Well, I'm back to Blogger (.com) once again. When I last wrote here, we were on the eve of a projected five-day mission. We began with a false start, spent the night at a small outpost on the west side of Falluja, and returned to base to try again the next night.
We ended up spending only three days out of Camp Falluja, and we managed to spend one night in the large logistical base at TQ (Camp Taqqaddum), which lies between Ramadi and Falluja on the shore of a large lake. All in all, the mission wasn't too bad. Even the Iraqi house we stayed in was better than last time. We did have to deal with two broken-down humvees in our Marine security element (part of the reason we went to TQ), and on the trip back into Camp Falluja we blew a tire on the BUFFALO. That day marked the second time we have had to recover the BUFFALO back to home- neither have been due to enemy fire. The last time we recovered the beast was just after we started working in Falluja- EOD had set up a controlled detonation of an IED, and assured the BUFFALO crew that they were far enough away to be clear of the blast. Long story short, they weren't, and we had to tow it back and replace three tires before heading back out to restart the mission. Ironically, the one time the BUFFALO was seriously damaged by an IED, we managed to clank all the way home before the shrapnel rattling in the cylinders destroyed the engine.
This time, though, it was just a blown seal on the tire (albeit in downtown Falluja). We hooked up and dragged her home, where we thoroughly cussed the BUFFALO crewmember who had directly preceded the event by noting that "everything seemed to be going too smoothly".
The week since we got back has been a whirlwind of missions, mission changes, and all the other wonderful things that go with being the "go-to" guys for anyone who wants to roll down a road in Iraq.