Afghanistan was therapy for Iraq

On yet another convoy, Anbar Province, Iraq, Fall 2005

On yet another convoy, Anbar Province, Iraq, Fall 2005

This was published today on BreachBangClear.


“When I came home from Iraq, my father asked me if I had been in combat. I answered, ‘Yeah, I was.’ But inside, I wasn’t really sure.

Yes, I had been shot at. Sort of. My convoy escort team took sporadic small arms fire which never hit anything, not even the huge civilian-driven 18-wheeler trucks we were protecting. Once someone hiding between cars on the side of a road fired a blast of birdshot into the windshield of one truck; nobody was hurt, and I didn’t even know about it until we arrived at our destination. We never identified a target, never returned fire. I’m pretty sure my gunner engaged a car bomb one night, but I’ll never know for certain if the man was trying to ram us or was just a stupid driver.

My team had IEDs go off a ways in front of us, and a short distance away on the side of the road beside us. Once a convoy on the other side of the highway from us took an IED strike. On another night a truck from another convoy was blown up about 25 meters behind my Humvee. Rocks were blown all over my vehicle, but there was no shrapnel, no damage, no casualties. On a later mission my team passed another convoy team headed the opposite direction. Less than three minutes after we passed them, they screamed on the radio that they were in contact. I was riding gunner that mission, and had been ready and eager to finally return fire. But once again, it hadn’t happened. I ducked into the Humvee and yelled in frustration, ‘What the F**K? We were just there, nobody shot at us!’”

Read the rest at

13 Responses to “Afghanistan was therapy for Iraq”

  1. 1 Vendetta

    Good read. Been reading The Outpost lately, that too shattered any illusions I once had about Iraq and Afghanistan being the same kind of combat. The Iraqis are no warrior people, the Pashtun sure as hell are. Iraqis might have turned into artists with the IED, but the Taliban would eat them alive in small unit combat.

    After all the accounts I read of Iraq, I wonder “God damn, is there not one Arab who can shoot straight?” (Unless, of course, you talk about Hezbollah, who are very, very good). I read accounts from Afghanistan and I keep on thinking, “Holy shit, we’re lucky we have all that air support. These ambushes would turn into wholesale wipeouts otherwise.”

    • When I was training for Afghanistan, our instructors at Ft Lewis kept saying “When you’re in Iraq, you have to do [etc etc].” We’d say, “But we’re going to Afghanistan”, and they’d respond, “Oh, it’s the same thing.” No, it wasn’t. They were two completely different wars.

      I also read The Outpost, and two things stood out about it. One, the Taliban are real warriors. Second, some of our leadership made such pathetically stupid decisions, they practically assisted the Taliban’s attack on COP Keating.

      Thanks Vendetta, always good to read your comments.

  2. I have had much the same experience. I can relate.

    People don’t understand, so I just don’t mention it. But I will wake up every single day, for the rest of my life, and miss it.

    Not that I want to go back and do it again, but I will miss the men I served with and the experiences we shared.

    • Mac,

      I hear you. But sometimes I do want to go back and do it again. 🙂

      I won’t, and looking back I sometimes wonder what the hell I was thinking. But I miss it almost enough to go back.

      • 5 S. Cameron

        Just found your site and I really appreciate your candor with regard to your experiences.

        The reason I am replying to theabove comment is that I felt (and still feel) the same way. As a 49 yr old retired USAF guy, I went to Afghanistan in 2012 as I had retired (2004) before things got hairy. I always felt that I “owed” Uncle Sam one real deployment…so I went.

        Spent 6 months in RC-East in 2012…issued weapons, the whole enchilada. IDF was the extent of my “combat experience”. Traveled around a good bit and there were some times that I questioned what the f$%^ I was doing there…but I miss it. I would go back if I could. Is that weird?

        • s,

          I’d say it would be weird for you to not miss it. We never feel more necessary than we do at war. I miss that feeling too.

          Thanks for commenting, and for your service.

  3. 7 reserve corporal

    As good as always Chris,
    for the curious here a link to the battle of Alasai
    unfortunatly i wasn t able to find a link with english subtitles but if you guys want to know what s happening at one point just give me the time mark.

  4. 13 Dennis

    Chris, I just stumbled on your material and have been reading some old articles. I really enjoy them. I had a very similar experience in Iraq, and then left the military. I never got the Afghanistan experience you describe. I wish I had. Thanks for sharing.

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