Death Of A US Soldier

Discussion in 'Military' started by Psychoblues, Oct 6, 2006.

  1. Psychoblues
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    Psychoblues Senior Member

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    BAGHDAD (AFP) - A single shot rang out and Staff Sergeant Jonathan Rojas dropped lifelessly into the cramped hull of his armored car, pitching forward as bright red blood spurted from under his helmet.


    
    His team reacted instantly.

    Platoon medics piled in through the 17-tonne Stryker's rear door and one of his men stepped up to replace him in the squad leader's open roof hatch and guide the vehicle out of an east Baghdad slum.

    "God damn it. He's hit in the head. He's shot in the f(expletive) head" -- "Roger, roger, gotcha" -- "He's got a pulse, got a pulse" -- "Is he breathing? -- "He's got a gunshot wound to the head. He's got pulse. He's not breathing."

    For a fearful moment the crush in the crew compartment seemed like chaos, but Rojas' team was well drilled. Every soldier on board had a job to do as the platoon roared to the nearest US base, fighting to save their sergeant's life.


    "He's not breathing" -- "We need to move" -- "Get the ramp up, get the ramp up, get the ramp up" -- "Go, go, go" -- "I need you up on top" -- "I need a weapon" -- "Here, take my weapon. It's got one in the breach, OK?"

    "OK. I need immediate f(expletive) dust off at Loyalty, copy?"

    Despite the platoon's efforts, it was clear that the hidden sniper had found his mark. Rojas was dead on arrival four kilometres (2.5 miles) away at Camp Loyalty and no longer needed a "dust off," or emergency evacuation by helicopter.

    The sergeant, a 27-year-old from the industrial town of Hammond, Indiana, left behind a wife and two pit bull terriers.

    Rojas' platoon from the 172nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team washed the blood from the floor of their troop transport then gathered to salute his body as it was carried onto a Blackhawk chopper under a blue plastic shroud.

    Afterwards, they headed back to the streets to continue their mission.
    For the troops of the 172nd, who were deployed to Baghdad two months ago after seeing their year-long tour of duty in Iraq abruptly extended just days before they were due to return home, Rojas' death was a cruel blow.

    But beyond the close bonds of his unit -- a team of young infantrymen who are already 14-month veterans of a brutal war -- the popular and respected squad leader's death was also part of a stark broader picture.

    More and more US soldiers are falling victim to the battle to wrest back control of Baghdad's streets from death squads and sectarian militias.

    "As far as US casualties go, this has been a hard week for the US forces," coalition spokesman Major General William Caldwell told reporters Wednesday. "We have lost 18 American service members in about the last 96 hours."

    Later the same day, coalition headquarters announced that four more soldiers had been killed in a coordinated mortar and gun attack southwest of the city.
    In Washington, the pre-election debate on the war in Iraq is focused on whether the troops should be brought home quickly according a fixed timetable or "stay the course" while Iraq's own fledgling forces grow in strength.

    Such disagreements are academic in Iraq, where US forces are facing the highest level of violence since their 2003 invasion and fighting battles on several fronts as Iraq descends into sectarian carnage.

    Troop levels are above 140,000 and will likely remain so well into next year, officers say. Many more troops will die before the mission is over.

    In Al-Anbar province west of Baghdad, where US soldiers and marines are engaged in a struggle against Sunni extremists fighting under the Al-Qaeda banner, powerful tribal sheikhs have turned against the insurgents in their midst.

    US commanders hope that, with opinion turning in favor of the Iraqi government, they now have a chance to defeat the Sunni insurgency in the field, but they nevertheless expect the movement's eventual death throes to be bloody.

    Anbar is what one US commander called last week "the closest thing I have to a straight fight." By comparison, the Battle for Baghdad is a Byzantine political and military puzzle and a potential death-trap for GIs.

    As the death toll in the vicious dirty war between Sunni and Shiite factions mounts, more and more fingers are pointing at the Mahdi Army, a fragmented Shiite militia nominally loyal to radical cleric Moqtada al-Sadr.

    Sadr last openly challenged US forces to a fight in August 2004, and the two sides have since been involved in what a US intelligence officer called a "cold war" while Sadr has worked to build a broader political base.

    Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's fragile national unity government includes Sadrist ministers and lawmakers, and so far has been loathe to challenge the sway of a militia that some fear is becoming a state within a state.

    US commanders say they are waiting for Maliki's green light to expand their Baghdad security operation to Sadr City, a Shiite slum in eastern Baghdad that is home to more than 2.5 million people and an estimated 7,000 militiamen.

    Death squads based in Sadr City emerge at night to carry out targeted political killings and random sectarian massacres of Sunnis elsewhere in the city, before returning to the safety of home ground.

    Often, locals wake to find bodies littering the wasteland and the canal banks between Sadr City and the mixed suburb of Obeidi, where on Tuesday a platoon of US troops mounted in Strykers carried out a scouting mission.

    There was no sign of trouble when the heavily armed squad rolled up outside the Al-Shahama boys' primary school in Obeidi, visiting local institutions and preparing for a possible order to secure the area in the weeks to come.

    "We welcome to you, our guests," exclaimed English teacher Amir Shebib, when US Captain Brent Irish sat down to meet staff. "Don't forgot there is between us friendship, because you removed 
    Bottom of Form 2
    Saddam Hussein," Shebib said.

    It was a typical conversation, such as US officers are having all over the divided city, trying to build up links with distrustful local communities and discover the realities of local politics.

    "There aren't terrorists here, because the people here cooperate with us and each other," said Shebib, all smiles as grinning children waved at the troops.

    Back inside the Strykers, the platoon prepared to explore more of the muddy, rubbish-strewn streets of Obeidi, a rundown district where locals said they hadn't seen US troops patrolling in more than a year.

    Then the shot rang out.

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20061006/wl_mideast_afp/iraqunrestusbaghdad


    Some of you more WARMONGERING need to read this. This is about as close to REAL as it gets. Wish You Had Been There!!!! God Bless the true Journalists and the Soldiers of our wonderful country.



    Psychoblues
     
  2. Annie
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    Annie Diamond Member

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    Being a vet and all,

    I'd assume that you recognize that in war, people are cut to pieces. They die, horrible and sometimes excrutiating deaths. Sometimes they come back with no limbs, no vision, scarred for life. I'll assume you were bright enough to know that, with all your years in the service. So why feign surprise?
     
  3. Kagom
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    Kagom Senior Member

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    You must spread some Reputation around before giving it to Kathianne again.

    War isn't all rainbow and sunshine like South Park spoofed regarding the Vietnam War (if anyone saw the episode where Mr. Garrison had flashbacks). It's gritty, raw, and hellish.
     
  4. Psychoblues
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    Psychoblues Senior Member

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    I never knowingly participated in a purely political and ideological war such as I see now in Iraq. I helped GHWB push, never mind, I won't explain all that again here and now. You consider this subject military as opposed to WAR ON TERROR? You are as much a fool as anyone that ever killed as a means to prevent killing. I don't suppose for one moment that you understand what I am talking about.

    Psychoblues

     
  5. Annie
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    Annie Diamond Member

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    Again, a moderator decision which means if you don't like it, take it to admin.

    As for not understanding what you post, I may not be alone. :tinfoil: are most :rolleyes: of your posts.
     

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