E-Mails Reveal a Fallen Soldier's Story
"Would you like to see a picture of the first guy I had to kill?" he asked. It was taken at 12:33 p.m. on April 21, 2005, according to the time stamp. The young man lies dead, covered in blood and dressed in a blue sweater and white jacket.
Then there were pictures of the clash in Najaf in late January, with panoramic shots of the rows of weapons that were seized and the rows of corpses. "I'd never seen anything like it," Griffin said. "The destruction was almost biblical." He wrote about that battle, too.
My squad and I along with my platoon leader 1LT Weber established a strongpoint at the first corner that we approached. I noticed a mutilated child thrown against a wall from random bomb blasts and as I was setting my machine gunner for security, a man was trying to get out of the village with a dead baby in his arms, holding her as if she was still alive along with his wife who could barely walk because her face had been torn open by the bombing. As this all happened at the same time, a man brought a young 10-12 year old boy to me in his arms and it was obvious that the child was barely breathing but still alive. He tried to hand this child to me but I did not want to take my eyes off of all the villagers who were now approaching my position in droves. The man knew that this boy would die so he placed the boy next to a man whose legs had been blown off lying across from me and in the arms of a dead man this boy finally died. I witnessed so much carnage on this particular day that words and descriptions of the horror would become trivial in attempting to paint a picture of what I saw ...
I achieved my 8th confirmed kill in this village when I opened a door to what I thought was just another small room and upon entering, saw human bodies strewn on the floor, wall to wall, that had been placed there because the room had obviously been established as a casualty collection point. One man lying close to the door had been pleading for me to help him and kept pointing to his injured leg. I did not want to commit to entering the room because I had a blind spot to my front left and did not want to be engaged by any survivors; the room was strewn with massive amounts of AK-47's, magazines, grenades and other assortments of weaponry. I motioned for the man to crawl out and he would not or could not comply. He then looked dead into my eyes and suddenly began to smile at me while he reached for his AK-47. I lifted my rifle and fired 8 rounds into his forehead from about 3 feet killing him instantly ...
There was so much sensory overload as to the horrific that I was forced to make my squad work in cycles stacking bodies so that they would not have any mental breakdowns. Our local [Iraqi] interpreter "Ricki" even vomited from seeing this macabre spectacle. I knew that as U.S. forces in Iraq, we were definitely now in an even more unpredictable and unstable environment than I had thought prior to this.