War Stories Thread


Intel Enabler
Verified SOF
Sep 9, 2006
In keeping with the professional development-type threads that have cropped up recently, I'm starting this thread to capitalize on the experience and story-telling ability of the members of this site. I hope those of you with stories to tell will share them with us in this forum.

This thread is called "war stories" but is open for all members to share their experiences, not just military. The rules are simple:

1) the stories have to be true.
2) the stories must have happened to you.

Post away!
How about LE 'combat' stories since these forums are open to LE people many of who have served in SWAT, Bomb and other emergency response units?

That's a good idea.

You know what, screw it; this site has people from many walks of life, with their own very interesting and relevant "war stories." No reason why they shouldn't be allowed to share.

Will change the guidance in the original post accordingly.
I like this concept and definatly think it's a good idea to share stories in this aspect, especially those in the military and LE that have exerienced aspects of life most people will never really experience. I'll start us off...

I was with 3/7 Marines during my first Iraq tour in Husaybah on the Syrian border. My platoon had set up a lil patrol base in a abondoned house near the towns hospital to conduct continuous patrols for 24hrs. As my squad was leaving the house down the main alley near us, big boom goes off by the point man. First we thought it was a ied but turned out to be a rpg, don't know how but the point man was fine didn't get a scratch on him. Next thing we know rounds are comming down range at us and I duck my happy ass behind a large pile of dirt for protection. The Marine infront of me is poppin rounds as fast as he can at a rooftop shooter while I watch almost mesmarized at the enemy rounds kicking up around his feet. After he foes dry on the mag he had in he hightails it to the safe side of the street, and me not having a bead on a shooter and knowing this pile of dirt isn't gonna do crap to stop a ak round promptly do the same. After about another minute the fire dies off and we begin to patrol
out again to try and find the shooters, only they start firing off again at us. My tram spilts off down another side street to try and flank them, with me on the right side of the street and the other two on the left. I quickly realize this makes me a target to the shooter on the rooftop as I hear a round whiz by my head and I quickly make it to the safe side of the street. We eventually get down the street but the shooters have all done the usual vanish into the local population act, but a search later turns up a lil weapons stash and a insurgent collaborator.

Not the most thrilling story I know, but one of my own and one that taught mr some valuable lessons. Glad to share with you all. Semper Fi.

Husaybah used to be a real sh*t hole. My friend went there twice with 1/7 and was telling me about it.
yea we were the first unit to establish a continuous presence there, some army tanks and apc's were there but never patrolled the city, so we did. camp gannon there is named after my former CO, Maj. Gannon, who was killed there, awarded the silver star and posthumously promoted to Major after the events known as "The Battle of Husaybah", pick up the book "Blood Stripes" and you can read the full account of those events.
That's a good idea.

You know what, screw it; this site has people from many walks of life, with their own very interesting and relevant "war stories." No reason why they shouldn't be allowed to share.

Will change the guidance in the original post accordingly.

Thank you Marauder! I'm glad you agree. I also agree with you on opening it up to all registered users, who have 'relevant' war stories. :)
Mara - if I may, let me throw in another caveat.

Keep it to "no shit," real war/sea stories.

We don't need a whole bunch of "car and RB we rolling on the floor in xxxx bar" kind of stories. That's what the link-up thread is for. :D

You can tell all the "No shit, car was......" stories you want, but unless I was .... covering your ass, or you covering mine, it doesn't belong here.

Don't even go there, Troll......;):cool:
I could give the cool guy super war story here and I have a few, but I was thinking about this one the other day so! Okay one of my “no shit there I was” stories…

2004 sometime in Baghdad zone 14W area Z, DK and my self had been tasked with PSD for our “commander”. We set up a patrol base with 3 squads out in sector and DK, the commander and I were supposed to walk about 3 blocks over and meet the neighborhood sheik, then walk and talk with the sheik and listen to his BS problems of the week. Fairly common BS mission in an area that was fairly calm at the time.

So DK is point man and I am rear guard, commander is left flank and the sheik is tucked up against the buildings as we are walking down the road. The Sheik is mad b/c his power is going out and b/c GI Joe keeps shooting up the cars that drive to close to convoys, blah-blah-blahhhhh. Well we walk and talk for about 30 minutes, when we walk into an area we had taken fire from previously, we are now about 4 blocks away from the P/B and DK and I are ears perked scanning like mad men.

Well we see this green Toyota POS come driving down the road and we are eyes on it, at about 30 meters away the car punches the gas and cuts the wheels towards us. I remember scream VBID! and jumping for cover (behind a 55 gallon drum full of motor oil) :doh: My safety flies off and I am pulling the slack out of my trigger, sights on the driver. (at this point I am thinking I am about to become spegatti, there is no reason in firing at this point.) I am just about squeeze off on the driver, when I think if this is not a VBIED and the Sheik see’s this, he is going to flip the fuck out and our commander is going to bring us up on murder charges again.:rolleyes: (I am going through this in my head all with in about a half a millisecond.)

Well I don’t fire and the car cuts the wheels back the other way and drives off, the driver was a younger Iraqi male with black short hair and was wearing a white shirt. His eyes were looking directly at us and he had that I want to kill you look. The car’s ass end was slammed down to the ground and had almost metallic look to the paint job. ( all things I picked up while grabbing cover, getting sights on the driver and going through my thoughts and in the amount of time it takes a car going about 35 to 45 MPH over a 30 meter distance.) :eek:

So the car drives off and I hear the commander say “if that car comes back stop it, I wanna talk to him”:uhh: so I look back to give him the “go fuck your self” look and see DK trying to get skinnier behind one of those metal light poles :D and we give each other the “holy fuuuuuuck look” we both say we just became crispy critters. I am able to get out “rrrrroger that sir” (said extremely scared) followed by DK saying “we should probably get back to the patrol base sir” (said extremely “fuck you’’ style).

So we walk back and get in our trucks and finish our 12 hour patrol, the rest of the patrol I am freaked the fuck out and simply just WTF. To this day that day reminds me of how stupid we all were and how close I came to being a name on a bracelet.
yea we were the first unit to establish a continuous presence there, some army tanks and apc's were there but never patrolled the city, so we did. camp gannon there is named after my former CO, Maj. Gannon, who was killed there, awarded the silver star and posthumously promoted to Major after the events known as "The Battle of Husaybah", pick up the book "Blood Stripes" and you can read the full account of those events.

Rich Gannon was one of my instructors at the Naval Academy, I know him very well. He was a passionate leader and tough Marine. He is missed by everyone who has served with him.
Major Gannon.

He was a excellent company commander, admired by his Marines and sadly missed. We were all fortunate to have such a man command us if only for a short time. I'm thankful he was able to take some of the bastards with him before he was taken from this world. It was a privilege to serve under him, and to have our little base on the "edge of the empire" named after him. I'm glad you got to know him as well, Semper Fi.

Here we go: I am a cherry ass private with like 3 months in Battalion on my first deployment in Iraq, ’04 time frame.

So this particular night we had two target houses about two blocks from each other. The plan was to have two squads take one objective while one squad and the D guys take the other. My squad and team is the main assault element, the other team is to clear the courtyard and help us if we get bogged down inside while the other squad provided security/blocking positions. Our vehicle is to get as close as possible to the wall so we can jump from the back of our truck and over the wall. I am riding in the rear passenger while in the back is my PSG, SL, TL and SAW gunner.

Vehicle pulls up and I jump out and make my way towards the back. Top gunner swings over covering the roof while the PSG propped himself on top of the wall and truck providing security on the door until we get over the wall. My TL and SAW gunner are first to get over the wall. There was some faint noise made like metal banging as they made it over. At this point I am waiting in the back for my turn to jump the wall. SL goes over and the clanging sound of metal was louder this time. I get myself on the wall and do one of those jump and turn grasping the top of the wall to lower myself. I lower myself a little and then drop, BANG! CRASH! My NODs went out and I am trying to move but I am stuck. I unfuck my NODs and realize I am about waist deep in a manhole. I pull myself out and as I am making a dash over to the far side of the courtyard, there is a large BANG! CRASH! I look over and our PSG is literally shoulder deep in this manhole. My Team leader is prepped to blow the door but our PSG is in the way of fragmentation. We are all staring at him with our gung-ho faces holding back our laughter as he is trying to get his bearing. Finally the SAW gunner moves over to help him out. They are out of the way and KA-BOOM! the fun starts. Fast forward… I am hanging out in the courtyard watching one of our detainees, while I am out there I check out the manhole. This thing had a thin sheet of tin covering it so every time someone landed on it, it started to give. The PSG and I happened to be the victims although he came out wet, I was dry.

Part 2 -
Hanging out in the courtyard there is a huddle of leaders just outside the entrance. They are talking about these two guys that have been observed talking on a radio or cell on the roof of a house under construction not far from us. So my PSG calls me over and tells me to help out the group detain the guys. The plan was two guys go around back of the house just in case they decide to squirt. While 1sgt, a TL from another squad Sgt L and I go up to the roof and detain them. We get up to the roof and detain them without incident and do a quick sweep of the roof and walk them down for questioning; Oh btw there are stairs outside this house leading to the roof. When we hand them off 1sgt comes over to Sgt L and me and tells us to go back up to the roof and check out the little shed up top and do a thorough search. We both walk back up to the roof and I start looking around where they had been sleeping, Sgt L goes over to the shed. Not long he calls me over and as I turn the corner he boots the door open. I follow right behind him, Sgt L moved left I went right and came up on nothing but boxes and junk. I look over in his direction and there are stairs leading down. He starts descending the stairs, the stairs turn left and he went out of my sight. So I started down them, midway down he calls out to me to hurry. As I made the left turn I see a bunch of kids laying out sleeping at that same moment one of them awoke, saw both of us and let out a loud scream. Soon everybody was awake screaming and crying. We are still on the stairs looking down into the lighted living area when I noticed a shadowy figure in this dark room across from us. My NODs where whiteout by light in the room so I white lighted the room with my surefire from where I was and my heart jumped. Hajj is walking toward us with an AK firmly clinched in his left hand. I yelled out to Sgt L, GUN! We both are drawing a bead on this guy and start yelling for him to drop the gun. This guy is blinded by our lights trying to shield his eyes and continuing towards us and the living area. We continue yelling louder and in a more aggressive tone for him to drop the gun. He makes it to the living area with his wife behind him hysterical. Hajj finally realizes what is going on, drops the AK and raises his hands. Sgt L commands him to layout and flex-cuffs him. I try in broken Hajj and signing asking his wife if there are any more weapons or anymore people in the house. After some frustrating communication attempts she says no. Sgt L and I begin clearing the rest of the house; all clear. We exited the house with the guy and AK, handing him off for questioning. The guy was let go and given back his AK. When we got back to our compound Sgt L came over to me and gave me a pat in the back and told me he was proud in the way I handled the situation. It gave me a warm tingling feeling, shit could have went bad if I had gotten trigger happy.

I used to tell this story to the new guys to get them to think. A lot of people ask why I did not pull the trigger, our ROE is pretty lax. Within those few seconds the things that stuck out to me was in the way he was holding the weapon and his overall demeanor, nothing aggressive.
Great story Anger.

Too many people think Batt boys are 18 year old trigger-happy kids who can't think on their own. Your story shows that is not the case.
You deserved that pat on the back. You showed restraint and good judgement. If you'd whacked him you'd be second-guessing yourself the rest of your life.
This one is from my 6 week NCO course (my only exp with the mil - for the time being :D).
It was my fourth week into the course, cant remember which day exacly but it was a damn HOT ONE ! 30+ Celcious at least....
We were scheduled to run the Mech. Inf. "Combat Obstical Course" (COC) for the first time, in full gear, weapon - the whole 9 yeards.
Before we ran the COC we had instructions on how to shoot, move, communicate. So basicly infantry tactics 101.


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After that enjoyable little intro, our instructor yelled "GAS, GAS, GAS". Yup, MP-4 on your face and start running, crawling, running again, crawling again. After about 100 meters I was drowning in my own sweat (that was when I started asking my self "are having fun now?")....

Then the real fun began.

We were to simulate an attack on an entranched enemy position using "fire and manevour". So basicly for the next couple of hours we were running to the forest and back, killing mosquitos.

After that our WO yelled "time out" and we sat down for a "hot wash" - what we did bad and what we did not fuck up too much.

The next 2-3 hours of a little relaxation and chow, we came back to the COC to finally take a shot at it.

The COC is basicly a mix of surtent obsticals, which a Soldier must navigate, switching from a prone position, to crawl, crouched and run, always scaning the horison and keping his weapon at the ready.

Thre good thing was that it got a little colder so the sun was not melting our heads off.

We were devided into two groups, one on the first part of the COC, another one (mine) on the other. We started when the Instructor loaded his AKMS with blanks and a flashbang was set off. So as you'd expect it, the first guy went in and did the COC, then another one, and another one and then it was mine turn. I started crawling, went over the wall when suddenly I hear guys shouting "GET DOWN! GET DOWN!". Unbeknownst to me, the Instructor threw a flash bang a little too close to where I was standing. I was like "WTH are you guys yelling for?" when sudenly, about a foot or two from where I was kneeling .... BANG!
Guys had a laugh, I was scared out of my shit, the Instructor told I'm a "dumbass" and I was confused but decided - fuck it - and kept running the COC. Charged the barbred wires when the Instructor started fireing his AK right over my head, the hot brass hit my steel helmet and I couldn't hear shit.
The running, craling, jumping and sweating contionued for the next two or three hours - cant recall how long we were charging the COC. After that we were ordered to rest and prepare for the trip back to the Barracks.

All in all I was cold, tired, dirty and hungry. But man that was one hell of a training day :)

I used to tell this story to the new guys to get them to think. A lot of people ask why I did not pull the trigger, our ROE is pretty lax. Within those few seconds the things that stuck out to me was in the way he was holding the weapon and his overall demeanor, nothing aggressive.

Awsome observation of the individual's body language: prevented unecessary problems. I will remember that if I ever enter such a situation.
Tal Afar, Sept. 04-05 2005

My platoon was sent into Tal Afar to capture some HVT's. We were tasked with hitting three houses that night. Just a back story, this town was off limits to the reg. army guys. They rode with hatches down due to snipers, an officer had been killed the night before. They only traveled on one road thru the city and around the city. Lots of foreign fighters. After Fallujah, this was one of the last holdouts that remained. It was surrounded by reg. Army.

First house, outskirts of the city. Snipers kill 3 guys on the roof as we are clearing the house. Grenades and explosives vests are found on them. Thank god for snipers!

Next House. 500 m away. I thought to myself that they had to have heard the .308 go off, be extra careful, they are probably awake. The streets of Tal Afar are extemely narrow, our Strykers couldn’t fit. They offloaded us, and we began to walk silently towards the obj. Security was shit tight, every window, every door had a barrel in pointed in it. Plan was that once we secured the house our air would come on station. i was in the third assault team ( we has two four man teams, and 1 five man team, + headquarters of approx. 15 dudes.) As the breach was being set, a helicopter flew over the objective house. Now on the way up to the obj., it was passed down from the predator that there were three males on top of the roof sleeping.
The door to the house opened and then shut just as quickly. Sgt. E., yelled breach compromised, and burst in, followed by a five man assault team. All I remember from kneeling outside the house was hearing two thunderous BOOMS and cries for a medic.
This was it. Combat. What we have trained for 3 years for. I distinctivly heard the cries of one of my friends. I sprinted past stunned comrades. I squeezed thu the door and saw my buddy grabbing at his leg. " James, where ya hurt buddy?" he was screaming in pain so I knew he had an open airway. Training kicked in, so I did my head to..... "BOOM!!!!!!" ...... toe. A grenade went off behind me.
We were in a fatal funnel, a hallway that opened out to a courtyard, that had some stairs to the right and a room off to the left about 20 ft away. I wish I could draw it but I cant on here so bear with me.
Fuck! I am going to die. Fuck it! Training kicked back in. it was so wierd, I did not even have to think about what to do, it just happened. I didn’t see any blood but when I touched James's leg, he screamed. "hold on buddy, hold on, you will be fine," was all I could tell him. I got my leatherman out and cut open hit pant leg and saw a huge gash on his leg , along with what looked like shotgun pellets. All of a sudden, just like in Blackhawk Down, blood squirted all over my face. I was like WTF!!!! I grabbed his tourniquet but he had those new CAT ones with the platic turn in the middle. They are shit when you have massive amounts of blood on your oakley gloves. I couldnt get a tight squeeze on it. Knowing that my friend was bleeding out, i grabbed my ratchet and put it on and yanked, put a "t" on his forehead, and elevated his leg on his helmet. I cant remeber if i started an iv or not before the other grenade went off but it threw me off balance and I landed right on his leg. He passed out. I tried a sternum rub, slapping him, nothing. “MEDIC!!!!!!” He was busy with 5 other rangers wounded in the hallway.
A buddy of mine J. B., who used to play football for Ole Miss with Eli Manning, was working on a fellow Ranger, Tim, right next to me. All of a sudden we heard a tink..tink..tink.. it sounded real close. Jeff and I looked behind us and there at both of our heels is a fucking grenade. I jump on James to shield him, and I wait to die. Again. Still waiting..... It didn’t go off. Jeff and I just looked at eachother and went back to what we were doing, saving our friends. A medic finally made it to me, and my sqaud leader grabbed me and my teammate Kyle to clear the rest of the house, something which in hindsight we should have done when this shit first happened. We go out into the courtyard.
There are friendlies behind us and as we go into the first room on the right, they go up the stairs. The first room is a short room, a bathroom, and we head to the next room on the right. This room is much larger. Now I am the #2 guy and we went in and it was clear. We looked for tunnels, and found none. On the way out, I became the #3 guy, so I had rear security on the opposite room in the courtyard which was not cleared yet, and the rooftop which was connected to the whole block. As I am pulling security, I see 3 guys setting up a machine gun. It had 2 drums on it. They couldn’t see me. Being a private, and frozen with fear for this is now the third time I am facing death in the face in less than three minutes, I was looking for direction. Instead of firing, I yelled for my squad leader to help me, to let guys know behind me we had a massive threat which they had no idea was there. No answer. I yelled again. They didn’t shoot at me and there was still no answer. Now I knew that behind me was clear and there were friendlies on the roof, so I shined my tac-light being that was the only light in the house.
I realized I had made a fatal error, and they now had a reference to shoot at, so I ducked back into the room I came out of with my assault team.

I was scared shitless. There was a machine gun less than 15 ft away and I was by myself. Right there is where I became a Christian. I flipped down my nods, turned my laser on, and said a prayer. I thanked God for the parents I had, for the life I had, and I asked him to watch over my girlfriend(now my wife)and to take care of her. I asked him to guide my shot. I knelt at the window I was crouching behind, and shot the guy behind the gun in the throat. I saw his head lurch back, and his two buddies didn’t like that too much cause they started to shoot at me and throw grenades. They sprayed wildly. I did not know at the time but, one of my buddies got shot, more guys got fragged, it seemed to last forever, and since my squad leader had asked for my sordins, i had no ear-pro. The sound was deafening and my ears still ring every day 4 years later. The firing stopped, and I looked up and saw they were in fact surpressing us to cover their movement to the rooftop. As they were climbing the wall, I fired a full mag at them and saw them fall on top of the roof. One guys started to get up but I heard a sniper take care of him.
iI reloaded and looked out of the door I was in, and yelled a password phrase to let my mates know I was coming out. Our CSM, and our dog handler covered my movement out. I mad it out of the house and caught my breath. I noticed my squad leader directing Strykers down the street. So, was he out here the whole time? I had to get accountability of my team. My team Leader was wounded, squad leader was wounded and directing strykers, and Kyle. Where the fuck was Kyle? I saw my buddy M. H. and he was at the door of the house. I told him my predicament, how I couldn’t find Kyle, so he recommended we go back inside. Wait. "I don't want to go back in there M. "We have to," he replied."Well shit give me five seconds."

We went back in and find Kyle, lying next to the steps. When they began firing the machine gun, he was on his way up the stairs and got shot in the back with an exit wound that missed his heart by millimeters. He was being attented to by a superb medic, and our battalion PA. We got all our wounded out, collected all the sensitive items, and killed 4 insurgents and captured our guy in the process. No one died, but that night will remain with me to the day I die.

17 purple hearts, 2 silver stars, 9 bronze star w/ V device, 1 house