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The Short Form

“OIF”

Phil Klay

Excerpt

I did twenty-four missions, some with Marine 03s, some with National Guardsmen from 2/136. My last mission was to AZD. A couple of Iraqis had driven up fast on a TCP. They ignored the EOF, the dazzlers and the warning shots, and died for it. I’d been promoted to E4 so PFC was taking over consolation payments, but I went with him to give a left-seat right-seat on working off the FOB. PFC always needed his hand held. In the HMMWV it was me, PFC, PV2 Herrera and SGT Green. Up in the turret on the 240G was SPC Jaegermeir-Schmidt, AKA J-15.

There wasn’t a lot to look at on the MSR south of HB. We scanned for all the different types of IEDs AQI would throw at us. IEDs made of old 122 shells, or C4, or home-made explosives. Chlorine bombs mixed with HE. VBIEDs in burned out cars. SVBIEDs driven by lunatics. IEDs in drainage ditches or dug into the middle of the road. Some in the bodies of dead camels. Others daisy-chained together – one in the open to make you stop, another to kill you where you stand. IEDs everywhere, but most missions, nothing. Even knowing how bad the MSRs were, knowing we could die, we got bored.

PFC said, it’d be cool to get IEDed, long as no one got hurt. J-15 snapped, said that’s bad juju, that’s worse than eating the Charms in an MRE.

Temp was 121, and I remember bitching about the AC. Then the IED hit.

We read it in Granta.

Full story available online.