I wrote this around a year after the war so I wouldnt forget the details. I ment to write many more but never had the time.
Our company worked in front of 1st Marine Tanks on the elbow of the Kuwait front lines for about 8 months. We acted as a forward recon unit for the division, hence the nickname "Tip of the Spear." During the second day of the war (the actual advance into Kuwait), our company had advanced about 10 kilometers in front of the 1st marine tanks, since we had experienced a limited engagement of tanks. Typically, we like to take much closer to the tanks but resistance was light.
As we advanced, we came across miles of pipes about 2 feet above the ground. We could not continue while on line, so we were forced into a column. Try to imagine a column made up of 80 vehicles with no “friendly” to our front. We continued to receive small arms fire regularly and occasional mortar fire. This made us all trigger-happy.
The CO said that since we were moving as a column we needed to watch our line of fire and to NOT fire at any civilian vehicles that had a red flag or rag attached to either the vehicle or their person. The rag or flag meant they were part of the Kuwaiti resisitance.
Ok now the story.... There was a LAV mortar vehicle about 50 yards in front of us. We followed in a LAV (has a 25 turret) behind them. The mortar guys had been in the rear most the war and had little to no direct conflict training. These mortar guys were all popped up looking around with guns in hand and to be honest this scared me more than knowing there were Iraq’s out there. At least, I knew what the Iraq’s would do. They looked pathetic, like a bunch of boys out hunting for geese out the back of a pickup, but nervous as hell.
When the column stopped, they were on the other side of a road that rose about 3 feet between us. Then we noticed a little Toyota coupe driving down the road in our direction. The car was headed right between us and traveling about 40 MP/h. We broke out the eye glasses and confirmed it was a friendly (Red flag) vehicle and relaxed. We notified the company that the vehicle was friendly. We had thought that our problems were over at this point. Then we noticed that, at 100 yards away, the mortar guy started to panic. Well, we were on different freqs. We couldn’t tell them anything and they begin to fire w/ m16's and m2o3's as they approached. The problem is that they continued to fire as the Toyota passed in front of out LAV and they shot the hell out of our vehicle, which took out our radio antenna. A m203 shell was also dropped next to our vehicle, which scared the shit out of everyone.
At that point the column began to move and we drove up next to the mortars guys yelling at them. They acted like they saved our lives as the Toyota skidded of the road and crashed. The Toyota didn't crash because they killed the poor bastard, but because they scared the living shit out of him. Poor guy probably thought we were all some stupid crazy Americans! (And he was right!) He was like, “Finally! Americans - we are saved!”, then he's receiving fire from 6 - 18 year-old wanna-be 0311 (grunts).
Anyway, I have many accounts involving friendly fire and the root cause was always fear on top of stupidity. Sometimes people need a good kick in the ass when the firing starts or they can end up killing everyone. Lesson of this story: keep rear support at the REAR where they belong and watch those around you that wear there fear on their sleeve.
Recount your experience in the war and swap some stories.
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