10 August 2009Sangin, Afghanistan
Daily dramas unfolded, including the bangs, booms and small-arms fire that punctuated the times. At 1800, I was preparing to go to orders with 1 Platoon, A Company of 2 Rifles, when shots from a large-caliber rifle began cracking low over base. I passed by sniper, Kris Griffith, and said, “Hey Kris, why don’t you grab your rifle and go shoot that guy?” Kris replied that two other sniper teams were on it. “He’s close,” I said, and Kris answered, “About 600 meters.” Then we went our separate ways.
Orders were given and then the soldiers performed final checks on their gear and tried to fall to sleep in the sweltering evening heat. Some nights I would go to sleep using the sleeping bag as a pillow, only to wake up with it drenched in sweat.
The alarm was set for 0213 hours, but at 0211 I sat up and turned it off before it could wake the soldiers who were not going on the mission. I had nineteen minutes to pull on my boots, body armor, and small rucksack, before I had to get to breakfast, engage in final conversations, and then show up for the mission at 0310.
Michael Yon reporting from Afghanistan
Thousands of miles from home young men and women are risking their lives in Afghanistan and Iraq. We’ve become so involved in the fight at home that we have all but forgotten that we are still fighting two wars. Please take a moment to remember our brave soldiers and support Michael Yon who brings us their story at great personal expense.