posted on Jul, 7 2012 @ 12:40 AM
Just to the northeast of the city of Fallujah in the Al Anbar Province of Iraq lies the little town known as Karma. Karma is an eerie and strange
place. The name alone gives you the creeps once you see it. It is a smaller city with one main road running through and one main road connecting to a
T intersection in the center of town. Upon entering Karma from the south you must first cross a bridge that may be mined. The people in Karma are
Sadaam loyalists and were loyal to the Insurgency in Iraq, in 2004.
One night, just before Operation Phantom Fury was to be executed, our platoon was ordered to go to the compound in Karma and relieve an Army unit that
was holding that position. We were a four vehicle platoon; 28 personnel in all. When we arrived at the compound we realized we had been sent to hold a
position that an entire company of 160+ Army Soldiers had been holding. Less than thirty Marines were to cover what 160+ Soldiers had. This really was
nothing new to us, as we are Marines, and we are up for any challenge. We were in a dangerous position at the time though. If the enemy knew the
extent of our operations we could have been easily overrun. Our position was precarious at best.
We also were given six prisoners upon our arrival. They were not going to be sent to Abu Gruaib prison but we could not let them leave until we were
reinforced in the morning. There was just enough of us to effectively cover the compound that night. Everyone stood watch all night, even the platoon
commander. By the time the sun rose over the horizon we were tired. Not a single one of us had slept in over 36 hours. Soon after the sun came up our
relief arrived and they ordered us to go just northeast of the town to a palm grove to get some sleep and relax.
We made our way to the palm grove safely and found a beautiful place to park our vehicles and relax. I always noticed the beauty of that place even
due to our reasons for being there. It was hard to imagine, such beauty right in front of our eyes all day long. I had been asleep for about two hours
when I awoke to the sound of kids laughing. Some of my fellow Marines had joined into a soccer game with some local kids and the day was as pleasant
as ever. Just the relaxation we really needed.
Out of nowhere we heard three distinct thumps. They were the thumps of the enemy mortars. Then, one, two three, they came crashing down with precision
landing as close as twenty yards to our position. They were small mortars but they could have done some damage if we stayed put. We received orders to
go back to the compound and link up with another platoon from our company. There we would return to conclude our reconnaissance mission for Operation
As we pulled out in a hurry, my vehicle was third in line out of the four. We made our way back the way we came, and towards the T intersection in the
middle of town. As we approached the Intersection a white civilian truck barreled onto the road causing the convoy to slow as it took the turn.
That’s when the explosions went off. There must have been three, maybe four separate detonations and one of our vehicles was hit bad and was on
fire. Another had blown some tires but nothing more. My team leader who was on the radio grabbed me and told me to smoke the white truck when we
passed it. It had pulled right out in front to slow us down and was yelling at us the famous Allah Akbar, that suicidal jihadists yell.
As we passed the truck I opened up with my automatic rifle. I turned that truck into Swiss cheese just as I was told. As we drove away I saw the
driver’s side door open and a man fall out covered in blood. There was no movement from the passenger side of the truck. Just a man who’s head was
slumped down and motionless. Still, years later I can remember it clear as day. Those two lives were taken by me. I still struggle with the what ifs
of that situation.
As we rounded the corner and gunned it for the compound I saw the aftermath of the vehicle that was hit lying in the street. Burning packs and fuel
cans, and oil cans covered the road. There was also the destroyed weapon of one of the Marines from the vehicle hit. As we rounded the corner and
pushed away from the kill zone a few brave insurgents tried to get off some shots on us. I laid down suppressive fire with my automatic rifle and
eliminated those men as well.
When we linked up with our other platoon the Corpsmen were standing by, ready to treat the wounded. We continued to receive sporadic fire from north
of our position. As it turns out; the vehicle commander of the vehicle hit, had saved the entire vehicle crew during that chaotic ride back. When his
vehicle was hit he was wounded but he was still able to control the fires with his extinguishers until we reached the other platoon. He no doubt saved
the lives of every Marine in that vehicle.
Two Marines were evacuated with concussions and minor shrapnel wounds, but they both returned to duty within a week. This was just one more incident
where someone was watching over us and guided us safely through Hell that day. I also have to give credit to the cohesiveness of our unit. When this
happened we had been through quite a bit already and it showed in how we handled the situation.
To me this day will stay fresh in my mind until the day I die. It is as clear to me as if it happened yesterday. I know I took at least three lives
that day, and I often wonder how that may affect me. They were not the only lives I took in combat, but for some reason they seem to stick with me
more than others. When I have a bad day I wonder if it is Karma paying me back for taking her souls from her streets.
We lost a good man and a good Marine in Karma. Those of us that knew him will remember him as he truly was; a joker and someone who drove the staff
NCOs nuts with his antics. He was a hard Marine, and he went down with a fight from hell and he will never be forgotten by those who knew him.
In the end, Karma became known as the cursed town. You could not pass through there without some sort of action. For us, Karma was a place where
people got hurt and where Americans were not welcome. Never can I remember meeting a happy face while in Karma. Even the kids threw rocks at us and
told us we were infidels. Either way, Karma was a bad place, and I pray every day that my Karma will be repaid. All I can do is live a good life and
remember places like Karma, and how they still haunt me, and affect me.