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    Gunners Protect Combat Logistics Patrol


    Courtesy Story

    1-230th Cavalry Regiment

    By Pfc. Abel Trevino

    Squeezing the trigger is a last resort for those Soldiers assigned to protect and defend the combat logistic patrols, and when they do, it's with conviction.

    "A lot of people have this misconception that gunners are trigger-happy people. I will be the first to tell you that we don't want to pull that trigger," said Spc. Chris Antoniou, gunner for third platoon, 660th Transportation Company.

    Since arriving in February, Antoniou has been the gunner on roughly 30 trips throughout Iraq. His missions have included hauling fuel, escorting civilian truckers, foreign national students and military instructors. All the while, his eyes were peeled for signs of danger.

    "Usually, what I look for as a gunner is anything out of the ordinary [improvised explosive devices], daisy chains. I look real close," he said.

    Anti-Iraqi forces sometimes tip off the gunners about oncoming dangers, said Spc. Nicholas Guinn, 1544th Transportation Company, stationed at Logistical Base Seitz.

    Guinn said AIF mark IEDs with shoelaces, shoes on wires, shiny objects on the side of the road, [compact discs] and mirrors.

    "The days we got ambushed, they tried partially blocking the road with guard rails, rocks and stones. There wasn't any traffic on the road either. So we tensed up a little bit, scanned our sectors, and waited for the first shots."

    When the shooting starts, the gunner only has instincts to rely on.

    "A lot of times it's just instinct. You see the muzzle rounds go off, the [rocket propelled grenades] shoot at you, and it's just kind of point at your target and shoot. I didn't really think about it until we got done," said Guinn." Hitting people and seeing people fall, kind of gets to you when you're done. Not while it's happening because you're trying to save your life and the lives of everyone in the convoy. It's crazy."

    Soldiers attributed training to the honing of their instincts for survival."When the situation comes and you're there and you have a split second to think, it goes back to what you've been taught in the Army. You just go with your instincts. It's like a split second reaction. It just happens and you have just your instincts to go by," said Spc. Daniel T. Murphy, a gunner for the 1544th Trans. Company. "You just function."

    The gunners have assisted in preventing firefights."It's an intimidation factor anyway you look at it. They know when they see us coming [in the gun trucks] to get out of the way," Antoniou said.

    "We try to give them as much leniency as possible till we can't anymore."And sometimes intimidation is enough.

    On the way back to Baghdad International Airport, "There were two men on an overpass. They started running around and I was in the front gun truck that day with the .50 [caliber weapon] and I noticed there was a gray car parked on the side of the road. I thought there was something suspicious about this. So finally, by the time we got close to them, they were taking off running to the car. As we passed, I spun around to look, and one of the guys had an automatic weapon with a bipod on it. I don't know if they were setting up waiting for us and we just got there too early and just scared them off," Murphy said.

    The gunners are not there to shoot up the country, they are there to protect."We're not out to pull the trigger," Antoniou said. "We will give them every opportunity to get out of the way before we resort to extreme action."



    Date Taken: 07.06.2004
    Date Posted: 07.06.2004 14:53
    Story ID: 84

    Web Views: 262
    Downloads: 185