn’t know what that way was but I found out real quick once I discovered that the whistling noise was mortar’s coming onto our location. One about every thirty seconds or so, eventually we all ended up in this bunker area, where we stayed for about an hour until this stopped. “That was our welcoming gift from the locals, our Commander told us, smoke one if you got any.”
This is the second part of a series of article chronicling Army veteran Marcie’s Iraq experience. Read Part I