The recording (prayer call) is taken just outside of Barwana (that I remember?). I do remember taking the recording, but it has been about seven years. I can pinpoint that it was recorded just after I was sent an MP3 recorder in one my care packages, which I believe was right before Crazy 8 rushed to a QRF just outside the city and ended up doing snap VCPs and over watch of the city for about a week straight. The photo, however, is taken in East Village, a small village near the Haditha Dam.
I also have a cassette tape of prayer calls that I took from a mansion near Haqlaniyah, but I haven’t listened to it in quite sometime (I don’t even own a cassette player).
One of the major things I remember about prayer calls was our paranoia with them. Sitting just outside a city prior to a major operation, it was always a big rumor that the Muj were using the minuets as a kind of “early warning” announcing prayer and then followed by, “get out of the city the Americans are coming”, but I’m not sure that I believed it. There was one time where the prayer did sound a bit different and I’m not sure what the reasoning was. Prayer times also seemed to coincide with violence, but again nothing to back that up just our observations. Muj would seem to come out to provoke us if the weather was nice, and just after prayer.
I can remember watching TV with a group of INGs (Iraqi National Guardsmen) in a small hut that belonged to a farmer in the area. They were all sitting around on cushions that you would normally find on some outdoor patio furniture. They were drinking tea out of those Chai glasses and eating sunflower seeds. “5 minute American, 5 minute Arabic” referring to the TV. We would watch 5 minutes of some Arabic TV, like normally al-Jazeera or Arabic M-TV, then switch back to some BBC or some other station. The whole situation was so incredibly odd. Here we were sitting in a mud hut on some farmer’s property, watching satellite TV in the middle of nowhere. Prayer call was also announced via TV as well similar to the linked video. The 5 minute American / 5 minute Arabic didn’t carry on after we left, in fact we heard a few gunshots after the ING fought over what TV station they wanted to watch.
One of the things that happened every 3 or 4 hours was a check in / radio check. You can hear in the recording a call from command “Bulldog” to Tiger 3, which was our tanks. At one point the security at the dam was heightened and battalion actually brought in a few tank platoons. One guy I can remember, his name was Gunny Laden, a big muscular bald guy. His occupation as a tanker suited him well. I can remember nights where we were in the city, surrounded on all sides by buildings and the potential enemy threat was high. All of sudden Gunny Laden and his tank platoon role in next to our Humvees, Gunny pops out of the first tank and throws out an empty Redbull container, then proceeds to get back in the tank and fire the coax gun on some Muj assholes digging almost a mile away across the Euphrates River. The next time I ran into the guy was on the 13th deck (I think that was the floor?) the Gym bench pressing >200. I can’t tell you how many times they saved our asses.
Map 8 spent A LOT of time on checkpoints 8 and 9, two small key areas; one just in the vicinity of route Uranium (checkpoint 9) and a major transport road just outside of Haditha Dam (checkpoint 8). CP 9 I can remember was basically a truck hulk graveyard. Old trucks and vehicles just left behind and rusted from God knows how many past wars. CP 9 was also heavily mortared. Sometimes I thought the Muj had their mortars already preset to that intersection.
There was always a platoon assigned to CP 8, which I would say was the most boring spot in Iraq, but a major route where trucks would transport food, mail, weapons and troops to major bases in the area, so pretty important. Anyhow, The radio call was from a rotation between our platoon (Kaybar 8) and another platoon (Kaybar 5). Normal rotation periods were 24 hours. We would either go out on another patrol, or most likely just switch up between CP 8 or CP 9. There were times where Crazy 8 would just go out and do random snap VCPs looking for ordinance and other happenings. I think that’s where we would run into the most shit, although there was the occasional guy stopping off by CP 8 to dig something, in which case a few bursts of the 240 – G go them up and moving right away. Several patrols resulted in arrests and confiscation of ordinance such as weapons, explosives, etc.
About mid-July of our tour, intelligence and other sources in the area had alerted command of a possible “threat to the dam”. The story went that the Muj were going to storm the dam. A butt of many jokes while we sat in our Humvees cleaning weapons and smoking awful Iraqi cigarettes. despite several Muj mortar attacks (a daily occurrence) we were preparing for a full-scale attack. I remember extra caution was taken to where we would park our Humvees during our limited time inside the wire. Instead of going through the main entrance, we ended up having to go all the way around to a back entrance which took us up to the 10th deck. Don’t ask me why the 10th deck is a better place to park Humvees, but whatever that was a long time ago, I’m sure there was a good reason for it, maybe having to do with changing up our routine.
Rotation periods at this point in July were increased to three days on 24 hours off. Marines were getting really edgy. In fact, I remember snapping at people for no apparent reason. “Hey Wojo, you call your old lady?” “Hey shut the hell up man, don’t fuckin’ talk to me!” I remember our radio man getting on our nerves and I remember almost throwing him out of the Humvee.
Kaybar 8 do you copy over?
Kaybar 8 copies just waitin’ here to get some.
Iron Man has no comment on getting some, over.
[end of transmission]
While on it seemed like endless watches and patrols, one of the things we would overhear were some of what other platoons were doing. For example in this call, I believe (from what I can remember) we were sitting on a watch position just outside of the dam by the large manmade lake where Saddam’s half-brother used to fish. We overheard the call about some insurgents that were hiding out in a nearby building and there was a suspicious looking blue tarp outside in the back yard, which was later confirmed to be hiding a mortar system. One of the guys on a nearby watch position calls in and asks, are you gonna send someone down here to chase these guys? I’m not sure what eventually happened, but I believe they just ended up calling in air on the insurgents.
I think that Call 6 continued the pursuit of the insurgent mortar team in call 5. Crusher 6 and Kaybar 5 coordinate with Bulldog (command) to call in an F-18 airstrike on the nearby Muj mortar team. Kaybar 5 then switches to a different channel to call in air. I think at the time Crazy 8 was not far from the strike so we could see plumes of smoke and explosions coming from just off the horizon. There were several other times where Crazy 8 called in air. One time was just after the death of snipers at an assault on the city of Barwana coordinated with 3/2 (?) where we basically sat inside the city and were calling in targets from across the Euphrates River. One in particular was a team of Insurgents that thought that no one could see them walking just by the river bank with mortar equipment and AKs, but they didn’t stop and look across the river where we were sitting. Gunny Laden and his tank platoon (Tiger 3?) were also there with us, but Crazy 8 marked the targets for air. At that point, fights actually broke out on who was doing firewatch. We later heard that at least 6 dead insurgents were found just across the river in the bushes and in the water.
- Great Reward Of Pronouncing Adhaan And Congregational Salaat (dailyhadeeth.wordpress.com)
- Praying ad Dhuhr with the Asr Congregation (salahonline.wordpress.com)
- Learning the 5 pillars of Islam part 2 Prayer! (americanmuslimconvert.wordpress.com)
- I can’t wake my children up for Fajr prayer! (salaf-us-saalih.com)
- Timings of Salah (prayers) (makashfa.wordpress.com)
- Go Back and Pray, for You Have Not Prayed – Khutbah (islamgreatreligion.wordpress.com)