DANIEL was on the radio at a FOB near Ramadi and Fallujah when the engineer unit called in a "sit rep": several men had been hit by an IED explosion. Three were dead and two expectant, meaning they wouldn't survive. The medics and Centurion tried to get a helicopter in the air but that got scratched: the military doesn't put a bird up unless someone has a chance of surviving.
Daniel hoped they died quickly; there wasn't much left of their M113 light armored tank, basically an aluminum can on a track: the largest piece was the rear ramp and the engine block, but the recovery crew didn't need the M88 to lift anything. Over 500 lbs of explosives had been set and that much could have disabled an M1 Abrams tank. At the funeral ceremony Daniel figured that counting those five, they'd lost around 20 soldiers and officers since they'd arrived in Iraq.
Col. C. of Devil 6 came for the occasion, along with the 1st Engineers LTC and higher-level people. Daniel felt pretty cynical that those folks only came when it involved death but never came to see their toughest guys in action.
He didn't write home anymore; how could he tell his family they were hurting bad, supply lines were compromised because of increased attacks, they'd lost services and supplies -- fuel, water, and food -- and convoys got hit on the highways and back routes.
Everyone was scared to bring fuel up to the FOB; they were cutting back on everything including food because there wasn't fuel to cook with. They ate MRE lunches and soon they'd be eating MRE dinners. The guys who delivered water hadn't shown up.
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