“RPG from the left!” shouted a 1st Pltn. captain. The Marine captain was the vehicle commander (VC) of an LAV-25 50 meters ahead. My VC and the company’s executive officer made a bold move to run up towards the front where the attack was taking place. We were an hours drive, south of our objective, in a race for Baghdad.

“Driver’s button up!” the XO directed over the net. He began returning fire with his FN M240 from atop the turret. If the young driver hadn’t responded to the order, hot empty cases would have been in the driver’s hatch. The gunner dropped his seat down and peered through the main gun’s sight. He swung the LAV’s turret around in the direction of fire. He had 25mm high-explosive rounds but opted for the M240 coaxially mounted machine gun and cut grass in the palm grove.

I had my M16 shouldered.Rounds ricochet off of steel and my gun went off “Safe”. I couldn’t tell if it was our vehicle or another but I immediately realized that I was overexposed. I dropped down making myself as small as possible using the top hatch door as a shield. I searched through the peep sight for a target and saw a black object duck behind a date palm.
Once you’ve heard it, the sound is indistinguishable. “Pfffhhhhssshhh.” An RPG was launched at the first vehicle. It hit a panel and bounced past the VC and beyond. It hadn’t exploded for reasons I only thought could be attributed to divine intervention. Each LAV in the area opened fire.

Minutes later I was given a squad to search through the grass for the now silent insurgents. I was 3 feet from an insurgent before he rose to his knees with an RPK. He was stitched by each marine’s M16. He died a few minutes later, about the same time we captured the remainder of the resistance.

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