11.06.2007

The Rollover

Once again, I found myself behind the wheel of one of the big green monsters, larger mission, plenty of US flags running around. I wasn't even remotely tired the night before, so I didn't bother to go to sleep. Figured I'd get plenty of sleep in during the mission. How's that for American work ethic?

We puttered along for two solid hours before we finally stopped. I reclined and slept as was planned, except for when I had to move the truck or drop the ramp or cure cancer. Before long (quite a few more hours), it was time for us to leave. Feeling rested, I put the truck in gear and prepared to follow our convoy out of the area.

The thing is, to EXIT this particular area, we had to drive over a narrow strip of land with a deep ditch on both sides of it. No problem, right? Handled it just fine coming in. Truck after truck crossed it without incident. Then comes my turn, the last vehicle to cross. We get about halfway across when the ground on the right side starts giving out. The truck leans to the right. Thing is, you get used to Strykers leaning this way and that, so for that first second or so, it seemed normal. You know, until it kept on leaning. This is my thought process versus what came out of my mouth.

Thought: We are clearly about to roll over, and this is going to be bad. My vehicle commander is probably going to be ejected from his hatch and crushed to death and it will be all my fault for being an idiot and a shitty driver. This is really bad.

Spoken: FUCK!!! FUCK!!! FUCKFUCKFUCKFUCKFUCK!!!! FU---Oompf!........fuck...fuck. Ow, god......fuck.

The Stryker was on its right side, wedged in the canal, so that it didn't roll completely over. Instead it was suspended in this bizarre angle. But enough about that, let's talk about ME.

All my weight was on my right side (see also: Arm) pinned against the wall, which was at that point more or less the new floor. My head was stuffed up against the roof of the hatch, also trying out a new floor position. I couldn't reach the lever to recline my seat to climb out through the back (see also: really old post about the underwater rollover training we did. Then read: OBSOLETE). I couldn't get my hatch open for the life of me. I triple checked to make sure it wasn't locked.

"SUSPECT!! ARE YOU ALL RIGHT?!"

"FUCK!"

"Are you hurt?"

"Nah, I think I'm fine. FUCK!!!"

"Can you get out?"

"TRYING THAT IDEA OUT RIGHT NOW, SERGEANT! LOOKED BETTER ON PAPER."

Well, my vehicle commander seems to be doing just fine.

All right, douchebag, calm down. Breathe. Good thing you aren't claustrophobic huh? HAHAHAHA. Dumbass. Now get yourself out and meet your shame like a good little idiot.

I clawed around, tried to shift weight, tried to place my feet somewhere besides IN THE AIR. No such luck. I didn't think to press the button to lower the seat platform (technically RAISE it at this point), and it probably wouldn't have worked anyway since pretty much every system we had went down. Through my periscopes, I could see people coming down into the ditch to gawk and/or help. No luck getting the hatch open.

And now people are yelling random things to me. Fuck them, I need to focus on getting out. What a shitty day.

I finally managed to recline the seat a slight amount. The funny thing about trying to get out was that I still had my body armor on, and you wouldn't believe me if I told you, but it's actually a BITCH to move around in an enclosed space with all that shit on. But take my word for it.

I immediately gave up trying to climb out in the state I was in. So I ripped my helmet off (it was rotated sideways over my face anyway) and threw it to the mangled wreckage that was the back of the truck. From that one glance backwards that I took, it became apparent to me that Shiva the Destroyer stopped by the completely fuck this vehicle's world up. Nothing was in place. It had a very doomed feeling about it.

As a result, I elected to tear my body armor off and throw it, too.

I crawled through the obscenely narrow space and fell on my ass against one wall, tangling up in cords and hoses and gear and fuck-knows-what. Grabbed my M4, tossed it out the vehicle commander's hatch to whoever the hell was out there. My shotgun received the same treatment. Neither were loaded. Next came the body armor. I strapped the helmet back on, tossed out my knee pads and any other gear of mine (or anyone else's) that I could find, and then I half climbed/half fell out of the hatch, dusted myself off, and put my gear back on. Slapped a magazine into the battered, run over M4 (that's right, I still got it) and climbed up the ditch where I learned to say, "Yeah, I'm fine" as a new "hello, good to see you too."

I pulled security while we tried to decide on the best approach to get the truck out of the ditch. [God, we should be halfway to the FOB by now...]

One Stryker hooks up it's winch and pulls for dear life. Nothing. The sun starts to set. I pull out my night vision and set it up, very pissed off at myself and more or less feeling like the most incapable, bumbling idiot ever passed along by Uncle Sam's nonchalant number-crunching ass.

Eventually, it took a wrecker and two Strykers to pull the monster out. And one of the Strykers that was pulling was damaged in the process. Messed up a differential or something.

[We would have been already fueled up, and done with....EVERYTHING...by now. Great.]

We gathered up all the spilled debris and all other manner of assorted bullshit and eventually made it the hell out of there.

I spent the next two days in the motor pool repairing that fucking truck.

Other than that, I'm doing pretty good.

13 Comments:

  1. Anonymous said...
    No matter what happens, you always make me smile. Even when bad shi+ happens, you make me smile, and think to myself, "Thank God you can write about it" and "Man, this kid is funny." Johnny reminds me of you, and he reminded me of the "why was your 1st grade teacher so cranky today?" and your response, "I think she's still mad about the house falling on her sister." It took me a block down the road for that to sink in, and another 4 blocks to stop laughing. Even then, you had it. =->

    I'm glad you're ok, and I know it's hard for you, don't blame yourself for shi+. It happens. I'm proud of you. Think how good this will sound to your grandkids. =->
    Love you, Bud...
    Mom
    Anonymous said...
    Glad you're doing pretty good, after all that! Good to hear from you. Sounds like the problem isn't with the driver, but the road. Sounds like the driver, in an exceptional way, got everyone home safely.
    Take care...
    4/2 mom
    OIF3 said...
    Just be glad you don't have to drive around in a "spam in a can" humvee. The green monster sounds like a much more protective environment.
    Anonymous said...
    Just another day in Iraq....right.
    Just glad that you weren't hurt, other than maybe your pride. The visual you created with this was just hilarious though.
    My Dad gave us kids this advice many many years ago, "Keep em between the ditches, and your (umm)in your britches". Whatever that meant.
    Hang in there, tomorrow always brings another ditch to cross...

    Stay safe,
    Ky Woman
    mamaworecombatboots said...
    Whew! Glad you are ok!
    I was in a 10-ton dump truck that rolled over into a river once. We had pulled over to the far right to let another truck go by and the bank collapsed. We did one full rollover and landed wheels down in a creek about 20 feet below the road. The first indication I had we were rolling was the trail mix I had been eating was suddenly floating around in space--ala weightless. I remember thinking that was odd--then we hit bottom.

    Another funny thing was the big glob of mud that flew out of the stack when we tried to start 'er up. Started just fine, but the steering axle was broken. It was a job hauling it back up that bank.

    So as long as you're ok--it makes a great story.

    Your mom is right--stuff happens--and you are one funny guy. Take care!
    madtom said...
    When did you change the name?
    Anonymous said...
    Thank God you didn't roll into water.

    Dec. 8, 2003. Ad Duluiyah.

    SSG Steve Bridges
    SPC Joseph Blickenstaff
    SPC Christopher Rivera Wesley

    RIP
    Jenni said...
    Thank God you're okay...everyone makes mistakes, and this sounds like it was beyond your control...

    If it makes you feel better, just imagine the calamity that would ensue if I was driving ;)

    And to make you feel even more better (is that grammatically correct? lol), your mp4 player is in the mail. Hope you like it. Cory even put some Spice Girls on there, just for you. (Kidding...)

    Stay safe Doughboy...I <3 you =)
    Anonymous said...
    I really liked the "sounds better on paper" comment. Laughed out loud. :)
    Glad you're ok, and stay safe.
    BTW: I bet the road was weakened and you just got lucky. :)

    Lynda
    Anonymous said...
    I started reading your posts this evening when I found the "careful what you wish for 2" profiled on military.com. I am currently a reservist waiting for orders to transfer to active duty. I havent had my turn in the sandbox yet, my brothers been there twice and most of my friends have been. The unit Im currently assigned to is over there right now so I get to hang out back here in the RD. You convey your thoughts well and your blog posts are very interesting whether you believe so or not. Im going to subscribe to your blog so keep writing. Keep you head down....you'll be stateside in no time
    hooch said...
    When i read all the cursing i thought you had suddenly gotten a massive cramp! F*CK ME!
    membrain said...
    Been away from your blog for a while so I had to come back catch up. Great writing as usual and even you're funnier than ever. I bet you keep the guys around you in stitches.

    Take care.
    Anonymous said...
    Damn this is all my fault too man since I was the original driver....Sorry, but I thought I was hooking you with sleep by allowing you to have the oh so wonderful drivers position.

    Jackson

Post a Comment