We were pulling outer cordon [outermost security] for some bigwig meeting at a police station in town once. There wasn’t much room, so were stacked on top of each other like rats. Four trucks covering one avenue of approach. It was ridiculous.
Over by my team [two trucks], we were so bored that we started flirting with the Iraqi girl who kept peeking out of her window in a big house to our right. She was absolutely gorgeous. I was more mesmerized with her looks than anything, but my buddy wanted her to give us some food. I have no idea how he got her to do it, but she did. He stood on the outside of the wall and she would run across the yard, hand him some food, and run back inside. If she was caught by her dad, he would probably beat her. Or maybe even kill her.
It was a really lame mission, but whatever. We got some free food out of it. I wasn’t even facing down the road after awhile. There just wasn’t anything happening. And it was blocked with signs and concertina wire, anyway.
Suddenly, a car starts driving around the barrier like they were going to attack us. It was crossing in front of us and headed directly towards two more of our vehicles. We were yelling at him to stop, but I don’t think he even heard us. He just kept driving. A moment later, we started firing. We couldn’t get the .50 up in that short a time, so we all opened up with rifles or light machine guns [M249 SAW]. Three of us started firing with rifles, and one with the SAW. I jumped off the truck and started moving to the left, sighting in on the driver’s head. When I stopped a second later, I fired about ten rounds into his window. From 60 feet, there’s no way I missed. The guy with the SAW tracked the so well that he shot off our antenna on the humvee. We stole another one later so we wouldn’t get in trouble.
Meanwhile the squad leader from the other post comes running up and starts screaming at us. I guess he didn’t think the car was a threat – even though it was driving right for their position. As he was screaming at us, another Marine ran up and opened the door to clear the car. He yanked out the driver with one hand and started searching the car. Nothing. Not even in the trunk. No weapons, detonators, rounds, wires, nothing. Not a thing.
We run over and just stand there like idiots. Staring at him. He was missing the back of his head. From the front, he looked pretty normal – like he was sleeping. We got yelled at again to go man our positions, so we ran off.
The battalion JAG officer [judge advocate general – legal officer] walks up and asks what happened. I was terrified. If he thought it was a bad shoot, we’d get charged with murder. It had happened before already. When he told him about, he just said, “don’t worry about it.” I was relieved.
Some of our highers started doing some research and found out that this guy’s brother was a cop – inside the station where they were having the meeting – while meanwhile we’re outside killing his brother. I have no idea what they told him, but I imagine they gave him some money. I think they get $800 for dead relatives. I guess they gave some to his family, too.
Most of our incidents were like this – at least the ones at vehicle checkpoints. People just don’t stop – for some reason. They think they can just drive through. Like checkpoints only apply to bad guys. I have no idea. But it always left us in a tough situation. We had to choose – don’t shoot and hope they weren’t going to kill us, or shoot and hope they were really enemy. But most of the time, they weren’t. They were just stupid. Now they’re dead, and we’re left thinking about it for the rest of our lives. This guy was killed by my bullets. And he wasn’t a bad guy at all.
Copyright © 2009, Ben Shaw
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