Listen to any veteran tell a "war story" and you're bound to hear him/her start it off with the phrase, "So, there I was...". It's practically a requirement. Therefore, it's only fitting to begin this story with....
So, there I was, sitting in a nice air conditioned room meeting with all of the Squadron Executive Officers (XO's)....hold on...I've got to exaggerate in order to make this sound more exciting than it really is, as that's how just about every story is told nowadays.
So, there I was, sitting in a very small bunker, crowded with all the XO's, mud and blood all over our face, bullets whizzing over our heads....nevermind, this isn't working. Take three.
I was meeting with the Squadron XO's when all of the sudden we heard a pretty loud explosion. Around here, you're bound to hear at least a couple everyday. Most are controlled detonations (control dets), which is when an Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) team is summoned to an area where unexploded ordnance is found (UXO). However, this was louder than usual, which meant it was pretty close. Everyone in the room just dismissed it...after we got back into our skin.
I found out later that a checkpoint Coalition Forces go through about 50 times a day was attacked by a Vehicle Born Improvised Explosive Device (VBIED). In short, it was a car bomb. Although this isn't that out of the ordinary, what I find interesting is that had one of my company's convoys not had radio problems, they would've been somewhere in that vicinity when it exploded. Alan, the company Distribution Platoon leader, was transporting our Company Commander and First Sergeant to a JSS in sector, but stopped short of leaving the FOB due to an inability to communicate with all three trucks. If this happens, it halts the convoy and everyone is forced back to the command post to fix the problem. Had they not had issues and just rolled out the gate, there's no telling what would've happened to them.
I'm sure everyone has at some point in their life played the "What if" game and questioned the likelihood of their continued existence had some unforeseen circumstance not changed the course of events. Well, this is definitely one of those times for some of my soldiers and peers. What if they didn't have commo problems? Would they have been hit by the car bomb? There's never a definitive answer on that stuff, but by the grace of God they didn't have to find out. Luckily no one died....except for the driver.