View Full Version : Somalia

06-03-03, 08:16 AM
by Captain John Connors, USMC (ret'd)

The Jinx Declaration of War specifically states that "the Jinx project has stood on the side of peace against the splenative show of force." That having been said, the realization that at some point certain tactics must change is sure to follow. When that happened, Jinx declared war on its enemies. It is precisely why I got involved with Jinx, I too hold certain beliefs and ideals above others and am willing to risk it all to see those met. I believe in peace, however if that is breached, I am a proponent of extreme retaliation.

The last issue of Jinx dealt with the supreme advancements in technology and their effect on the world, and I have seen this firsthand while deployed in military operations around the globe. Sitting in a bush somewhere communicating about mission objectives with other operational assets in CONUS (continental United States) seems real until they mention they are watching the entire situation live from a camera on a satellite. Having been a part of that, I can safely say, that no matter how advanced technology gets, a rifleman on the ground, occupying land is still the bottom line. You don't control a region until the foot soldier is actually physically present.

It is also my belief that the world's most devout peacemakers are those who stand to lose the most should a war happen. The military. I have never met a person with a stronger desire for peace than one who has faced the horrors of war. That person has seen all to be gained and lost, and because of that, has the experience which most motivates that individual to pursue peace.

JinxDATE: 1993

The sun was setting on a day that should've been like all the others. A simple patrol through the dirty streets that are Mogadishu. Mogadishu is a city that's been in turmoil for as long as anyone's been paying attention, and the early 90s were when it was in its worst condition ever. People who have been there often describe that they've "smelled death", but the smell here is something worse than death. Sure death is in the air, but there was more to it than that. It smelled of decay, it smelled of ****, it smelled of a country that was dying. No sewers, no running water, no sanitation at all compounded with the thousands that were dying in the streets created a smell that burned my senses forever. You would enjoy the smell of the 5-Ton trucks and the HMMWVs burning diesel because it would overpower the smell of the land.

The day was hot and our mission was simple, cover a specific route to ensure no funny business was taking place. This route was one often traveled by convoys of U.S. Military vehicles carrying food to relief stations. We had come to expect a certain amount of daily violence as the clans fought for control of city blocks, but usually a squad of fully loaded Marines was enough to keep the troublemakers at bay.

Every so often the local militias would get feisty and try and cause trouble. When they did, they would get spanked, quite severely. We had established early on that we were not to be ****ed with. We were Marines, damn it, and nobody ****s with Marines.

This day saw the thirteen of us head out for a short trek a couple of hours before sunset. There was no reason to expect anything out of the ordinary, Intel hadn't given us anything to worry about. This did not, however, cause us to let our guard down at all. All weapons were checked, all clips were loaded, all gear secured. It was all business, one slip would mean your life. We were more than halfway done when we started noticing the streets were uncommonly deserted for the neighborhood we were in. Our senses heightened as we realized all was not kosher. Heartbeats raced as the sweat poured down our faces. All com chatter ceased, we held our positions and disappeared into doorways and around corners. The signal was given to move out and we slowly moved out. I decided to make one more check around the corner I chose to use as cover. That's when all hell broke loose.

In the blink of an eye, dozens of Somalis had materialized in what we later learned was one of the largest attempts at a coordinated attack they would ever mount. I was staring horror in the face at that moment, and possibly death. I saw a frenzy of weapons and screams, eyes wide open, and mouths that to this day I'm sure were foaming. These "warriors" had decided to attack this recon patrol in an attempt to snatch one of us to use for info and as a bargaining chip. What they didn't bargain for was the fact that they picked the wrong unit to try and fight.

I was on the verge of being overrun as my training kicked in. I figure I was scared ****less for about 2 seconds, and after that, my mind went into survival mode. The closer they were to me, the quicker they died. I fought for my life that day. I fought, and I won. I was wounded several times and tasted the blood of my enemy, but I fought for my life, and I won. I felt a fear like no other, and an anger worse than you could ever imagine. I don't know what drove me harder; fear of dying or the anger that these bastards were trying to kill me.

Here I was, in their country because they couldn't un**** themselves long enough to feed the starving populus, and they were trying to kill me. The world had spoken and said we must help these poor dying people, and when all the chips were on the table, it seemed as though the US Marines were the only ones capable enough to complete the mission. And the world was right. The Marines did the job right.

So here I was, in the hot smelly dirt, facing a small army of drugged-out clansmen, and I faced the very real possibility of death. I knew more Marines were right over my shoulder and we were all doing our best to ensure we all made it home alive that day, but I knew even more that each and every one of us couldn't believe that they attacked us.

As I chose my targets, I felt no remorse. In my mind, they made this happen. We were trying to bring food to people who needed it, and they attacked us. I saw them drop one by one, by my trigger and by my friends'. We were the ultimate unit at that moment. A few of us got hurt, and others showed complete disregard for their own safety and ensured ours. But now, probably a minute into the fight, we were acting as one. A well-oiled machine doing exactly what it was trained to do.

My adrenaline raced faster and faster and I was damned if these scumbags were going to keep me from making it home to my family, or any of the other Marines make it home to theirs. The attacking force didn't realize that they were being destroyed. They failed to use any available cover for protection, or help each other in the fight. They just kept running at us, and paying the severest price. This has been attributed to two things: First, that they had little or no proper training, and two, that many of them were constantly ingesting a local hallucinogenic drug known as khat.

Not three minutes in to the fight and we get word that help is on the way. Seconds later we piled into some Light Armored Vehicles (LAVs) which laid down plenty of cover fire and as we pulled out of there. That's when we saw the Cobras inbound to clean up the mess. The explosions from the gunships tearing up the block were deafening. They completely leveled the area, and we were grateful. Like I said before, you don't **** with Marines.

We were there to do something we weren't built for, delivering and escorting food. Up until then, we'd been used primarily to kick the **** out of bad guys wherever and whenever need be. So once the locals decided to test us, they saw what a mistake they had made. There was never again an attack made against the Marines in Mogadishu, the Army however, had to prove themselves as well. Their terrifying fight was later seen on international news programs as dead soldiers were dragged through the streets, and my friend Warrant Officer Michael Durant was taken prisoner.

Once we returned to the safety of the soccer stadium, we were quickly whisked away to Medical where we were all accounted for and made sure we still had all of our fingers and toes. That's when I started to lose my ****. I could still smell the fresh powder in my nose from blasting through half a dozen clips on my M-16. I was covered in blood and dirt and couldn't really get my bearing because my ears were still ringing from concussion.


06-03-03, 08:17 AM
We spent the next few hours debriefing and decompressing. It was the first time for all of us, and hopefully the last time we would be exposed to that kind of horror. I still don't know how vets from...

05-08-05, 08:53 PM
Bumping for the New Folks