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This blog exists only as an archive. It is a journal that serves as a window into my life as a Marine combat veteran serving in Iraq and Afghanistan; it was written with no filter, no politics and no agenda. Please feel free to follow my journey from beginning to end. Welcome to my life.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Incoming- Again

Stood some more post today, imagine that. We took mortar fire again, imagine THAT one. Except today they managed to land three rounds inside Viking. Myself and Piram about peed our pants as they were coming down, they were landing about 65 m from our post but you could still feel the concussion. Two funny stories came from this episode-

1) my buddy Muir had just pulled the chair he was sitting on further inside the Hesco barrier, kicked up his feet, and leaned back to moniter the radio. About 8 seconds later he actually saw the mortar round come down through the air and impact the ground through the gap in the barrier. The blast knocked him off his chair, he did a quick once over- arms, check. legs, check, kidneys, check. family jewels, check. family jewels double check, check.

2) My other buddy Payne was on post as well. This is Brent "Danger" Payne's 3rd tour in Iraq. He has never been wounded. He has recently been considering reenlisting while he is here for another 4 years, it's a decision he's really been struggling with. While we were on post he got called to the COC to discuss his reenlistment package. Before he left he said something to the effect of, "I wish I'd just get a sign from God". On his way back from the COC he was caught in a mortar storm, and probably would have taken shrapnel had he not had a Amphib Track between himself and the impact. Roberts, who he was standing post with, saw him almost get hit as he was walking back, and was calling over the radio hysterically laughing "Payne almost shit himself!!! Payne just shit himself! HAHA" What a good friend.

Four people did end up getting hit in the blast, none of them too serious. One got choppered out because he had shrapnel near some arteries, but he is going to be just fine.

However, once again, the mortar attack got me thinking about these people again. This time, as I was realizing yet again that people are actually actively trying to kill me, I tried to imagine what they look like. Hopefully they're nothing but stains on the sand after we launched counter-fire at them, but I'm talking about what they actually look like. Seriously, there are people out here that for whatever reason, would do anything to kill me, what's this dude/dudes look like?

I asked Piram, who I was standing with, he said he never really thought about it, but after I asked him he said he guessed he pictured a guy in a man dress, wearing sandals, with an AK47. Me? I picture the average Iraqi male, about 20 years old, wearing a cheap, knock off track suit. Probably has a mustache, average height, average build. Does it matter? Well, aside from it helping us find him, not really. But it's really hard to wrap your mind around the thought that someone is trying to take your life, and most of the time you simply refer to them as insurgents, maybe terrorists, maybe you call them the Mujj or al Qaeda, but they never have a face. It's as if they have a blank spot where their face should be, because surely no one wants to kill ME. But they do, and that person has a face, he has a name, he has a history, maybe he has a family. He probably has daddy issues from his younger years. I don't know, but he's real, and hopefully today our counter fire killed him.


  1. I guess Payne got his sign. Wilson

  2. Thanks for an inside look as to what your days and nights are like.You have a fantastic writing style and we look forward to reading more. Be safe.

  3. Jacob-

    I heard about your blog from one of the blogs I read, so I bookmarked it and I check back in a couple of tiems a week. I've read alot of your posts and I enjoy the inside look of what it is like being a US Marine in Iraq. Well your friend Joe really did well in the draft, and probably cost brady Quinn a few million. That is ok, I'm sure Quinn will be letting him know about that. I want you to know that many Americans appreciate the sacrifices that you and your brothers are making. And thanks for sharing your day to day life on this blog. I hate spiders too, I was horrified to see that camel spider, and I must be 10,000 miles away (in boston).


    Hey man, just wanted to drop a line, say thanks for serving, thanks for fighting bad guys, and thanks for everything-perhaps most of all for the blog! They say the pen is mightier than the sword, but in the 21st century, the blog may be the tool that has more of a strategic impact than a single rifle (not that the rifle isn't damn useful!). Seriously, the truth you tell, in your own words and opinions, is incredibly important. Please keep it up, and more importantly, take care!

    All the best & thank you again,
    Scott Malensek

  5. Jake,
    We appreciate your blog as it helps us keep up with what you all are doing over there when we can't talk to our son. He is in Golf 2/7 first platoon, and his buddy, Cartwright, is in your platoon. We pray for you guys every day and know that you all have had some extremely tough times. We are so very proud of you. Remember to always trust in the Lord for your every need.
    God bless!
    C. Eager

  6. Today's Wisconsin State Journal ran a great article on you and your life in Irag. You're a brave young man and I admire your courage. Thanks.

  7. lI will continue to read your story as maybe I will hear the REAL story on the war. God Bless and stay safe. A mom in Wisc.

  8. Jake,YOU are truly an American hero, anyone who willingly do what you & your fellow soldiers are doing is what is required in this world. You understand the concepts, values & etc that our founding fathers relied upon to form the greatest country the world has ever seen. As you know very well, there always seemsd to be sick people that want to destroy this country. They would do it if it were not for people like you that are willing to put their life on the line to defend this country. It really upsets me when the liberals try to totally change our country to there sick ideas. I tell them to go to Iran or N. Korea & says things about that country like they say about the USA if they think it is so bad here. I have not found one of them to take me up on it naturally.

    I went to the UW in the 60's just before the crazies on the far left started in. We have in Madison ever since. I have always been a big badger fan. Again, YOU are the a true HERO. May our loving GOD bless you your fellow soldieers.

    Al Anding
    P. S. This is the first time I have done this as you might guess.

  9. Hey there Jake,

    My sis, the Texans Chick, pointed me your way. Working on some bone marrow drive stuff over here in the Alamo City, but when we are done, my seven year old and I would love to send a care package your way. Any requests?

    I've got a few good friends in Bagdad (army), and we've sent gs cookies, calling cards, Spurs t-shirt. Let us know and it's yours. If I can't get it, I have a bunch of readers who can.

    Be well. I dig your style.

    Deb & Zoe www.teamzoe.net

  10. Jake,

    Thank you for your service. Keep up the postings. Your family and friends appreciate them more than you know. Our son did 2 tours in Kandahar and 1 in Kirkuk and there was never a day that went by while he was in harms way that we didn't think about him and pray for his safe return. BTW, FWIW, you've got a start on great book. Title? "Jake's Life", of course

  11. Hi Jake,

    You made it into the Seattle Times today:

    People in sports |

    MADISON, Wis. — Jake Wood's days as a Wisconsin offensive lineman are long behind him. He's on the front lines as a lance corporal in the U.S. Marines near Fallujah, dealing with sniper fire and searching for buried explosive devices.

    The 24-year-old Wood is in charge of a squad of 12 men in Fallujah — a hotbed of Sunni resistance about 40 miles west of Baghdad. Shortly after Wood earned his degree in 2004, he joined the Marines as an infantryman. He was sent to Iraq in January for seven months and writes a blog about his experiences.

    Wood once dreamed of playing in the NFL, and his platoonmates don't hesitate to tease him about it.

    "They joke about how I'm only here because I failed [to make it] in the NFL," Wood wrote in an e-mail.

    The Associated Press

    Copyright © 2007 The Seattle Times Company

    PS: Hope to see you in Vegas for the Badger game.

    Dan S.

  12. I just want to say that I read the very cool article about you in the Wisconsin State Journal and have now bookmarked your blog! I love it! Thank you for all that you do and be safe! I hope for a safe return for you and your troop!

  13. Jason,

    it is interesting to read your blog. i know you are not trying to make a political statement. but in my experience anything or anyone claiming to be "apolitical" is its own kind of politics: namely, the politics of letting other people do the thinking. i find this kind of attitude to be antithetical to democracy. after 9/11 a lot of people seemed to think our democracy just ran on its own, on autopilot. a lot of people wanted a daddy figure to do the thinking for them, to do the deciding for them. but that is not democracy. it has another name.

    as for the comment that people are trying to kill you, for "whatever reason," maybe i can help. it is pretty simple, actually. let's say china and venezuela (standing in for US and britain, respectively) teamed up to invade a future america that is ruled by an undemocratic government. they claim to be invading not to occupy but to liberate.

    what do you do, jake? seriously? do you collaborate with the foreigners living at your local school or police station? maybe you do, and maybe you don't. maybe you think they are invaders with no right to be there. if you do, you try to kill them and people who help them.

    i am no expert on human psychology, but this is just a rough, simple, tiny guess as to why any person of any country might, just might, want to kill foreign troops in his or her country. it is not for me to judge the motives of either you or the person you are trying to kill (and who is trying to kill you), but i think an elemental (high school level) grasp of history can help explain a lot of what occurs in politics. and wars are a kind of politics. nothing apolitical about them -- no matter how much a person might wish otherwise.

    there is the old saying, the road to hell is paved with good intentions. there is wisdom in such old sayings. i'd like to tweak this phrase to fit the iraq war: the iraqi's road to hell is paved with our good intentions.
    good intentions without clear thinking is just being sentimental.
    democracy forever.
    take care

  14. Jake, just wanted to let you know how proud I am of you and the rest of the boy's over in that rat hole. You and all of the men show the rest of the world what we are made of.You are a true AMERICAN HERO. And you also show how caring we are by adopting a young girl in that war torn country. Good Luck and God Bless you and all the rest of our hero's. Lenny Thomas