Service: A Navy SEAL at War
everybody—so Morgan got used to showering in water pumped from filthy canals. It was said that the fleas and bedbugs that assaulted them daily rode to the attack on the backs of the rats. Still, as home to Bravo Platoon and several companies of conventional infantry, Camp Corregidor would be the center of gravity in our effort to get control of Ramadi’s violent east side.
    The crosstown road that led from Camp Marc Lee to Camp Corregidor was known as Route Michigan. It was an IED-choked nightmare. Fortunately, the bomb techs with the EOD mobile unit attached to our squadron spent lots of time with the intel shop getting the latest dope on enemy bomb-making tactics. They ran with our fire teams wherever we went, their simple tool kits always handy—a multitool, some heavy-duty shears, and small explosives (det cord and C-4) to countercharge any bombs they found. And these guys smoldered with their own desire for revenge. In February, a bomb tech named Nick Wilson was killed in Ramadi while tracing a thread of copper command wire over a berm near a road. Andy Fayal accompanied Nick’s body home to his family, while the others vowed to track down the bomb makers responsible for their friend’s death. At Nick’s funeral, Andy was impressed to see a number of SEALs in attendance. I think he finally understood then how much we respected the EOD community’s skills and dedication to their craft. Our camaraderie ran deeper than blood. God bless all the EOD guys.
    The Army engineers who did route reconnaissance in Ramadi did a damn good job, too. Their work was similar to what our EOD detachment did, but on a larger scale. They rolled out in formations of vehicles designed to detect and take out the bigsubsurface explosive devices. Each vehicle performed a different function—detecting IEDs, marking them, sweeping the street of debris, and finally digging them up and disposing of them. The Army used a type of heavily armored truck known as a Buffalo, which has a big arm that can be fitted with various attachments and extended out front to sweep the roads and uncover planted bombs. They also used these lunar-lander-looking monsters known as Joint EOD Rapid Response Vehicles, or JERRVs. Those bad boys could absorb huge blasts and keep going. It was a talent they used often. The guys inside would be fine as long as they wore their five-point harnesses and helmets. The Army also deployed tracked robots known as TALONs, which are tricked up with sensors and a mechanical arm to deal with the deadly toys they dig up. Sometimes it was just as easy to roll over suspected bomb positions and take the blast. They could work faster that way and cover more ground.
    These convoys rolled through the city streets at two miles an hour, creeping along the most dangerous thoroughfares all night long, bright lights blazing, and continuing through the next day and into the next night as well. If a JERRV got hit—and acting as a blast magnet was definitely part of their job description—the recovery team would move in, hoist the wreck onto a five-ton flatbed, and take it back to Camp Ramadi. A replacement would take its place and the formation would continue roaring along at its snail’s pace, never losing a beat.
    It made a big impression whenever one of their vehicles was dragged back to camp, all the tires blown off—basically a capsule. But every night they went back out, going into the kill zone and staying there because they couldn’t stand to see regularinfantry get caught there instead. They saved hundreds of lives, and the men who drove them impressed us with their bravery.
    Driving Route Michigan, we made good use of our crazy week learning tactical driving. SEALs don’t run convoys, as the regular Army does. The conventionals usually travel heavy, motoring slowly across the road, often in broad daylight. This gives the insurgency’s IED triggermen plenty of time to see them coming and hit them. By contrast, in Ramadi, we drove

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