“But..But…LT said this area would be lightly defended in the briefing and no one knew the pilot was here” Shouted the Corporal, as bullets whistled over head, and pinged of the rocky open ground near them.
“Furthermore sarge, you promised me that Jones would carry the SAW but once again, Im stuck with the fricken thing.”
Atack the Sarge, kept his eye on the incoming fire and pushed bullets back down range, despite the volume of fire coming at them. “STFU and put that SAW on them you whiney bastard” Said Atack.
“Roger that Sarge”. All of Atack’s squad mates grinned at the exchange. It was nothing new, in fact it was expected. Another hail of bullets and then the uneven ground erupted as an RPG exploded nearby, and the contrail of another inbound shot had them all hugging the dirt quickly. The SAW stopped abruptly.
” Fire back damn it..where the hell is Sharp and his teams covering fire?” Atack said to no one in particular. It was then he saw his gunner down. Another explosion rocked the ground near him and things went black fast.
The ambush was sprung! The Taliban leaders had chosen well. The light cypress trees and scrub afforded clear lines of sight but just enough cover to surprise the Marines. They were cocky and outnumbered the Marines 3:1. One of the younger leaders had a fire in his eyes and a desire to take the pilot. He knew what a prize that would be in his clan. He urged his men towards the hut where the downed pilot had a lit a fire in the hearth. He would have the prize. Oh what he would do!
At the same time a few 100 m away the LT saw that his right flank team led by Atack was being hit hard. “Team, get to that stone fence and suppress those hostiles on the double!” he yelled. Using hand signals he directed his central fire team led by Sharp to return fire.
Sharp, had seen the Tangos open up but then saw more Taliban headed to the hut. He ordered his M203 and SAW gunner to crash the Tango’s moving and firing in the open. The rest of his fireteam opened up on the enemy, mowing most of them down.
Some were hit, many took cover as grenades crumped around them, their robes and loose clothing torn by shrapnel and quickly covered in dirt. “This is Sharp to LT Mark; Atacks team is down. All of ’em sir.”
An RPG round exploded in the trees near Sharp, one of his men cried out in pain. “and we taking some heavy fire here, over”.
“Roger that, hold and suppress until we can get to some cover. I got a request in for close support”
“Aye Aye” said Sharp. He glanced around quickly. His fireteam were punching through a lot of ammo, firing and moving through the trees to avoid being zeroed in on. He shuffled over to his SAW gunner, and told him to focus on the clustered muzzle flashes deeper in the sparse woods.
As LT Mark’s team moved forward they began taking fire from yet another group of Taliban hiding in the woods on their left less than a 100m away. PK’s barked, and AK’s chattered at them as they neared the stone wall. Stone fragments showered the men, who all ducked for cover. A Corpsman placed a bandage on one of the team, nodded at the LT and gave a thumbs up. All were still in the fight.
Sharps team saw the new muzzle flashes and reacted quickly. His team adjusted their aim, raining lead and grenades on the cowards hiding in the trees. He saw at least 4 downed! We got to move he thought… we got to get to that pilot before these bastards do. “LT I’ll keep ’em busy but I got no cover on my right”.
” I’m headed over to Atacks position cover me, and let me get him moving!”
The LT wove between the trees and skidded to a stop near Sharp. They exchanged a knowing look, Intel had fucked them again. Battalion would hear about this IF they made it outta here alive. Charlie Company could not afford to lose more men, not today. But they also wanted to get their Navy brethren pilot, into safe hands. Sharp said “Typical shit show sir, what are you orders?” He said with a shit eating big grin!
“Well Sharp you know the drill, shoot the shit outta these little bastards and get that pilot. I told my Fireteam to cover you and try and close in on the pricks in the trees, I think your boys fucked them up pretty bad. So I’m gunna lean on you to lead the move to the shack. Meanwhile I’ll go check on Atack ” “Aye, Aye Sir”.
Sharp turned to his men as the LT slunk off thru the woods. “You heard the LT, we got point and the honor of rescuing our dumbass pilot, let’s roll.” “Ooorah” was the only reply. Sharp loved these men. No complaining, they knew what was at stake and would find a way! “Guns up, crank some ‘nades on these pricks near the fence I see them squirming like worms to the shack.” “Aye Aye Gunny”.
On point puffs of smoke appeared in the distance, followed by blooms of red and yellow explosions that tore into the Tango’s near the fence. Sharp stepped out from the tree line first, sights up and firing as he and his men looked for targets. Bullets stitched the air, but in less volume than before. The men picked up the pace. “go,go,go, they are heads down!”
“Tango, Tango Tango – shit there in the trees left” The four men swung as one, the 240, burst wide open, placing a 100 rounds per minute into the trees, while Sharp and his other men double tapped at targets thru their scopes. The fire from the enemy stopped. LT Mark, came on over comms: “Sharp nice shooting, I’m with Atack, his corporal is dead, and he has two wounded, and we are a no go on close support. So me and Atack’s fireteam will cover your advance, and then move up on your right to ford the stream. Get to the stream and those rocks and cover us.” “Aye Aye” Said Sharp.
“On the double ladies, on the double” Sharp roared. They quickly splashed thru the stream and took cover near large boulders. “Ok LT go, go, go”.
Atack and LT and 2 men moved across the stream. Zip, whoosh, zing, “shit…fuck, damn it now where are they?” roared Atack….”Shoot those pricks” he said point to another building in the distance…”Sharp in that far building, we got ’em, go go. Sharp be advised Tandoes are running for the cabin and the pilot”
Atack, and team unleashed a torrent of fire, swapping and dropping mags, to slow the Taliban. They forced all of them to ground, but not before a few took cover behind the pilots shack.
“Shit” sighed Sharp, looking around. It was quiet. No fire was coming now. Were there more somewhere he thought?
“Ok screw this, lets make a bee line for the pilot, Atack has our right, Fire Team Alpha has our left. Just keep an eye out for squirters. GO!” They closed into the fenced yard and slowed…
The shack door opened slowly, a pilots helmet was waved on a stick… then he…no..she appeared! Thick short hair, brilliant blue eyes, and..Sharp thought wow. What a smile. As she ran towards him, he ordered his mean to move forward and screened her approach. She threw a thankful smile; “Gunny, I appreciate the assist, can you get me the fuck outta here?” “Aye Aye mam. We got you, are you injured, or hurt mam?” He said as professionally as he could, not betraying his fast racing heart.
“Just my pride Gunny, just my pride, some food and a shower back at your FOB and I’ll buy you and the boys all the beer you can drink”
“Oorah” came a ringing chorus, not one set of eyes moved away from the task at hand, but they all were pumped to win this firefight and get out alive. A smoking hot, grateful Airforce officer just made it all the sweeter!
As the troops checked the shack and the cleared the rear of the building they saw all the bodies behind it. 3 were dead and the rest had critical injuries. Sharp looked at his men… ‘these guys won’t make it’, fuck ’em and leave them to bleed out. ‘
“But Sarge, we got ROE orders?”
“Yeah, we do, but this situation is still hostile, I’m not gunna be slowed down with a bunch a towlies bleeding all over you as you hump them back. Plus we got two dead Marines of our own to carry. No move out now damn it.”