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May 24, 2005

Prayers in action

From FreeRepublic:

Hello all;

The date is 22 MAY 05, and I find myself needing to write again. Before I start, I want to say that I am completely overwhelmed with emotions. A brief history if you will bear with me. Approximately 3 weeks ago, I was contacted by my mother regarding a friend of a friend with whom she had been sending my letters for entertainment purposes I am sure…grin

Anyway, I received an e-mail from some guy whom I had never met named “Swordmaker” asking me if he could print my letters on an online newspaper. I thought it a funny at first, but two days later, I was sent a link, and surprise, there it was. This has been an awesome journey for me. When I first read some of the responses from “Freepers”, I got choked up, and misty eyed (seriously). I couldn’t believe the support that you all have shown. I cannot tell you how this has made me feel. I have shown some of the posts to my soldiers, and they are so full of pride for our Country right now. I appreciate all of your prayers as they are needed and well received. I write this as a precursor to this…..

On Friday, 20 May 2005 at about 2300 hrs, we were heading to the Wolf Brigade Compound to meet with them. There had been several IED’s (Improvised Explosive Devices) on one of the main routes that evening, so we (my three trucks) took another, less traveled, rural and small road in the outskirts of outer Baghdad. About four miles into it, I was watching the tail lights of my Commanders vehicle as we were driving blacked out. All of the sudden, an explosion and my Commanders vehicle disappeared in a large cloud of dirt and smoke. I immediately attempted to gain communication with him and his crew and could not see anything ahead of me. After several attempts, he came over the radio and stated that he was up and everyone was alive.

At that time, my truck began to receive automatic gunfire, and my gunner started to engage the enemy. My first truck gave me their report that they were clear. Thinking that they were now ahead of us, and we were split apart, I ordered my driver to shoot through the smoke. He looked at me and said “Sergeant, I can’t see anything”. I told him to act as if it were a NASCAR crash and shoot the smoke. He replied with “roger that” Let me tell you about a bat out of hell. He punched it and off we went. When we got about 400 meters down the road, I saw a vehicles tail lights, and knew that we had caught up with the other two vehicles. As we approached, I only was able so see one set.

After establishing that it was my lead truck, I got a sick feeling in my stomach. I then called to my Commander, and asked where he was. He told me that they were able to pull out of the ditch and head out in the direction from which we came, but now the vehicle could not move and they were in the middle of this road and unprotected.

I immediately turned both trucks around and once again headed into the danger area hoping that there was not a secondary IED. When we arrived at the initial blast site, the visibility was still zero, and we once again flew through the kill zone only hitting a pothole jostle. A few seconds later we arrived at the other truck which was completely destroyed and was amazed that they were able to drive it at all. A quick reaction force was assembled from another unit who was in the area to assist us, and provide an escort back to the Forward Operation Base (FOB Falcon). After taking everyone to the Medical Center for minor treatment, our day was finished.

The following day, we continued mission as usual and took the same road to see the blast site and look for evidence for our Intelligence Section. Here is where your prayers took over for me. When we arrived at the blast site, my mouth dropped. “The pothole” which we ran over at 60 mph was 17ft in diameter, and 8ft deep. The bomb squad had stated that it was a 500lb Russian bomb which was used. The crater was in 1/3 of the road, and right in the path which we were driving.

When we drove over it, I found out later that my Commanders vehicle was in that hole, and we should by all rights have driven into the side of them at 60mph plus. The second time back in that direction, the same path was used (middle of the road) and 2 times we missed the crater driving blind through the smoke and dust. The blast itself took out the entire front end of the vehicle. If the bomber had only waited a fraction of a second later, the explosion would have been center mass.

I also found out that just prior to the incident, the gunner had just lowered his upper body back down inside of the vehicle to ask a question, thus saving his life from both the explosion and shrapnel. After driving around for three weeks in old style HUMVEE’s which only have armor additions placed on the doors, we were given three brand new complete up armored HUMVEE’s that morning.

If there ever were any of my soldiers who did not believe in prayers or miracles…. They do now.

So my new friends, this is not a letter home as my family has not heard yet. This is a thank you from the bottom of my heart for all of your support and all of your thoughts and prayers. I do have to say, if the Insurgents are right and WE are the infidels then Allah must have had blinked or fell asleep, cause he sure did miss this one.

God bless G.W. and you. Thank you for everything,

Greg (jmpmstr4u2)

Posted by Danny Carlton at May 24, 2005 08:24 AM

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I was doing some research and found my letter on your site. Thank you for helping me spread the word, and the power of prayer.

SFC Parkinson
U.S. Army

Posted by: SFC Greg Parkinson at February 24, 2006 11:26 AM

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