(Written 5 November)
Lots of explosions today.
Of course, I chose this morning to completely break down my M249 to clean it – after only a few days in the humid environment, various parts had already started to rust (I kept it almost completely dry in Kuwait because of the sand and low humidity). So there I am, happily scrubbing away, when I hear a boom through my headphones, and I look up to see the window blinds rattling. Already I’ve learned that the blinds are the difference between a neighbor slamming his door and an explosion; if someone slams a door, the blinds don’t move. If something blows up, they do.
I glance out the window – nothing around me looks damaged and no one’s running around acting crazy, so I shrug and go back to work. Then another boom. Then another. OK, I’m a little worried now. I toss my body armor on and hastily reassemble my weapon. Another explosion rattles the window – this time it seems close. Geez, I think, are they making a big assault here or something? I lace up my boots and head outside to the concrete bunker between the trailers. Herndost and another guy see me there and think it looks like a good place to be, so they join me. Then a couple of sergeants from the 256th stroll by as if nothing’s happening, and say, “Hey guys, that fire’s outgoing – ya’ll are fine.”
Of course it’s outgoing – thinking about it, I realize that the explosions are coming in close succession, and all from the same area of the camp. Much too accurate and rapid to be insurgent mortarmen. The artillery – must be 155mm howitzers – keeps firing, and even from my position it’s loud, shaking the trailers with every shot.