For a few weeks in 2004, I was in the thick of the heavist combat I saw during my year with the AP in Iraq, while covering the Battle of Najaf. This came long before iPhones and Instagram, and before most of what we call social media ever existed.
I had been thinking about chronicling my Najaf coverage through my Instagram account this year, but I see that I am already a couple of days behind my arrival date. Maybe I will set up an account to Instagram my whole year at the war on the tenth anniversaries next year.
U.S. Army soldiers relax around a space heater with a bottle of sparkling fruit juice after a traditional dinner Thanksgiving dinner was delivered to their outpost in Mosul, Iraq Thursday, Nov. 25, 2004. I was covering the war in Iraq for the Associated Press at the time.
I sent this post to friends and family on a private online bulletin board while reporting from Iraq for the Associated Press in 2004. It has been edited only for spelling and one line of redundancy. I deleted first names and hometowns for reasons explained within.
Posted by jim (184.108.40.206) on November 06, 2004 at 00:48:53:
I had been at Combat Outpost, the U.S. Marine base in Ramadi for about a week with Golf Company already when I got up for a mission just before dawn a few on Oct. 31.
They had their vehicles, several Humvees and a 7-ton truck parked in a bay just outside of a room where I slept with members of the Quick Reaction Force, headquarters company, and a few Navy Corpsmen, among others.
Everyday, I would wake up and suit up for the mission with my photo gear and body armor, and look for a vehicle with a free seat. This day it was a “high back,” also called a “ten man,” which is a Humvee with two benches in the back, both facing in. I’ve also heard it called a “Hillbilly Humvee,” and you get the effect when you see it full.
At the last minute before the convoy pulled out, our whole crew was switched to another Humvee, more forward in the convoy for some unexplained reason. It wound up making no difference, except that I always feel at greater IED risk forward in the convoy although countless theories abound about which place is safest. Continue reading