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Checkpoint 342: A Memorable Encounter

Active Military
Active Military
January 29, 2019
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Here we are again. Once upon a time at Checkpoint 342 in Ramadi, some shit went down. Some bad shit. This is what I remember from that fateful day in 2005.The Marines of "Luscious" Lima Company, 3rd Battalion 7th Marines, were escorting our local EOD team around Baseline and Sunset. Finding IED's destroying IED's, you know a typical day in Iraq's Al Anbar province, where they just loved Americans (sarcasm, they most assuredly did not like Americans). I don't remember how many IED's they had found already that day, but ask anyone familiar with Ramadi in the early parts of the war if Checkpoint 342 was a safe place to be. It was not.I'd already seen Bravo 4 (of CAAT Red Bravo) get hit with an IED in October of 2005, the same day that one of my best friends, Bedard, was killed by an IED in the same area. Checkpoint 342 was a shitty place and you were almost guaranteed to get in some shit if you went down there.No sooner had the EOD team stepped out of their humvee, that a very well hidden IED went off right underneath the gun truck. It was then that CAAT Red Bravo was called out to the scene as QRF. I was driving one of the mass casualty high back humvees.We got on scene and let me tell you this, if you think insurgents can't set up a well-coordinated ambush with accurate fire, you'd be so very very very very wrong. There is speculation that it was a group of Chechnyans who set up that ambush. You know the guys who fight with Russia all the damn time, yeah they know their shit.I got directed to make my way to the body of one of the EOD Marines, while the dismounted Marines used my humvee as moving cover and concealment. I started driving towards the body and there was this one ballsy, tall-ass Marine who was most certainly not from CAAT Red, so I figured he was from Lima (I was right), who was firing over the hood of my humvee as he walked.Another IED went off, but hit nothing, only showering debris all over the place and ensuring everyone could get a rating for tinnitus. The small arms fire continued and we continued our move towards the fallen Marine. We recovered his body and the bodies of the other Marines despite the hail of gunfire and made our way to Charlie Med.It was a really shit day in Iraq. But, that giant ballsy ass Marine became my best friend after we both got out and found ourselves living our civilian lives not more than 5 miles from each other.F***in Ramadi man...f***in Ramadi.

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