Continued: Part 2 of 3
As soon as we landed, organized chaos commenced. As the team started clearing houses I stayed back with the Team Leader, controlling the air support. These guys worked fast! In less than sixty minutes they had thoroughly cleared multiple houses and apprehended a number of “fighting age males.” None of the detainees fit the description of the individual we were seeking. I was secretly upset that this seemed to be a pretty uneventful mission – or so I thought.
Suddenly, one of the voices coming from my headset told me there was a group of three individuals laying prone on a house rooftop three hundred meters away from us. Just as I was about to inform the Team Leader of this new development, the silence of the night was interrupted by heavy machine-gun fire. I ran and dove into a berm to take cover. Before I could say anything, the Team Leader was yelling at me, “Take those bastards out now!” My heart was pumping so fast it almost paralyzed me. Collecting my thoughts, I asked the gunship if he still had “eyes” on this machine gun position. The pilot responded ‘yes,’ so I ordered him to put steel in the ground as fast as he could. “WILCO, sixty seconds,” he replied. I quickly announced over the team frequency to expect incoming fire from the sky shortly and ordered everyone to stay put and take cover.
Those sixty seconds seemed like an hour to me. Abruptly, six rounds of the gunship’s forty-millimeter cannon ripped through the sky. I felt an incredible rush running through my body. All the training I had ever received kicked in. The aircrew began feeding me information about more individuals getting organized and regrouping within the house just struck. The Team Leader was closely listening in to the conversation.
Then I noticed a smell – similar to one I had experienced once after a night of heavy drinking. Looking down at my pants, I realized I had pissed myself. The Team Leader didn’t immediately notice, but when I made eye contact with him he was cinching his teeth and running his hand around his neck from side to side. I knew what I had to do. I quickly laid against the berm, hoping the dirt would stick to my pants and hide the gigantic wet spot in my crotch. As I looked toward the house, muzzle flashes and tracer rounds continued in our general direction. I stayed low and for the next few minutes continued to engage this house with the gunship. Then the night was quiet again.
Some of the detainees tried to flee the area. As the rest of the team began re-securing them, the Team Leader grabbed me and said, “Let’s go. We are going to the house.” He called a few more people over and we moved in that direction. I noticed that there were only four of us. We moved rapidly through a maze of alleys. A team member gazed at me with an ear-to-ear smile and said in his thick southern accent, “Heck yeah, man, that was awesome!” I gave him a small smile, hoping he did not notice the now full-of-dirt wet spot on my pants.
The engagement of the gunship had blown away the steel door protecting the house. We formed a stack on the wall next to the entrance, with me at the end of it. Under the Team Leader’s orders, we entered the house. First room – cleared. Second room, I was third on the stack – cleared. Third room, I was second on the stack – cleared. Fourth room, I was first on the stack.
 Will Comply