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Questions for those who have served in Gulf War or current War on Terror

Discussion in 'Veteran's Forum' started by EAGLESFANPHILA, Dec 26, 2005.

  1. EAGLESFANPHILA

    EAGLESFANPHILA

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    While serving in the middle East such as Iraq/Afghanistan, how can soldiers not have an itchy trigger finger when civilians approach. If I were there, I would be ready to shoot any middle eastern citizen that came within 30 feet of me. I'm positive the fear of suicide bombers has to be on soldiers' minds 24 hours a day. All I see in news headlines are the number of people dying at the hands of suicide bombers. I wanted to know is there any kind of general order that allows soldiers to fire upon an individual if they do not hault after instructed or seem suspicious of possibly being able to carry out a suicide attack?

    I just wanted to hear some views from military personel who have served or currently serving in any of these situations.

    Thanks.
     
  2. CombatMedic

    CombatMedic

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    It's called ROE or Rules of engagment. Basically saying that if you feel you are in eminent danger then you have the right to defend yourself. Be aware that if you kill someone that isn't threatening then it's no different then killing someone back home. You will go to prison. I've treated dozens of soldiers. Mainly Iraqi but a few amarican that were accidentaly shot for whatever reason.
     

  3. Biscuitsjam

    Biscuitsjam

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    Usually, it is pretty obvious if someone is up to no good. Most locals are either supportive of Americans or neutral (depending on sector). Either way, they just want to be let alone and don't want trouble.

    Look at how they are dressed: does it look the same as other civilians?

    Look at where they are: is it normal for civilians to be in this area or taking this route?

    Look at their attitude: Are they unnaturally calm or agitated?

    Look for anything out of the ordinary: SOMETHING is going to be different.

    Keep your guard up, because 2 weeks ago, two soldiers were killed at a vehicle stop about 5 miles from the story I'm about to relate. The man was acting suspicious and pulled at a pistol, shooting both soldiers in the face and killing them, before being gunned down himself by a humvee gunner.


    We stopped a man one time in a free-fire zone. This area was an old Iraqi munitions factory and ammo dump that was never properly emptied. As a result, anyone who entered was at risk for being shot and killed. The area is a moonscape from all the airstrikes and virtually impassible, but there was one rough dirt road leading through it.

    We blocked the dirt road in front of him then fired warning shots when he continued to calmly drive towards us, seemingly oblivious to our presence. One tank was positioned to cover the man and his truck while we looked at it from a distance with binos and the gunner's sight. Then, the lieutenant and I dismounted and cautiously approached, leaving the tank a clean line of fire and keeping distance between us. We both had our weapons at the low-ready.

    The man was very cooperative, but he seemed unfazed by what was going on. After I searched him and had him open all the doors to his truck, I asked him to lie down on the ground on his stomach. Most Iraqis would get a little upset by that order and only do so reluctantly. This man just lay down straight away without even a twitch of emotion. In fact, he was understanding all the orders I gave him immediately, much faster than any non-English speakers I have encountered before.

    There was nothing in his truck, so the lieutenant decided to let him go. I wanted to bring the man in for questioning and at least hold him a few days, but I didn't argue my case very well. I pointed out that he understood more English than he let on and that his clothes and vehicle didn't fit the area. The lieutenant decided that he was likely "just scavenging." "For what," I asked "munitions?" He replied "errm, scrap metal and such probably." "And what if he finds bombs and such, don't you think he'd sell those?" He paused for a second, then gave the order to release the man, since it would take too much time to get someone out there to transport a prisoner for us.


    We had a fun trip back to base. Five minutes later, we met up with a humvee patrol to escort them back (they could have transported any prisoners we had). The humvee in front of me hit a small roadside bomb, so we slammed on our brakes to avoid hitting them in the smoke cloud. The vehicle was virtually undamaged, and we sent them back to base on their own while we secured the site for EOD (Explosive Ordinance Disposal) to arrive. They were quick, only two hours, and didn't find any secondary explosives, so we went on our way.

    About a mile further down the road, we were flagged down by another humvee patrol. These guys were supposed to secure the munitions factory in advance for a visit by 3 generals, but they had gotten lost. We escorted them to their site, and then were promptly yelled at when we arrived by the 3rd ID sergeant major. The generals had beaten us there and he was very unhappy about us having a pirate flag on our tank, because "we're not fighting that kind of war anymore." We stuck around for a while, then headed back to base again, watching an air strike in the distance behind us.

    Back at base, an interpreter saw the pictures of the man we almost arrested and immediately recognized him. He was one of the top guys on our black list, a high-level terrorist aide who specialized in training suicide bombers. Too bad our platoon was never SHOWN a copy of that black list, or things might have worked out differently...
     
  4. CombatMedic

    CombatMedic

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    Isn't that the truth. My last mission consisted of 4 medics from my company providing support for a 101'st field artillery unit that didn't bring enough medics. My company didn't want us 3rd ID guys going out on QRF missions with them for whatever reason so I got to stay in the FOB for 6 weeks and do nothing but sickcall and detainee medical screening. I can't stand those guys. They were all filthy scum as far as I'm concerned. They are real polite and all smiles but they would stab you in the back at the first oppertunity. The MP's have a tough enough job out here but I really give props to the combat engineers. Those guys have one of the worst possible jobs in all the military other then EOD.
     
  5. RussP

    RussP Super Moderator Moderator

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    Great post...^c

    I take it that you are an NCO from the higher level of intelligence you exhibited compared to the LT.;f

    :cool:
     
  6. SW.FLA.glocker

    SW.FLA.glocker

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    Ain't that the truth?? ;e
     
  7. jetski46

    jetski46

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    Yup its true, you really learn to read people while your over there. I really started to pick up on people just by looking at their eyes... creepy, but it can mean the difference between getting a warm fuzzy about a civ, or keeping your guard up. Plus if your in the area often enough, you get to know the people and learn that not all of them are bad... but you also can learn that M.E. types are very two-faced and will try to maniuplate if possible. Thats where it helps to have B.S. detector in your head, so you know when its time to leave.... also guns help... and explosives... good times..