ganjigal

I wasn’t paying any attention to the Afghan soldiers. Rod and I planned to keep driving east until we were obliterated or we found my team. Suddenly, with no warning, five or six Askars who were lying in a terrace about a hundred meters away leapt up and raced toward our truck. Wham, one was shot in the back and pitched forward. Wham, a second man went down screaming. Wham, a third–then the fourth and the fifth.
I had never seen anything like it. Five men taken down in five seconds. There was so much screeching and shooting that I couldn’t pick out the location of the weapon that shot them. To deliver such lethal grazing fire, the machine-gunner must have been hidden only a few hundred meters away, with a clear line of sight and his bipod firmly anchored.
Yet whoever shot those men didn’t raise his gun sights and stitch me. I knew he was looking at me, but I couldn’t see him. There was nothing I could do. He let me live. Not one of his rounds even struck our truck.
I can’t explain it.
— 

Into the Fire, describing the ambush in Ganjigal valley.

By Dakota Meyer, USMC Corporal, Medal of Honor recipient.

“Highlander, we’ve spotted five bodies…”
I’d heard all I needed. I jumped out the door and sprinted across the field to the right, opening some distance before Swenson yelled at me. I ignored him, knowing he’d be right behind me. A PKM shifted to me when I was halfway across the terrace. I hopped over a terrace wall and fell into a deep, well-constructed trench.
I landed next to Gunny Johnson, and my heart stopped.
He was lying on his back with his arms outspread, his eyes open but never to see anything again on this earth.
A few feet farther on, I came across the body of an Afghan interpreter who had traveled with our team. I felt sick to my stomach. I knew what I would see next.
Lt. Johnson lay on his back with his eyes closed. He looked peaceful, despite the entry wounds in his right shoulder. Doc Layton lay on top of him, with medical supplies scattered around. I rolled him over.
Doc had taken a three-round burst in the right cheek.
Off to the right, Staff Sergeant Kenefick was lying facedown, his GPS with a busted screen clutched in his left hand. His mouth was open and full of dirt.
I think he was yelling out his grid location–the numbers I heard over the radio four hours earlier–when he was shot in the back of the head.
—  Finding Team Monti in Ganjigal, from Into the Fire, by Dakota Meyer. USMC Corporal, MOH recipient.

Later that day, I bumped into the writer again.

“One question before I leave,” he said. “Any truth to those stories that you were left on your own at Ganjigal?”

“My team would be alive today if we’d gotten artillery.”

“You’d tell that to the high command? You’d say that to a general?”

He was straight up about it. I knew that what I said next would be reported high up the chain of command. Major Williams–and probably a lot of others–would be furious that I spoke out as a corporal without informing them first. I understood what I was doing before I replied.

“I’d tell that to any general,” I said. “We were screwed.”

—  from Into the Fire, by Dakota Meyer, USMC Corporal and Medal of Honor recipient.