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Greg Ordmandy, Deployed August 2006 - November 2007, Kirkuk Province, Iraq

00:00 / 05:19

“2006 is when we deployed to Iraq. So, we were in the Hawijah - Riyadh area. So that was FOB McHenry, kind of like southern Kirkuk province. But yeah, so that was kind of my deployment time was ‘06 – ‘07 about 15 months. It’s supposed to be a nine-month deployment and the Army's great at this, they are like “Oh, it’s going to be a nine-month deployment”, got pushed into 11 months, got pushed out to 15 months.  Yeah, so it was a lengthy deployment. So, did a lot of like route clearance, which is a pseudonym - for some units I think they had, I've heard stories of having like, legitimate - we had them too. We call them “T. Rex” is probably another name for them. They're just like these mine clearing vehicles, but we really didn't have many of them. They were often dead-lined, I think intentionally because nobody wanted to drive them. You know, one or two times pretty sure a GI just kind of reached under there and grabbed whatever wires you can find. So, really route clearance for us was drive around and try to spot the IED before it blows you up, right? But they're often buried and things like that, so good luck. So, we did a lot of route clearance. You know, I wish I could say I could remember all the details of that day, like what was the mission exactly. I believe it was we were going out to meet with like AI/IP, the Iraqi army, Iraqi police, right, we are going out there meeting with some of their commanders, not me, because I'm just a grunt. So, I'm a gunner in the convoy and in the Platoon Sergeant’s vehicle; so, the last vehicle. So, we roll into the city, they're doing their meet and greet. So, they're going in there, doing… meet with whoever they're meeting with. We had gotten some intel that there is a suspected VBIED in the area. But anybody who's been out there and has gotten that intel knows that it's generally not very helpful, because the descriptions that they give, match pretty much every vehicle you're going to see. So as if you weren't already kind of hyper aware, going into that situation. Now, you're told that there's expected VBIED, like you're on it, you know. So, we had a vehicle that was rolling up, and it wasn't stopping, you know, we gave him the command multiple times, still don't really know why it's not like you get an explanation on these things, right. But the vehicle didn't stop, we engaged. So that happens, now it's chaos, right. [and] again, you start to get the kind of hair standing up on the back of your neck, because now all the people are coming out, you know, and you're kind of scanning rooftops to see if there's enemy combatants coming out right now, because that will be a good opportunity for them to do so. Plus, now everyone's kind of in a little bit of an uproar. Right, so we get the word to roll out of there. They've wrapped up whatever they're doing. Above my paygrade. I'm just a gunner. Right. So, we are rolling out of that area. So, convoy gets on the move. [and] Yeah, we got hit with a blast. Rear a vehicle gets, you know, boom. I didn’t even really…I remember like…so my vision was gone. But more so because it was like, just like, debris and smoke and whatever my nose filled, like totally filled up with this, like smell of like burn, right? Like something burning. And I remember thinking distinctly like this was it, right? That's it. But it was weird, because it had that shot of adrenaline like that cold like rush feeling through your whole body. At the same time, I had this total sense of calm, like it was just, there was nothing to be done. You know, what I mean? That was it, you're at the mercy of whatever it was, you knew that whatever you hit that was the one you know, I mean, you were done. [and] Then next thing I knew my platoon sergeant had his hand on my IBA and was like you know, shaking me, “You good? You good?” [and] Then I kind of looked at him and I was dazed like “What the hell's going on?'' kind of thing. [and] I give him the thumbs up. Then I stood up and there were all these cars that were way back behind us on the road and I'm flicking all them off to now my adrenaline was just pumping and I'm assuming somebody is there because we were the last vehicle. So, this was a remote detonation, right? It wasn’t a pressure plate or anything like that. So yeah, it was a good-sized blast, man. Totally dead-lined the vehicles, the vehicles inoperable. But again, little details like how do we get back to base? I don't know. I have no idea how I got back to base. I remember being back at the aid station, getting checked out. I don't really remember what that consisted of, you know, I know I went into the aid station. I remember, one of our guys, Nursement, he ran up and gave me a big hug, you know, when I first got back to the platoon area. So, that's probably the first time he has seen me since. He told me. You know, I think it was - I think he had seen the blast and just assumed everybody in the vehicle was done, you know. But yeah, that was that was the day.”