October 14, 2007
What a week this week was, especially Thursday night! I just want to let everyone know first that I am OK except for 2 perforated tympanic membranes in my ears. They are busted and are bleeding. My leg has a puncture wound in it and it bleeds from time to time. How did this happen you ask? Well, read on. NOTE**(To protect the identities of the soldiers involved, I will just use their initials and/or rank). This is my official sworn statement below except for the changes mentioned above.
On the evening of Thursday 11 October 2007 at approximately 1930 hrs. the ABP on the roof noticed a subject moving down towards the South of our position. We took our flashlights, NVG’s and a thermal sight to see what was there. We saw a movement of something but could not positively ID what it was. Around 2000 hrs. I took my blouse off and was preparing to go to bed. We had just made out the night guard roster and were discussing what if anything should happen. All of a sudden I saw a brilliant flash followed immediately by a large ‘boom’. I felt the building rattle and my chest rattled too. I immediately grabbed my IBA, helmet and M-4 carbine and waited for a quick role call. All were present for role except for one man, CPL DT. We were trying to find his location when I heard him engage targets with his M2 .50 Cal machine gun on the NW side of Spina Shegha.
Once 1SG KN and I determined his location, we exited the building and maneuvered into our fighting positions. When I was exiting the building I heard bullets whiz by my head. I heard over 7 whizzes. As I was making my way to provide cover fire for more of my men, I remember being knocked down by an exploding RPG that exploded about 36″ from my head and cutting my leg and knocking off my NVG’s. This is how I got the leg wound. Once I regained consciousness, I maneuvered my way to a position to provide cover fire for my gunner, SPC TP. I was engaging enemy targets to the South where I saw muzzle flashes. After I provided cover fire for my gunner and he made his way to our gun truck, he provided cover fire for me. I made my way to my vehicle and immediately got on the Blue Force Tracker (BFT) and relayed a message to higher. I told them that we (Sensei elements) were in contact, heavy contact! I then got out of my vehicle and engaged more enemy targets, this time to the North. After firing another complete magazine at enemy targets, I got back on the BFT, relayed a more detailed message and reloaded a magazine into my weapon. I relayed a message and told them of heavy contact from 3 sides of Spina Shegha. We were receiving fire from the South, North, and West. Towards the East was Pakistan and that we were NOT receiving fire from the East. I relayed my grid coordinates, my call sign, and frequency. I had 1SG monitor the radio while I got on the BFT and continued to keep higher informed of the situation. I asked for illum rounds and Close Air Support (CAS) and then got back out and continued to engage enemy targets to our North. During this time, 1SG fired an illum round from his M203 to provide illum. We were able to see 10-15 enemies come down the mountain towards our location. We engaged them.
I could see muzzle flashes and told my gunner where I saw the flashes. He could not see them so I told him to fire where my tracer went. I fired a shot and then he engaged the threat with the .50 cal machine gun.
I made my way by foot to Sensei 3 and checked on them. I then ran to Sensei 1 on the NW side of the building and checked on them. While doing this, I could see rounds impacting around my feet. I was wearing NVG’s and I had an IR chem light attached to my helmet. I maneuvered my way to another fighting position and continued to engage enemy targets. I then made my way back to my vehicle, got inside, passed up another can of .50 cal ammo to my gunner and I got on the BFT to send an ACE and SALUTE reports. I sent them to higher and continued to tell my driver a SITREP.
I was outside engaging targets when this time my gunner said the threat was to the left (NW side) and we could not see them. He then fired a 6-9 round burst into the position; so I engaged the threat with my M-4 carbine while SFC JF and 1SG also engaged the threat with their M203. 1SG was firing my gunner’s weapon to provide more firepower. He was on the NE side of the vehicle and I was on the NW side.
I heard over the BFT and radio of CAS assets would be in the area in 10 minutes. I grabbed my interpreter and ran and told the ABP commander that we had CAS coming in and to get all ABP soldiers inside and on the roof of the building. I instructed the ABP commander to NOT fire on aircraft that were in the area and that they were friendly. I then grabbed my interpreter and took him to the vehicle while I went back out and made sure that the ABP was going inside or on the roof. I continued to see muzzle flashes and I returned fire to where I saw flashes. I then made my way back to our truck and then I told the CAS, an A-10 Thunderbolt our position and told him where contact was coming from and how to mark friendlies. Friendlies were being marked by my IR chem lights and anything north of the building was considered hostile forces. We had to engage any and all targets that were there. The risk of fratricide was too high. He saw our ‘fireworks’ and said that he could not see any enemy targets in the area but could hear radio chatter over his commo. After a few minutes, he had to leave the area to refuel. About the time the A-10 had to leave, an AH-64 Apache helicopter showed up overhead and continued to make a presence and I told him of our positions and how we were marked. He dropped a flare and lit up the area and we continued to engage more enemy targets and informed higher of the situation at hand via BFT.
About this time, I got a message from higher that a QRF platoon was being sent to help us out. I informed the QRF of our position and told him that the area was considered ‘very hot’. He told me that he was going to use blackout drive and come to our location. I grabbed my interpreter and ran to the ABP commander and told him that we had friendly vehicles coming in the area. The commander also told me that he was running low on ammo. I told him to call BCP 12, roughly 15 minutes away and to bring ammo and more men. I informed the Apache of the friendly elements coming into the area. I told him they were driving with white lights on and their ‘whoopee lights’ on top on too. I assured the ABP commander that our CAS would not fire upon the vehicles.
Once the ABP reinforcements arrived, I told them, through my interpreter, to distribute the ammo and for the replacements to get on the roof and engage targets as they appeared. The ABP brought 15 men in 3 trucks and left 6 men and a truck there at Spena Shigha and took the other men and 2 trucks back to BCP 12 to defend their position.
As I was making my way back to my truck, I heard a call for a medic. One of the ABP had an injury that needed attention. I went to Sensei 3, grabbed the medic, SGT TJ and told him that we had wounded. He immediately grabbed his medical bag and while I continued to engage more targets, I provided cover fire for him to go inside the building. He then provided cover fire for me. Once he made it to relative safety, I went inside and observed the situation at hand. I took this time to change my magazine for my weapon. I was on my 4th magazine at this time. The ABP soldier had cut his finger and was bleeding profusely. As soon as the medic finished up with him, I told him to run with the terp and me to his vehicle and to wait further instructions if we had more wounded that I would come get him. I then ran with my terp back into the building to see if the ABP had any more wounded. They did not. I then ran with my terp to our vehicle and I continued to send up another ACE report. We were low on .50 cal ammo, green on everything else and that our vehicles were fully mission capable.
About after an hour and 15 minutes of heavy fighting, we called for a cease-fire and to listen for a few minutes. We could not hear any more firing. I got on the radio and talked to the other Sensei elements and asked them for a SITREP and ACE report. Once I got this, I sent this information to higher. The Apache was still on site and he could not see any more enemy targets. I was tracking our QRF on our BFT and after several attempts to contact them, I got a message through to them and they came to an impassable road and needed our assistance. This was about 0100 on Friday morning, 12 October 2007. I grabbed my terp and told the ABP commander that we needed to go help the QRF. I assured the ABP commander that we were not leaving and that we would be back as soon as we got the QRF and showed them where to come.
We found the QRF at their last location, which was about 3 klicks away. I linked up with the QRF commander and told him to turn his vehicles around and to follow us back to Spena Shigha. About 1 hour after we left, we returned and I linked up with the ABP commander to see if anything happened. He told me no so I linked up with the QRF commander and positioned his vehicles and gave him a quick SITREP. He told us that he would have his men provide security for our force and that we would not have to worry about guard duty and that his men would provide for us. I dozed off from 0330-0500.
When I got up, I linked up with the QRF commander and asked him if his men were doing a battlefield assessment of the enemies suspected positions. He said that his men were doing this already. I asked him if he found anything and he told me that they found 30-40 dug-in fighting positions with overhead cover. This is why the CAS could not see them. He also found fresh footprints; a small campfire and several blood trails. He also said that the only way we would ever see the fighting positions were to see the muzzle flashes and that they had a clear view of our building.
Also during this time, I inspected the building for any signs of battle damage. I found several RPG holes in the walls including one inside the building. This was the first RPG fired and it hit right outside the door of where the ABP sleep.
About an hour later his men returned from the sweep and told us of what they found. I then told the QRF commander that we were fixing to leave and since they were going back to Chawney, we included them in our convoy. We returned to Chawney, then to Gardez without any further incident.
So this is what happened this past week for me. How was your week? Talk to you soon!!!
-Major Jason Carter
Jason lives in Hazel Green, AL with his wife, Linda. He has served for over 20 years and had a total of 41 months active duty deployed after 9/11/01. He is a senior buyer in the electronic manufacturing industry and serves his country proudly in the Alabama National Guard. In his spare time he likes to metal detect, not only to stumble upon a few treasures, but to learn about the history of a place as well. “My greatest hope is that we all remember the sacrifices soldiers make to each other and their country.”