So, the picture below, of me in Iraq, was called "intense".
Interestingly, this actually was one of my most intense days during my time deployed. Apparently, during the invasion of Iraq, the Iraqi national guard(ING) was never activated. After the invasion, allied forces kept the units intact as part of the new "legitimate" Iraqi army. But, after a few years (when I was there in 2005), the ING was proving to be very unreliable, full of insurgents, or full or people who felt their families were threatened, because the just like our national guard the members of each ING unit were all from the same region, likely the same town. So, it was decided to disband the ING and fold all the willing members into the Iraqi army proper.
Out in nowheresville, Iraq (Ar Rutba, Anbar Province, in far western Iraq), our battalion had complete martial law over the land. Therefore, we set up to collect all of the old, willing ING members, and get them processed and shipped to Iraqi Army boot camp. They were to hand over all of their old uniforms and any weapons they possessed; that's where that Iraqi rifle came from. We in motor transport go to sort of just sit around and provide overwatch for the infantry Marines who were doing the main processing of Iraqis. Of course, their uniforms and weapons were all getting tossed in our trucks, and we were armed and the trucks had machine guns in the turrets just in case the any of the ING tried to attack us. So, this was an all day affair, and later into the afternoon, I had actually moved from the truck shown above with all the collected gear in it, to a covered, shady truck. Several hundred former ING had shown up, and after many hours maybe the first 75-100 were processed.
Then, out of nowhere, mortars started to hit. Now, mortars hit our bases all the time, but always wildly inaccurately and to little effect. But these mortars were hitting close, right on the large dirt berm isolating our forward base from the city, wherein we were processing the INGs. I stared, fixed with a new kind of terror (this having been the worst shit I had been into up until that point), and the mortars threw up a lot of dust, and I felt the concussion of each one as it hit, and all the Marines were rushing to get under trucks or at least just on the ground, and the ING guys were just fleeing back into the city screaming. And then some more mortars hit and they WALKED IN CLOSER to our little cluster of vehicles, and then wisely I suddenly realized that I, too, should get down somehow. So I got down on the bed of the truck; since the truck had armored sides a mortar would have to hit it directly. Another mortar or two did hit, but then there was yelling, and the Battalion Gunner (my fellow Marines will know who this type of badass character is that floats around in every unit) had actually run UP ONTO THE BERM (albeit down twenty yards or so from where the mortars first started to hit), and was shouting back that he could see the mortars fire in the distance and to get the helicopters on the radio.
Luckily, this little ING intake mission had 2 cobra attack helicopters on station. I remember them flying over us; I am not sure if they took out the enemy positions or not, although I did hear someone shout "Holy shit, did you see those fucking cobras hit them!". All I know is that the mortars stopped firing, and then a platoon of LAVs (Light Armored Vehicles, the whole point of my unit 2nd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion) went driving out to the mortar sites as we all crawled out from our hiding places.
Okay, and that is about all I can write right now. Thanks for reading, anyone.