Friday, August 26, 2005

Wake up call

My alarm clock went off this morning, and as usual I habitually hit the snooze button. About three minutes later we all woke to the sound of mortar rounds impacting. Needless to say I got up without hitting the snooze button anymore and headed straight for the bunker. Everyone is okay.

This was a real wake up call. After coming back from leave one tends to be complacent as your mind is filled with thoughts of home and a renewed sense of anticipation of returning. The stark reality is that we have a way to go before we return home, and there are people out there who want to bring us harm. It doesn't really matter whether their motive is political, criminal, vengeance, or anything else. All that matters is that they want to kill us. The reverse is true as well...we don't really care about their motive. All we care about is ensuring that they fail...

and they will.


Upadte: 28 August

My lovely wife just informed me that some people may not have a clue what a "Mortar" is. Sometimes I take for granted that I have been in the military for 11 years and a lot of this stuff is second nature. She really gets frustrated when I start throwing military acronyms around, so I've had to learn to temper the jargon-speak when I'm talking to her.

A Mortar is like a small cannon. It consists of a tube that can either be ground or vehicle mounted. The round comes in various sizes, and the insurgent's favorite flavor is the 60mm and 81mm. Our battalion has heavy mortars that are 120mm. Obviously the bigger the round the more damage it inflicts. Also, the larger the round the greater the range from which it can be fired. For example, a 120mm has a maximum range of about 7km (approx 4 miles).

The round is dropped into the tube (pictured below), the propellant charge fires the round on an arc trajectory and then the round explodes on impact. This is an oversimplification since the firer has to calculate the correct elevation and azimuth in order to hit the desired target...but that's it in a nut-shell.

I've also included a photo of our mortar platoon firing an illumination (illum) mission. An illum round ejects a parachute once it reaches the top of its trajectory and then brightly burns magnesium as it slowly descends. The glow is so bright it lights up about a square kilometer on the ground, and anyone trying to sneak around is going to get caught.

That's all for today. There will be a quiz next week.


Blogger kathi said...

Wow, yeah, that's a wake up call! Thank you so much for what you do, all of it. From being there, to keeping us informed. God bless you and keep you safe.

6:08 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

were the idiots found and killed

lil bro

7:14 AM  
Blogger Karens Korner said...

Kepping you In my prayers...What a shocking way to wake you! Stay safe and alert!

10:21 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Okay but what about the real horror..? The fact that your fellow soldier decides to sleep in the raw and your screaming ''Incomming -get to the bunker!!" and he's running around in the buff trying to get his gear on. Not something I wish to experience again. Much more disturbing than the rounds themselves, gave me nightmares last night.

7:17 PM  
Anonymous Kel said...

Yeah Wow what a wake up call....I think I'd prefer the alarm!!!
I am glad everyone was ok.
I sometimes just don't know how you guys do it day to day.
Yes I know it is your job but the stress....I just can't imagine.

12:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think you are a proud American for doing what you do. Your blogger says alot for the soldiers and the way they feel. This is a great tool for keeping the Americans aware of whats really going on over here.

12:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My husband is 56BCT, too, and was there when the 'event' occured. Way too close for my comfort.
I'm glad all are okay.

11:32 AM  
Blogger BetsyB. said...

I'm Praying for you and all the troops serving our country. My son is in Iraq serving with the Mississippi Army National Guard. He was home recently for R&R, but he is now back in Iraq.
I love your site, it keeps me informed of the real war that is being fought there. My son doesn't tell me much about the day to day things, he doesn't want me to worry. Ha! As if I don't worry anyway.
God Bless you and keep you safe.

1:24 PM  
Blogger Amy said...

Thank you Honey.

I love and miss you very much.

Love always,

6:49 AM  
Blogger beetlejnranz said...

Thanks for all that you are doing for us back home. My thoughts go to your wife and family at home. Being fellow Guard wife i would like to send you your wife a big HUG!

11:25 AM  
Anonymous rightwingprof said...

Great pics! And thanks for your service, sir.

6:14 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow John,,,great pictures,,,,lets people Know what Your talking about! Didnt know we used 120mm rounds,,large,,,,but then again back in the civil war 8 inch motar canons had to be towed on railroad cars. 12-13 mm equals 1/2 inch,,,so x 10equals about 5 inches,,,,

thanks Jason

11:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I thank the Lord that you and your men are on your toes. We know you are trained to be that way. Goodness, we sometimes are desensitized due to the movie industry but your graphic report helps us grasp reality and also helps keep us on "our knees" for our devoted Americans over there. We think of you DAILY John , and PS91 over all of your men and you. Thanks, honey. Luv, M/D

5:58 PM  
Anonymous Family Support said...

253rd ENG DET UTIL sends their best.

6:16 AM  

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