Wednesday, December 12, 2007

And So It Begins

Not us. We’re not going.’

Soldiers in 2nd Platoon, Charlie 1-26 stage a ‘mutiny’ that pulls the unit apart
Stories by KELLY KENNEDY - Staff writer
Posted : Saturday Dec 8, 2007 14:32:57 EST

Spc. Gerry DeNardi stood at the on-base Burger King, just a few miles from downtown Baghdad, hoping for a quick taste of home.


Just two weeks earlier, the 20-year-old DeNardi had lost five good friends, killed together as they rode in a Bradley Fighting Vehicle that rolled over a powerful roadside bomb.

As DeNardi walked up the three wood steps to the outdoor stand to pick up his burger, the siren wailed.

Wah! Wah! Wah! “Incoming! Incoming! Incoming!”

The alarms went off all the time — often after the mortar round or rocket had struck nothing but sand, miles from anything important. Many soldiers and others at Taji had taken to ignoring the warnings. DeNardi glanced around at the picnic tables to make sure everyone was still eating. They were. The foreign nationals who worked the fast-food stands hadn’t left; so he went back to get the burger he had paid for

The mortar round hit before he could pick up his order.

“I turned around and all of Burger King and me went flying,” DeNardi said.

He’d lived through daily explosions in 11 months with Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 26th Infantry Regiment, at nearby Combat Outpost Apache, a no-frills fortress smack in the middle of Adhamiya’s hostile streets. He had rushed through flames to try to save friends and carried others to the aide station only to watch them die.

“Lightning doesn’t strike twice,” DeNardi said, “so I went back. But there were body parts everywhere.” The first man’s leg had been blown off, his other leg was barely attached and he had a chest wound. “He was going to die,” DeNardi said.

The other wounded man had shrapnel to his neck. DeNardi peeled off his own shirt and fashioned a bandage out of it as other soldiers started streaming in to help.

Then, “all clear” sounded over the loudspeakers as medics arrived and took over.

After these and other bloody attacks, killing this platoons soldiers, the remaining members got together and said no more. They told their commanders that their rage was so great that they feared committing a massacre if they went on patrol in Adhamiya, an especially violent place in Iraq. Some might say you can't have soldiers doing mutiny in a war zone. As a veteran myself, that was my first impulse. I despise the war in Iraq and have since the beginning, but it's normally bad business to refuse orders. However, after reading this article, I have to a large degree, changed my mind. This whole event is reminiscent of the latter days of Vietnam when entire units refused orders to patrol the country side. And as we know, MyLai happened. Please read this important article and mark of more to come in Iraq.

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