“When you're left wounded on Afganistan's plains and
the women come out to cut up what remains, Just roll to your rifle
and blow out your brains,
And go to your God like a soldier”
General Douglas MacArthur"
“We are not retreating. We are advancing in another direction.”
“It is fatal to enter any war without the will to win it.” “Old soldiers never die; they just fade away.
“The soldier, above all other people, prays for peace, for he must suffer and be the deepest wounds and scars of war.”
“May God have mercy upon my enemies, because I won't .” “The object of war is not to die for your country but to make the other bastard die for his.
“Nobody ever defended, there is only attack and attack and attack some more.
“It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died. Rather we should thank God that such men lived.
The Soldier stood and faced God
Which must always come to pass
He hoped his shoes were shining
Just as bright as his brass
"Step forward you Soldier,
How shall I deal with you?
Have you always turned the other cheek?
To My Church have you been true?"
"No, Lord, I guess I ain't
Because those of us who carry guns
Can't always be a saint."
I've had to work on Sundays
And at times my talk was tough,
And sometimes I've been violent,
Because the world is awfully rough.
But, I never took a penny
That wasn't mine to keep.
Though I worked a lot of overtime
When the bills got just too steep,
The Soldier squared his shoulders and said
And I never passed a cry for help
Though at times I shook with fear,
And sometimes, God forgive me,
I've wept unmanly tears.
I know I don't deserve a place
Among the people here.
They never wanted me around
Except to calm their fears.
If you've a place for me here,
Lord, It needn't be so grand,
I never expected or had too much,
But if you don't, I'll understand."
There was silence all around the throne
Where the saints had often trod
As the Soldier waited quietly,
For the judgment of his God.
"Step forward now, you Soldier,
You've borne your burden well.
Walk peacefully on Heaven's streets,
You've done your time in Hell."
Bur Hakaba - There are caves in this rock, it is a rock where people stay. At the foothill of this humongous rock there are scattered villages. One of the Somali trucks makes a dash for one of the villages, there are quite a number of hard standing tracks.
I give orders to stop the convoy and order the rest of the Condors to surround the village to which the Somali truck has moved to. The truck must belong to someone from the village. The below image shows the town of Bur Hakaba. It's surrounded by villages; this is the rear of that rock. It's really getting on everyone's nerves. This was stupid, to try and hijack or rather running off with a truck full of grain.
We have done long distance training back in Malaysia, with rest stops and all. This really took the cake. Tempers were frayed, everyone was in no mood for this kind of a crap. Othman ordered one Condor to pursue and recover the vehicle. The Condor took off, if all the Condors were ordered into the village, I am sure we would have run over some of the villagers and killed them, the mood we were in.
A cooler head prevailed, Othman's. The Condor charged in between thatched huts with mud walls and caught up with the truck. The turret swivelled with the guns bearing on the driver in the cabin of the truck. He pulled up. Even as he pulled up, around 30-40 villagers were running towards the truck. The quick thinking Section Commander Corporal Shukri and his section of men dismounted.
He positioned his men well and blocked the crowd from the truck. He had his men fix bayonets. The crowd was getting bigger. This was not good. The Condor seeing the new threat, swiveled it's turret toward the crowd. The Section Commander approached the driver and gestured to him, to drive back and rejoin the convoy. I was watching this scene through my binoculars. I could see that Corporal Shukri was barely suppressing his rage and anger. Thankfully the driver obeyed. A bloodbath was averted, in reference to the crowd of villagers., not for the driver.
I walked up to the Somalis, pointed at their guns with my M79 and told them to lower their weapons. Which they did. Next I kicked over a few of the barriers, there was alot of talking amongst them, soon the Somalis joined me at my location clearing the barriers. I was on top of the world. Soon the barriers were cleared, my soldiers mounted up into their vehicles, the convoy continued on it's journey to Baidoa.
The Somali Militia waved us off very respectfully. Somalis respect a show of force, if you can be taken out, they would not hesitate to do so. They saw that we were a determined lot and we meant business. They backed off. So much the better for them. I knew with the soldiers I had, I would feel sorry for the Somalis.
We started moving without anymore distractions. The day was getting dark, we were hungry, tired and angry, meaning short tempered. I was very exhausted. As it was getting dark, I advised all my boys to be ready with the night vision goggles, night vision binoculars and night vision sights for the M16's, including laser sights to be attached to the rifles for night fighting. All the food we escorted was from the USA. We risked our lives to move this grain without being hijacked by Somali gunmen.
Whenever we stopped on the way to Baidoa, we were asked whether we were from the US, this was due to the similarities of our flags which we wore as a shoulder patch. We always replied that we were from Malaysia. They would reply, "good, America bad", the irony of that was that the Americans were the ones who were the major contributors towards the well being of the Somalis. Notice bags of grain marked with the letters USA.
I instructed the vehicle commanders to keep the convoy tight as it was getting dark. Asked Othman to do radio checks to ensure that all communications were in good working order.
There was alot of static on the HF communications sytems, it was quite difficult for communications with MALBATT Headquarters, though with much difficulty we could make ourselves understood. The VHF was not a problem, they were in excellent working condition.
All vehicle commanders were ordered to test fire their weapons on the move, limited to 20 rounds on their main armament. Which they did to ensure that in the dark we were well prepared for any kind of an eventuality. Othman reported back to me that all main armaments were in good working condition. I told Lance Corporal Shamsuddin to take over in the turret of my vehicle. I took a position behind Zaid my driver, where I stationed myself, looking out behind the driver, getting the view of the driver to be exact. I started noticing the desert, it's vast expanse, desolate and very unforgiving.
I could afford to think back now as Othman was handling the situation. Wow, this was one hell of a priceless experience. Taking a journey the first time ever into the desert all on my own, meaning leading a convoy with all my charges, the responsibility I realized was not a minor one. I had 57 lives of my boys in my hands and another 50 plus Somali divers. Discovering myself, that there were guys with me who would lay down their lives fighting for me. We of diverse beliefs and ethnicity.
Wishing that Malaysia would become like that. I used to tell the Americans when they were around that we were a mini USA, flag and all.