A Member of the Unit that Carried Out the Mission Documented in Wilkleaks "Collateral Murder" Video Has Written an Account of it
By Ehan McCord
The smell was unlike anything I've smelled before, a mixture of feces, urine, blood, smoke, and something else indescribable.
That day started out much like many days in Iraq. We were woken up about 2:30 am to prepare for a mission, one of many that seemed pointless. Our Battalion commander called them “Ranger dominance”, but many of the soldiers such as myself dubbed them “Ranger dumbass”. These missions consisted of two companies walking through new Baghdad unprotected from snipers and IEDs. We dreaded them and despised our battalion commander because of them.
That morning we gathered up at the gate of FOB Rustamiyah preparing for our “death march” into town. It was now about 0400 hours when we heard the sirens for incoming. BOOM first one not very far from where we were gathered. BOOM this one a little closer. We were used to this by now, and although afraid inside, we knew that if we ran for cover we'd look like cowards in the eyes of some of our NCOs. So the majority of us just stood there, praying that a mortar wouldn’t land on us. The bravado of trying to look “hard” was what we lived by. We were 1st infantry, the toast of the army, the favorite son. We are 2-16 Rangers. We prided ourselves on being tougher than anyone else! But looking into the eyes of these 18 and 19 year old kids you could see the fear, the uncertainty. Finally the mortars stopped.