We rolled back to Ramadi early Sunday afternoon, after a long rotation out to Falluja. I took my personal gear and my 240B machine gun into the barracks, and stopped in to say hello to my medic buddy. I was headed back out to the 5-ton dump truck that we use to transport gear for another load of rucksacks and bags when the air split with a loud craaack-BOOM, and the ground shook underfoot. Everyone flinched towards the ground, and someone dryly cracked "That didn't sound like outgoing". A large black smoke plume shot into the air somewhere over towards the gate, turning grey as it mixed with the dusty sky. Black smoke, for a VBIED. I don't know why the VBIEDs always shoot black smoke into the sky, but they invariably do.
The next few minutes were filled with the confused rush that follows a big blast- phones ringing, squad leaders checking to make sure all their men are ok, and a general babble of voices asking what happened? Who's dead?
The big voice sounded- "Clear all roads from the south gate to Charlie Med. Clear all roads from the south gate to Charlie Med." Minutes pass, and sirens begin to sound in the distance. The big voice drowns out the noise- "All interpreters and medics report to Charlie Med. All interpreters and medics to Charlie Med."
Time passed, and more details began to filter in. The blast was just outside the police station on the south side of the camp. The station is technically on Camp Ramadi- inside the outer perimeter, but outside the main gate. Two pickup trucks had approached the station- the lead truck exploded, and the second sped away. Twenty minutes later, another VBIED (possibly the other truck) exploded in another district of Ramadi. The blast at the police station collapsed a nearby house killing 3 civilians inside, and wounded 35 more, including 5 policemen. The wounded began streaming into Ramadi, where two of my medic friends helped to treat them.
Welcome back to Camp Ramadi, ladies and gentlemen.