I was just starting my second tour of combat. My name is Jonathan Rock, Sgt. Jonathan Rock. My company was in a convoy heading out of the city when it happened. We were told there were not that many insurgents here. Someone was so wrong on that score, automatic fire and RPG rounds slammed into the vehicles and we poured out to return fire.
I pulled two privates out of a burning hummer and then my lieutenant who had been wounded in the leg. I was dragging another man away from another vehicle when an RPG grenade exploded and threw me down. I had pain in my right leg and arm and one look at my bent and shattered M4 was more than I needed to see. I grabbed the man I had been helping and turned to pull him to safety.
I glanced over to where six insurgents were fighting with a struggling soldier. I looked at the man I was helping. He did not have a rifle and only had an M9 pistol. I pulled it out and hesitated before pulling out the spare magazines. I stood and tucked the spares into my chest pouch as I started running after the insurgents that had pulled the soldier away.
All the insurgents started shooting at me and two stepped out of a doorway to the right. I did not hesitate and shot the one on the left twice in the chest and the other one twice in the face. I hit the alley the insurgents and gone down and kept going. When two insurgents stepped in from each side of the other end with AK-47's I was close. I shot the one on the right in the chest before doing the same to the other man.
I hit the wall next to the corner before peeking around to see another insurgent standing a dozen feet away and lifting a rifle. I came around the corner shooting and ran past the body falling back. I dropped the magazine and pulled out another. I chambered a round as an insurgents stepped out of a doorway beside another alley.
The insurgents with the soldier had gone into the alley. I pointed the pistol and fired four times into the man’s body before running past him and slamming into the wall. I peeked around the corner and down the alley before turning and running down it. I dove as three insurgent ran into the alley firing their rifles. I rolled before aiming and shooting the man on the left in the chest twice and then the one in the middle. The last man was trying to change the magazine when I put three rounds through his body.
I came to my feet and started running again and stopped to peek around the corner as I changed magazines once more. The insurgents were pulling the soldier through a doorway at the end of the street. I started running again and was almost to the end of the street when two insurgent came out onto a balcony above the door. They sprayed the street with bullets as I fired up at them.
One jerked and then folded over the rail and fell. I was shifting to the other man when I felt a burning, tearing pain through my left thigh and upper left arm. I fired twice into the man’s chest and he went backwards before disappearing. I moved to the side of the door before turning and going through it. A man was on the stairs with a rifle and he pointed it towards me.
I emptied the pistol into him before moving into the building. I thought I would have to search the building when I saw the slight blood trail going down the hall and out another door. I changed magazines again and moved down the hall and looked out the door. To the left and down the street the insurgents were just going around the corner.
I started running and just as I reached the corner three insurgents came running around and into me. I fired three times into the man I had run into as he and the other two grabbed me. My left hand grabbed a pistol from his waist as he fell back and I turned to the right. I fired into the man reaching for my weapon and he screamed as he fell back.
A sharp blow on the back of my helmet made me step forward before I turned and fired twice into the last insurgents that was trying to lift his rifle. I looked around and then looked at the pistol in my left hand. It was a 45 Kimber like some of the marines use. I looked at the man I had taken it from and knelt to quickly take two spare magazines.
I stood and moved around the corner and saw the group of insurgents in a garage down the street. They were just closing the big bay door. I started running, thinking fast. When I reached the garage I headed to the alley on the other side. I looked around the corner and lifted my pistol to shoot the two men by a side door.
I dropped the magazine as I walked towards the door and slipped my last magazine into place. I took a breath and held both pistols in my hands before kicking the door open and stepping in. I lifted both pistols and fired the M9 twice into the chest of a man in front of me. I fired to the side with the Kimber and it slammed a man back and down.
I turned and shot another insurgent several times with the M9 through the body as he was turning with a rifle. I shot an insurgent standing in front of the soldier pointing a pistol at his head with the Kimber. Three rounds from the M9 took the closer man holding the solder up and two more from the Kimber for the last one that was putting another pistol to the soldier’s head.
I moved forward quickly and knelt to check the soldier that turned out to be a lieutenant, “we can not stay here Lt.”
He nodded and struggled to stand. I turned to search the two men that had pistols. One was another 45 and I could use the magazines he was carrying but the other was a 5.7 mm. I tucked the M9 away in a pocket before grabbing the other pistol and spare magazines. I stood and turned towards the door to see the lieutenant holding an AK-47. I nodded as I crossed to the door and stepped out with both pistols up.
The lieutenant limped after me as I moved back towards the street. I reached the corner and was going to look around it when an insurgent ran around into me. I fired into his body three times with the Kimber before checking around. I knelt when I saw the P90 and the 5.7 pistol started to make sense. I changed magazine and tucked the pistols away before taking the P90 and the two magazines the insurgent had.
I started down the street towards the corner where the bodies lay. The lieutenant limped behind me and I lifted the submachingun when a man kneeling beside the bodies lifted one of the rifles and turned towards us. When he lifted it to his shoulder I put a burst through him. I stopped at the corner and peeked around before moving. We were barely a dozen feet away from the corner when three men came out onto a third floor balcony.
When one lifted an RPG and I aimed and sprayed a figure eight into all three. Two jerked and twisted before falling forward over the rail and the third ducked down. I gestured and the lieutenant went past me as I watched the balcony above us. When the man popped up and raised a rifle I put a burst into him and moved after the lieutenant as the man was knocked back and down.
I glanced up as two helicopters went over the street and moved in front of the lieutenant at the door he had been pulled out of. I turned with the submachine gun up and stepped in. Two insurgent turned from the body by the stairs with rifles lifting to point and I sprayed across them before moving forward quickly. I turned to walk backwards as I pointed up the stairs.
The lieutenant moved past me to the other door and looked out before firing. I turned and went out quickly and saw another insurgent down by the body that had fallen from the balcony. I hesitated before starting for the distant alley as I clumsily changed the magazine. The distant firing had stopped and there were a lot of sounds from helicopters. As I turned in at the alley I saw two insurgents at the other end.
One held a rifle but the other was aiming at a hovering helicopter with a RPG. I aimed my weapon and fired a burst into him before shifting to the other man as he spun. Another burst knocked him back and down as I walked towards them. I walked out into the street as an Apache turned and saw us. It continued to hover and watch as I checked the street and nodded to the lieutenant.
I moved with him and walked backwards until we reached the next alley. A squad of soldiers met us as we walked down the alley and the next thing I knew a medic was pushing me down. I was debriefed while waiting to go into surgery to remove a bullet and a lot of shrapnel. A few day later I was trying to exercise and get some of the stiffness out when a Jag officer, a full Colonel and a congressional aide came to see me.
Several Iraqis had come forward claiming I had killed innocent and unarmed men. I nodded to my helmet beside the bed and the cam I had only shut off after being put in the medivac helicopter. I had down loaded it with a nurse helping and had made a copy but did not say anything as it was taken away. Several days later I was told to report to a board of inquiry about my actions.
I limped into the large room and saluted the general who was the head of the board. He nodded and cleared his throat, “I heard you had a camera vid of the entire incident. Unfortunately it seems to have gone missing.”
I smiled and pulled a small USB drive from my pocket, “would you like to see the copy I made?”
The room went silent and everyone looked at the three Iraqis men sitting to one side. I cleared my throat, “I left a copy with my Jag lawyer before coming in here.”
The three men stood and turned to walk out and a well dressed civilian glared at the general before following them. The general actually grinned, “as a matter of fact I would love to watch it... again.”
Two days later I was on a plane heading back to the states. This time it was a summons for a congressional hearing. The Iraqis government was making waves and several liberal congressmen were willing to feed me to the wolves. I was sent from the hospital where I was doing rehab. Someone copied the vid of me to the internet while I was waiting to be called.
In the two days it took for the congressman to call me there had been over ten million viewers. I sat beside the Jag lawyer that had been assigned to me. It took awhile to quiet the crowd in the room and one of the congressmen looked at me, “before we start we have questions about the release of classified material.”
I looked at the lawyer and he shrugged. I looked at the congressmen, “what release of classified material?”
One of the congressmen leaned forward, “a video of you in Iraq.”
I looked at the lawyer and he cleared his throat, “someone put it on the internet.”
I looked at the congressmen, “I did not know and I was not told that it was classified. Why would anyone classify it?”
One of the congressmen opened his mouth and a reporter stood, “because they do not want everyone to know you are a hero!”
I turned to look at him before looking at the congressmen, “I am not a hero. I did what I had too.”
One congressman on the end cleared his throat, “what is your answer to the charges that you shot unarmed men?”
I smiled, “well if they put the video on the internet you can watch the time stamp. Each and every person I shot had a weapon and tried to use it.”
They looked at one of the congressmen who leaned towards me, “we have been told the video was doctored.”
I shook my head, “to my knowledge the one I have has not been altered. You would have to ask JAG or the congressional aide that took my helmet cam for the original.”
Several people in the audience shouted questions and the congressmen whispered together. One looked at me, “why did you go after the Iraqis?”
I looked at him for a minute before leaning forward, “are you an American sir?”
That shut everyone up and the room quieted as the congressman’s face redden, “yes I am.”
I looked at each congressman, “than why would you ask that question? A soldier was captured in combat and I took actions as a soldier to save him. I was barely in time to keep him from being murdered. The men I killed had weapons and tried to use them against an American soldier.”
The crowd started shouting questions again and the congressmen whispered again before one sat back, “thank you Sgt. Rock.”
The lawyer stood and I followed his example. I thought is was over but within six hours I was headed back to Iraq for another tour. I slept most of the way on the plane and walked into the hanger yawning when I got there . I glanced at the group waiting as we walk in. My last Brigade commander was talking to my company commander.
They turned as I reached them and the Sergeant Major waved me out of the line. I was still in Class A uniform and went to attention as I saluted. The Brigade commander grinned, “from all the screams Sgt Rock, you have been giving them hell.”
I smiled as I glanced past him at my First Sergeant, “I tried sir.”
He nodded to the Sergeant Major who began reading a set of orders. When he stopped the Colonel handed me two sets of Staff Sergeant strips, “they may think what they want but we know better. Just so you know, you have also been put in for a Distinguished Service Cross.”
I looked at him quickly, “that is not....”
He shook his head, “we think it is and the Division Commander agrees.”
I shrugged and he smiled as he looked at the Sergeant Major. He grinned and turned to accept a small CVC helmet bag. He held it out and I took it and glanced in to see two 45's in holsters. I glanced at the Colonel and he grinned, “the P90 was stolen from a Security company but we decided to return the pistol you had when you were medivaced. The Sergeant Major even traded someone... for another Kimber.”
I grinned, “thanks sir.”
He nodded and turned to my Company commander, “since they never bothered to reassign you, you are going back to your company.”
I nodded and minutes later I was leaving with Top and the CO. I spent the rest of the day being reissued gear and a new rifle. All my belongings had been boxed up and I had to put everything away. I was supposed to be on light duty but it seems that was not to be. I had just finished fitting everything including the dozen extra 45 magazines the armorer had slipped me when I got called to the command post.
When I walked in the company commander was arguing with a colonel on a video conference. It ended with the colonel telling him he had his orders. I had recognized the colonel as the same one that had taken my helmet cam. The captain turned to me, “they want you to go to the international hotel and escort a reporter.”
I nodded, “I will get my squad.”
He shook his head, “they just want you.”
I smiled, “did he give you a route I had to take too?”
He snorted, “If he did I would be taking the whole damn company just for training.”
I thought about it, “where am I taking this reporter?”
He glanced at the First Sergeant, “he wanted to see where you had your incident.”
I shook my head, “not alone sir.”
The first Sergeant grinned, “Bravo and Delta just happen to be going there for a sweep of the area.”
I grinned and saluted before turning to leave. I pulled off the sling I had been wearing before loading my magazines. I had the battalion duty driver take me to the international hotel. When I walked in everyone was looking, including a reporter and a cameraman. They walked to me arrogantly and the reporter snapped, “about time!”
I looked him up and down before shaking my head, “what did you want to see?”
He snorted, “where you murdered those people.”
I smiled, “than I guess you better do it yourself.”
He smiled snidely, “think again, you do what I say.”
I laughed and everyone shut up. I stepped closer to the reporter, “listen very close asshole. While we are out you do what I say, when I say or I will leave your dumb ass. Insurgent do not care if you are a soldier or a reporter.”
I turned to the cameraman, “whatever you do, do not focus on any of the women.”
He smiled, “I have been here before.”
I nodded and ignored the glaring reporter as I turned to the door, “it is your dime.”
They had a landrover and I let the reporter drive as I sat beside him. He was silly enough to start asking me questions about what happen and did not like it when I ignored him. The street he pulled into was full of army vehicles and soldiers were up and down the street. The reporter was angry and started making calls because he said the army had promised him no other soldiers would be here.
He parked in the middle of the street and climbed out without waiting. I glanced at his cameraman to see him shaking his head. I got out and started following the reporter as he looked around. He walked to a doorway into a shop and I started to open my mouth. The group of insurgents must have been hiding. They lunged out to grab him as one sprayed bullets into my vest.
I was thrown back and down as they pulled the yelling reporter through the door. I shifted my rifle as fell to fire a burst into the two men that were moving into the doorway and pointing rifles at the cameraman. I rolled to my feet, ignoring the searing pain in my chest. I ran into the shop to see the insurgents already at the back door. One fired at me and I felt pain in my left thigh as I shot back and he fell through the door.
I ignored the cameraman as I limped towards the door they had gone through and changed magazines. I glanced through and then rushed in and across the empty storeroom to the back door. I glanced out and turned to duck back as bullets from three different places hit the doorframe. I took a breath before spinning around and running out.
I fired into an insurgent across the street as he turned and lifted his rifle again. Bullets screamed around me and a rocket grenade exploded against the building I had just left. I sprayed the upper window where an insurgent was pointing down at me with another rifle before emptying the magazine into the last insurgent. He had been changing the magazine in his rifle and lifted it again in time to die.
I changed magazines and glanced into the doorway they had pulled the reporter through. I ducked back as bullets hit the doorway. I pulled a grenade and yanked the pin out before flipping the lever off and hesitating. I counted a couple of seconds and then tossed it into the shop. The explosion ripped through the building and I ducked in.
I ran to the back door of the shop and then across the back room to the other door. I glanced out and then followed the glance as I started running in the opposite direction as last time. The cameraman was still following me as I ran down the street. I dove to the ground when four men came out and lifted rifles. One had an RPG and I put a burst into him first as the others fired.
I felt a searing burn on the back of my left calf as I switched to shoot the other men. I rolled and came to my feet as I started after the reporter as he was pulled into a large apartment building. I aimed and fired at one of the men. I aimed low and watched him jerk as I hit his leg. I started after them as I changed magazines again. Twenty feet from the door three men rushed out with rifles.
I did not hesitate and sprayed back and forth and watched their bodies jerk. I let my rifle drop on its sling as I pulled the Kimber on my right thigh. I moved to the door and glanced in, I followed the glance and looked around before following the blood trail up the stairs. As I turned and climbed towards the second floor two insurgents came out.
I put two rounds into each man’s chest before continuing. The blood trail kept going up and I followed it, it went into the hall on the third floor landing. I glanced at the cameraman still following and moved to the side of the doorway. I glanced back and lifted the Kimber to fire down the stairs at a insurgent lifting his rifle to shoot the cameraman.
I shook my head as I changed magazine and stepped into the third floor hallway. I could hear more firing coming from the street outside and thought some of the soldiers might have followed me. I followed the trail down the hall to a door and stopped. I looked both ways as I pulled the other Kimber. I stepped out and then kicked the apartment door the blood trail had gone into.
Five men spun and I started shooting as I walked towards them. I stopped to holster one pistol before changing magazines. I glanced into a kitchen area to see a woman and child huddled together. I moved past and looked into another room that should have been a bedroom. I lifted my pistol and shot the single insurgent pointing a rifle at me.
I moved into the room and crossed to the ladder. I kept glancing at the hole in the ceiling and pulled a grenade. I left both the primary and secondary safeties in and tossed the grenade before following it. Men were scrambling to find cover as I poked my head into the room. I shot one man point blank in the chest before shifting to shoot another a few feet away.
I moved up the ladder as a third man lifted up and turned to point his rifle. I emptied the magazine in his chest before I finished climbing the ladder and stepped into the room. I changed magazines again and crossed to the reporter sobbing in the corner. I yanked him up and turned as a man rushed into the room. I shot him through the chest before he could lift his rifle.
I glanced at the cameraman coming up through the hole and bent to pick up my grenade before moving towards the apartment hall. I ignored the women and four children in the living room as I pulled the reporter after me. I let him go when I reached the door and holstered my pistol. I lifted my rifle and opened the door. I peeked out and looked both ways before reaching back and yanking the reporter out.
When I reached the stairs I peeked out before stepping into the stairs. I started down and stopped on the second floor as I heard men clearing the floor below. I moved down to the landing and peeked down, “SERGEANT ROCK COMING DOWN WITH TWO CIVILIANS!”
A private was pointing his rifle up the stairs and grinned, “come down slow.”
I pulled the reporter after me and started down with the cameraman following. In the lower hallway a fire team moved towards me and I shoved the reporter towards them, “someone take this moron before I bleed to death.”
I leaned against the wall before putting my head back. A private pulled me up and helped me towards the door. I glanced at a Lieutenant pulling the reporter out as he cried and whined. The cameraman shook his head as he kept filming. Outside the building was at least two more companies with four apaches hovering above the street. A medic came to help as the adrenalin started to wear off and the pain began.
This time the division commander came out with a statement even before I was out of surgery. The news channels aired most of the footage the cameraman had taken. I also found out the reporter had asked for me because he had made a deal with an insurgent, supposedly he was just going to talk to me.