Personal Narrative: A Career As A Mortar Soldier

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I am currently a squad leader in Mortar Company 1-19th Infantry. I joined the Army in April of 2003. During my 12 year career, I have had multiple deployments and multiple experience’s, some good some bad. I have learned over the years that it’s what you learn from those experience’s that help shape and mold the leader and obviously add to the leader’s skill and knowledge base. Knowledge is power as they say. I have served in a wide variety of positions throughout my career, although mostly mechanized I have still found myself having to know the light Infantry world as well. I have served every position from Assistant gunner to squad leader in the Mortar world, to team leader and squad leader in the light Infantry world. I have had the…show more content…
As my soldier prepared the charge a hand grenade, thrown from a rooftop detonated approximately 50 meters away from our position. Immediately following the detonation, two enemy combatants started blindly firing down the alley towards our position. Despite the enemy small arms fire and hand grenade my soldier and I continued to employ our charge. Alpha team had begun returning fire on the two enemy combatants attempting to suppress their fires. I had just gotten the breech charge placed on the door and ordered my soldier to return to the rest of the squad and take his position in the stack. As he moved back to his new position two enemy rounds impacted the door missing my head by mere inches, I could taste them as they went by. I immediately returned fire on the enemy and instructed the rest of my team and the squad to fall back to more defendable positions. We had lost the initiative and the element of surprise. The enemy was all around and above us, using the rooftops to move freely through the area. Our Platoon Leader made the decision to fall back to our Stryker as by this point hand grenades were raining down on us from the rooftops. Alpha team leader had a grenade land between his legs but was fortunate it did not detonate. For every position we fell back to the prior position was blown up by grenades. The previously mentioned prepared fighting…show more content…
First of all it taught me that regardless of the planning and preparation a leader must at all times remain flexible and adapt to the situation. As one of my old section Sergeants explained it to me once, a decision, good or bad is better than no decision at all. Second it has taught me to always question the intelligence source. This particular mission, we found out later was based off single source human intelligence. Basically someone called our hotline and set us up to get ambushed no one had vetted the source. Thirdly it also taught me to go with my gut when something obvious is presented. When I Initially looked at the aerial photo my first thought was “Ambush” based upon the location of the house and the avenues of approach. I expressed my concerns to my leadership and they took it into consideration, but the mission had to be accomplished. Fourth and final key point this mission taught me resilience. Though initially we were unable to gain access to the target house by continuing to focus on the mission we were eventually able to accomplish our assigned
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