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.
jUpadte: 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.