Chapter 8: Insomnia
“Every action has consequences. Every failure to act has consequences.”
A platoon of us were standing outside at 2145. We were now working “overtime”. Too bad you don’t get extra pay, just extra work.
We all had our weapons ready, locked and loaded with a 30 round magazine. I hadn’t slept in two days, so I felt a little bewildered.
The platoon sergeant handed me a radio, and briefed me instructions. My squad was to defend the northwest gate on our FOB (Forward Operating Base).
After checking our gear, we marched over to the gate, relieving a squad from another company on guard. I radioed in to the platoon sergeant that we had arrived. The gate was only accessible by foot, therefore limiting the number of possibilities of attack. I positioned my squad accordingly, and set myself up by the gate. There was to be complete noise and light discipline while we were on guard (no lights or talking). We were going to be on duty for the next four hours.
There was dead silence. I took a couple sips out of my camel back. There was a full moon out, so we had some illumination. We sat in silence for 2 straight hours, waiting, anticipating contact.
All of a sudden, I heard some crackling in the distance. It was very faint, but it was there. Could it be an animal? Whatever it was, it was coming closer. Slowly, I crept back from the gate and alerted everyone using hand gestures. I got myself into a well-covered position, and waited.
All of a sudden, I heard a pop. It sounded like someone was popping open a can of sprite or something. Then I saw the green smoke – it was a CS gas grenade.
“Gas! Gas! Gas!”
Immediately we all put our gas masks on. Gun fire started to break out. It was clearly suppressive, because they were shooting at the towers. I radioed in to the platoon sergeant to send in the QRF (Quick Reaction Force). Immediately the 249 (a light machine gun) began to spray fire into the smoke, in hopes to cease the enemy from moving in further.
Suddenly, I heard a whistle. A mortar round was incoming.
It landed about 10 meters from my position. I ducked my head down, and I heard a huge bang. I looked up and I saw some smoke left over from the explosion. Another mortar was inbound. All at once, the enemy began their attack.
Finally, we saw them. The enemies were attempting to close the distance. We could not let them get any closer, or we lose the advantage of our fortification. We started tossing grenades deep in the smoke in an attempt to slow their advance. We had to stall until the QRF arrived.
While my squad was firing at them straight on, the QRF went through another gate to come around and flank the enemy platoon from the west. After about a 15 minute firefight, the enemy had to withdraw due to their position being compromised. They were flanked and did not have enough cover to efficiently engage our fortifications.
It was another successful day at Victory Forge. After our guard shift was over, I returned to my tent and collapsed on my cot. Sleep was precious.