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Typical pictures of armored HMMWVs, these were some shots of my trip prepping for a different convoy run returning from Anaconda. Yep, these vehicles are not A/C'd and all that metal acts like a big oven, but you don't think about the heat...your total attention is on your surroundings looking for ambushes and traps. Pretty interesting ride when you convoy with your M-16 sticking out the window, operating a radio and sitting square to the window (twist your torso so that your body armor is facing the open window, most protection, it's awkward and uncomfortable but you rather be uncomfortable for a short period or have a hole in you?).

I was very proud of the way my gunners conducted themselves, standing tall and aggressively directing traffic away from the convoy in their gun turrets (very exposed). They would physically point and wave back vehicles (hand gestures and yelling), aim their weapons, throw a large rock and if that didn't work engage the threat. We passed other convoys and their gunners were sitting low and in a position not readily able to respond to a threat. We had two Army Special Forces troops guide us on our first long distance run giving us a lot of tips and what to look for on the road. Training can never replace experience and I was very glad to have them on my runs. My objective is to build up an experienced convoy crew able to confidently handle themselves out in the open roads.

This is what happened on one of these convoys four days ago.

On a very recent convoy back, my Airmen saw this abandoned vehicle sitting in the roadway (they were riding with the Special Forces team learning more of the ins and outs of convoy security). Notice how far out it's sitting from the edge of the road? Normally, broken vehicles are a common sight out here, but they are usually more off the shoulder.

Two? No people around.

Three? The jugs/containers are a common sight out here too. A lot of fuel is sold on the roadside in this fashion, containers sitting on the side of the road (again not this far out).

The convoy immediately stopped and backed off, blocked the road and called in EOD. 1st CAV had a patrol of 3 HMMWVs rollup.

They were advised of the situation and told to find an alternate route or drive past on the opposite lane (pretty common to pass traffic by driving on the opposite side of the road.

Instead of driving on the opposing lanes, they just pulled over to the far left lane or lane number 1. As the patrol rolled by the vehicle borne improvised explosive device was detonated (6 lane highway).

This ambush was obviously under observation for command detonation.

You can see the HMMWVs roll by, fortunately no one was seriously injured, one HMMWV was damaged (all up armored with window closed, gunner inside as they passed).

Not a lot left of the vehicle. This is by far the biggest danger to our forces.

Another strategy is to daisy chain the explosives and bait the area, knowing our typical responses of halting and pulling back to a "safer area" in reality could stopping in a bigger "kill zone" with more explosives hidden in the real kill zone (155mm shells strung out) or combination of attacks.

This is why it's extremely important to know what to do on these convoys, search/scan the area for more explosives when your stopped, secure area in boxed formation…be ready for anything.

The simple truth is stopping on the open road is very dangerous and exposes you to many forms of possible attacks.

This is the vehicle that took the most of the damage as it passed the car bomb. Doesn't look like much, but it was towed in.

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