Iraq 2006

April 01, 2006  ·  Michael Fumento  ·  Michael Fumento</h5>  ·  Military

Read the accompanying blog, Back to Fallujah

Posing at OP3 with a PKC light machine gun.

Handslaps and high-fives in the Fallujah slum of Nasser Wa'Salaam.

The piece of metal in the Major's hand was the tail fin of one of the mortar rounds that was fired at us last night.

All of the Iraqi kids loved seeing the "Ameriki."

The Iraqis pointing their rifles were guarding the bridge that was attacked by the 7 Mooj.

Look! I have my own Iraqi bodyguard!

A Marine takes cover while on an ostensible raid in Nasser Wa'Salaam near Fallujah.

Spent shells at an insurgent position that attacked OP3.

Machine gun position attacked at OP3.

An Iraqi soldier keeps his back to the wall. One less direction to be shot from.

We take up positions opposite a row of buildings frequented by snipers.

The dual patches are a strong symbol of US-Iraqi cooperation.

Read the blog, Firefight at Ramadi.

A Humvee guards the alley.

Taking enemy fire. SEALs assume fighting positions. I get the hell out of their line of fire.

A jundi with a PKC light machine gun.

SEALs have already begun defensive fire, as can be seen from casings littering the roof. Within seconds of this photo they will take the fight to the enemy with deadly efficiency.

Iraqi soldier guards a street crossing.

The SEALs aim their guns at me. Actually, they are expecting a vehicle with a .51 caliber machine gun.

Note Vietnam-era grenade launcher carried by closest SEAL.

Read the blog, Another Firefight (One that Came Close to Never Being Blogged).

Taking up a defensive position before the fight.

Covering the street from both sides.

Covering the street while busting open a gate.

The orange panel tells aircraft the house is occupied by friendlies. Different colors are used on different days, so the Mooj can't imitate this.

The Iraqi patrol our rooftop unit is protecting.

"Hit me with your best shot!" This is one of the new ceramic side body armor plates. We first took fire a few minutes before I shot this.

Iraqi with RPG and extra rounds. I shot this through a window you'll see again.

Pfc. Robert Killion killed two Mooj from this point with the .556 millimeter Squad Automatic Weapon or SAW.

Note the brass casing just ejected as he fires up the Mooj. It's a little streak to the right and down. A lot of his casings bounced off my chest as I snapped this.

This is the window whence I photographed the Iraqi with the RPG. There was virtually no cover, so to keep an eye on the SAW gunner in front of me I had to keep my side to the window. Had I not gone over to where Killion was killing, the round would have penetrated where I have no protection whatsoever and drilled into my heart.

As we hit the streets the Mooj opened up with everything they had. Our guys threw smoke to conceal us as we ran across the wide avenue.

Safe, but only momentarily.

Cover fire to protect another mad dash across a street.

Mooj bullets are flying!

Laying down life-saving cover fire with a SAW.

Here we go again! This stopped being fun a long time ago...

Unbelievably, this guy apparently took a ricochet round sideways through his nose. Now he's The Man with Four Nostrils.

This is a 122 mortar shell, such as the Mooj fired at us on two occasions when I was there.

Macho Mike with AK-47 takes out a Mooj VBIED from an Iraqi OP. Never mind that his finger is in the safe position.

Two armored SUVs knocked out by IEDs.

Yes, in the age of GPS systems soldiers still draw maps in the dirt or sand. But it really represents American leadership and IA cooperation.

As a result of congressional budget cuts, all fighting vehicles are being phased out in favor of this.

Macho Mike with knife, M-14 rifle (actually a carbine, if you look closely) and girlie calendar. Yeah, I thought they stopped making M-14s a long time ago, too. But they're more accurate and powerful than M-16s, M-4s, and SAWs so they started making some again.