Fourth of July

So there I was on FOB Ramadi back in ’05. My partner and I are chilling in our M113 as QRF medical evac for any of our line platoons who are out chasing away unfriendlies.

A little back story: FOB Ramadi’s on one side of the Euphrates and there’s a small satellite camp on the other. FOB Ramadi’s port-o-pottys are serviced by third world nationals (or whatever they were called, don’t care to remember), and occasionally they have to go to the satellite camp. So they get an mini escort convoy since they’re going outside the wire.

One day we notice a plume of smoke rising from just off base. Not a small IED strike puff of smoke but a full plume of “something’s seriously on fire” smoke. Which is curious as we’d heard no loud booms recently to signify something got blown up. Nor were there any radio reports of an IED strike or active attack coming over the net. Quickly the OPs start coming over the radio asking if anyone can see the source of the smoke. Shortly after, our roving patrol comes over the BN net saying they’re getting calls for assistance (on their net) from the port-o-potty escort. And they start conveying details to BN as they get them.

Evidently a port-o-potty escort turret gunner thought a car got too close to them and got all “I finally get to shoot at something!” and went to warn the car off with a flare. In their excitement, the gunner aims poorly, hits the inside of the turret shield with the flare, the flare falls inside the humvee, and proceeds to catch said humvee on fire. Now does the crew stop the vehicle, exit, and use their fire extinguisher (or even the gallons of drinking water all vehicles carry) to put out the small fire? Nope, they stop, exit the vehicle….. and run away. Now the fire has engulfed the whole vehicle.

Next thing we know we hear the sirens of the FOBs US civilian fire dept and their trucks roll by all ready to link up with an escort and to put out the fire. They’re super happy cause they finally get to do something! So happy that they don’t just dawn their normal yellowish firefighter turn-outs but they put on their full on “walk though flaming jet fuel” spaceman silver suits. They are STOKED and ready to go.

But before they can roll out, we hear a *pop*….. *pop*…. *pop pop pop pop pop*. The port-o-potty protection crew ran away so fast that they left all their ammunition in the vehicle. Ammunition which is now starting to pop off in the fire. So now our fire fighters can’t go put out the fire for fear of getting shot by friendly fire.

Never did find out what happened with the fire or to those brave port-o-potty protectors cause our relief showed up and we went and got some chow.

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