Getting caught by the enemy attack while in the shower or on a toilet isn’t that uncommon in Ramada. The enemy gets a vote in our affairs and they don’t time their attacks to suit us. In fact, they try to do the exact opposite.
It was a sunny day in Ramada as we pulled into the base, back from another grueling patrol. Everybody had just one thought in their heads, get into the showers as quickly as possible and remove layers of sweat and dust. It was to be the highlight of my day. It would be even better if the water was cold, but since the water tanks are on the roof of our trailers, it gets hot baking on Iraqi sun pretty quickly. Still, it was far better than the alternative and I was ready to enjoy myself. Just as I got inside and managed to soap my face and eyes, the first mortar round landed some 100 yards away. The second one followed just a few seconds later, bracketing our HQ. I was thinking whether the sandbags piled up the walls of the trailer would be able to stop the shrapnel, I heard small arms fire, as the attack on the base begun in earnest. Then another two mortar rounds exploded even closer to my trailer. I hit the floor, covered in grime from the previous Marines that showered here and decided that it would be a rather stupid place to die. I grabbed my rifle and a towel and made a run for the bunker in my flip-flops.
As I raced headlong into the bunker, I noticed a young Marine firing his machine gun from one of the towers. He took one look at me, wrapped in a towel and wearing flip-flops, and a huge grin broke on his face. He gave me a thumbs up and continued to fire his weapon. It was only then that the irony of the situation dawned on me. Here I was, almost naked, covered in dust and dirt that clung to my wet skin from head to toes, and in flip-flops, trying to repels an enemy attack. Just another day in Iraq.