Jake’s OIF War Journal 18: A Moment for the Fallen

Fortunately, this post was long before Groundhog Day Syndrome had settled in, but it was a sad couple of days nevertheless. With everything becoming more and more static at Baghdad International Airport, 3rd Aviation Brigade stopped and had a proper memorial for its fallen. We began looking  at what was around us in the massive complex of palaces that later would be known to the world as the Victory Base Complex. I got a first look at a building I’d spend a lot of time in the second time I went to Iraq. Read on …

14 April 03

Life continues its dull pace, but there have been notable events since I last wrote. On Saturday, a memorial was held for the men who died on the Blackhawk two weeks ago. They set up the proper display, a picture, boots, a rifle, and a flight helmet, for each one, and words of remembrance were said for all. It was a sad event. All six I had known, some better than others, but I’ll never know any of them any better. With the sun going down outside the hangar, we all said our goodbyes.

Soldiers from the 3rd Aviation Brigade pay their respects to six of their own who were killed in a Blackhawk crash south of the outside of Karbala. The memorial ceremony was held in the big hangar at Baghdad International Airport. I couldn't use a flash, so this was the best shot I got.

Soldiers from the 3rd Aviation Brigade pay their respects to six of their own who were killed in a Blackhawk crash south of the outside of Karbala. The memorial ceremony was held in the big hangar at Baghdad International Airport. I couldn’t use a flash, so this was the best shot I got.

Yesterday, Dan and I toured one of Saddam’s palaces* with MAJ Wince and some other 4th BDE [Brigade] officers. It was amazing, especially when one considers it’s one of more than a handful. Flowers everywhere. Marble everywhere. GOLD everywhere. The man had entirely too much money. One room was destroyed by our bombs. It tore through the roof and two floors before detonating on the ground floor, turning everything to twisted steel, shattered marble, and black ash.

Seeing the way he lived, when his people were in such poverty, makes me even gladder we’re doing what we’re doing. These people need us, and we let them down 12 years ago. Now it’s time to even out the ledger.

To Be Continued …

* It turns out that the palace was Al Faw Palace, better known to most later as the headquarters of Multinational Corps-Iraq, the ground combat command for the ongoing war. When I went for my second tour from ’06-’08, we were attached to III Corps, which acted as MNC-I during the surge, and I spent a lot of time in that palace, which was massively cleaned up by then.

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About Jake Boyer

Hi, I’m Jake. Here are some descriptors that apply to me: writer, photographer, soldier, husband, son, brother, sergeant first class, geek, father, runner, reader, Hawkeye fan, lover of LOST, fan of Elmore Leonard, Sports Illustrated subscriber. I like a lot of things and want to start writing about them again. I used to blog a lot, but now I do all my writing for the Department of Defense, either at my day job with the Defense Logistics Agency, where I edit Loglines, or when I moonlight as a sergeant first class with the Army Reserve’s 200th Military Police Command. I hope you like what I’m trying to crank out here! You can follow me at Twitter through my handle @jakeboyer.
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