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Old 05-23-2009, 02:42 PM
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Brother Tim Brother Tim is offline
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Gainesville, FL
Posts: 864
Default My son and others in Iraq/Afghanistan

I said good-bye the second time to my older son this morning. The first time, back in January when he started his tour in Iraq, was very emotional, because I could not suppress the fear of the unknown. Today when he left, I was able to keep things under control. He has been home with his wife and kids for the last two weeks, and we got to spend several times together.

Pray for those in combat. Those of us who have not been over there, even those who were in previous conflicts, cannot understand the stress that they are facing. My son drives the point truck in a convoy of 4 to 9 trucks. He must be watching EVERY vehicle that approaches him. He must watch every person who walks to the side of the road, or will not move out of the way. His gunner's job is even worse, for he must do the same while at the same time, keeping his hand on the trigger of his weapon. The tales that he told us would weaken the knees of even the hardest among us.

They have procedures that must be followed. When any vehicle shows any sign of not getting out of the way, the gunner must wave a flag. If that doesn't change the vehicle's movement, a hand-held flare is fired by the gunner in front of the vehicle. If the vehicle continues, the gunner fires his rifle ahead of the vehicle using tracer bullets that can be seen by the driver. If all else fails, the gunner fires the 50 cal ahead of the vehicle, then at the engine, then at the driver. All of this in a matter of 10-15 seconds, by a kid who just turned 20 this year. My son, the driver, has to back up the actions by maneuvering his 18-ton truck in the best direction for safety while radioing the trucks behind of evasive action. The 50 cal has had to be used only twice so far without harm (other than emotional) to the cars' drivers, but the flares are a regular occurrence. The pressure is enormous. They have already had several men go AWOL while on R&R.

Worse than this is that the insurgents are using the children to test out the behavior of the convoys. One 12 year-old was killed several weeks ago because he was possibly involved in a grenade attack. My son's convoy had a grenade thrown at them by two little boys. It turned out to be a dud. The insurgents observe and adjust their attacks based on the response of the convoys.

I pray daily that my son will not have to take a life, or even witness an event. His heart is very soft, and I know that it would haunt him. I heard a report this morning that 90% of the returning troops are given some type of medication to cope with the stress.

I covet your prayers.

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