Monday, July 09, 2007

Perspective: Unit's Mission... Survive 4 Miles To Remember Fallen Comrade

William Crow

Everything in the Army is supposed to have a task and a purpose, and this simple mission was no different. The task was to get 27 soldiers from Point A to Point B, from their neighborhood combat outpost to an Army base four miles away. The purpose was to attend a memorial service for one of their fellow soldiers, who had died eight days earlier while attempting to make the very same trip.

And so the leaders of Alpha Company had a decision to make: drive in Humvees and risk getting blown up by a roadside bomb, which is what happened to their friend, who bled to death as they worked to save him, or try to minimize the risk of a bomb by walking the four miles in searing summer heat, which would increase the chances of being shot by a sniper...

All were thinking about June 28, when the 2nd Platoon was midway between its outpost and the main base at 6:48 a.m. and an IED exploded so loudly that it was heard at the outpost and on the base, where it rattled Cummings's door, waking him up.

Quickly, Cummings was on the phone to Taylor, who was at the outpost, listening on the radio.

"What's it look like?" Cummings would recall asking.

"Sir, it's bad," Taylor said. "I can hear screaming in the background."

Read the rest at the Washington Post