As most of you know, I am enlisted in the Marine Corps Reserves. Which means once a month for a weekend I get the opportunity to put on my studly uniform and train so that I will be prepared for a deployment overseas. It's not the hardest job in the world and for most weekends I end up doing some pretty exciting things.
This last weekend was one of those weekends. My unit went to Redmond, Oregon where the combat engineers could take part in a training exercise to practice demolition. In other words they got to blow stuff up. I am a heavy equipment operator so I was not part of this. I, on the other hand, worked on operating and executing convoy operations with a Bradly Assuault Vehicle. A Bradly is basically a tank with a smaller cannon. I wasn't actually in a real Bradly, but it was a simulator and replicated the real thing. At first I was the gunner. I could switch between a 7.62 machine gun to a 25mm high explosive cannon. Each vehicle consisted of a driver, a gunner, and a vehicle commander. As the gunner I was able to engage in enemy terrorists and eliminate all threats. Our mission was to move our convoy from one point in the city of Baghdad, Iraq to a specific building to provide security for that building. We encountered many car bombs and roadside bombs along with many terrorists equiped with rocket launchers and AK-47s. My fellow Marines and myself made it through the city and completed the mission with precision skill and we were deemed the best group to have attempted the scenario but the civilians running the simulator.
It was definitely an exciting experience to have had the opportunity to see what its like in a combat zone. I give all my respect to the men and women overseas today.