The second dead body I saw in the road during my second tour in Iraq was just north of an intersection of two routes named Irish and Widow maker in southern Baghdad. That intersection, an overpass, was a place where one of my mentors and his driver lost there lives to a 500 pound bomb, snuck in under the cover of night, and rigged as an IED. Under that same overpass, someone threw a grenade at my Lt and I. Needless to say, patrolling the route always had me on edge. I hated driving it at night and I hated being the vehicle commander in a rig where I was also the gunner on top. My abs hurt most times from those missions because of the tension I kept in my gut to keep from throwing up. But there I was, with my crew running up and down route Irish from Widow maker to Baghdad International Airport (I later learned that Newsweek called the route “Baghdad’s Death Highway”).

Of course in the middle of the night, on top of the vehicle behind an M240B machine gun that had no ballistic shielding and wearing goggles that caught all of the road dust, the patrol really didn’t sit the best with me already. God, it was brutal in the middle of the night and this particular night, it started to rain ever so slightly. With the rain, comes the smearing of that goddamned dust. When your vision is obscured in a place you need every bit of it to see anyone who tries to kill you, you shit a little. As we picked up the pace to blow through the intersection, I dropped the goggles for a second to see past the mud that was building. When I did, I yelled out to my driver, “On the right!” It was a man, face down on the road shoulder, dark spots in his light blue shirt. He was an Iraqi Police Officer, executed and thrown in the road, clearly visible in his uniform. I remember feeling so pissed because I was startled. Had I not dropped the goggles, we would have rolled over him with all 20 tons of our Fox Chemical Recon vehicle. More over, was the son of a bitch who killed him still watching us? I hated moments like that…

Another day on the streets of chaos…

by Rory Andes

Email at using Rory Andes 367649

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Rory Andes 367649
PO Box 888

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