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"Not my time to go"

There are more important things to be done than dying today

While in Iraq, I spent a fair amount of time with J.D. Johannes, a former Marine, former Brownback staffer, former lobbyist, and current embedded reporter (History Channel documentarian). He and I shared a room at the Forward Operating Base, and undertook a few missions together with the 1-4 Cav.

He updated his blog today with an essay about an incident that happened just before I left - a mortaring of the FOB, in which separate rounds came just a bit too close to each of us for comfort. "Mortars are not like on TV," he writes. "You barely hear them coming and you do not have time to run." He continues:
I was walking on base a few weeks ago when a series of crashing booms filled the air--a brief high pitched 'shhzzzz' before the next crashing explosion.

One of them exploded 25 feet from me.
He continues:
The ground was soft from recent rains and the round sunk in deep before exploding...If the round had travelled a few inches more it would have hit the concrete and I would have been pelted with shrapnel instead of dirt.

Marine Sergeant Jason Huber used to always say, "If it is your time to go, it is your time to go."

God decided it was not my time to go.

I have more work to do here in Iraq.

Until that day mortar and rocket attacks didn't bother me. I fell back on the old maxim that the safest place to be in a mortar attack is someplace.

Outside of the sturdy Saddam era buildings that can take a few hits, there is not much one can do to take cover in most situations.


In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus taught us not to worry and to trust in God. Worrying is not trusting in God and is a sin.

In book of Joshua, God says to the new leader of the Israelites: "Have I not commanded you to be strong?"

God has put me here for a reason and kept me alive in some of the most improbable situations - always deciding it was not my time to go.

I see this as a sign to keep going and to do the work here without worry.

Only God knows the number of my days, and has given me more than I deserve.
J.D. emailed me today with the word that he had gotten that post, and the corresponding pictures, up on his site; until that, I hadn't known that he had taken any photos, nor did I know how close a call he had endured during that mortar attack.

I had one of my own during the same incident

That was my last morning there on the Forward Operating Base; I was still sleeping after just coming back in from the Combat Outpost, out of which I had worked several successive 24-hour shifts going on missions - late the night before. I remember feeling a giant concussion while I was sleeping, which shook the room I was in and woke me (albeit briefly). My immediate thoughts were that either (a) the barracks had been hit, or (b) the Army had just moved their artillery battery into our (J.D.'s and my) room. Deciding there wasn't a dang thing I could do about it either way, I rolled over and went back to sleep.

On my way out later that morning, I learned that during the attack that almost took J.D. out on the street, a mortar had indeed hit our barracks, just a couple doors down from our room.

Talk about it not being your time to go...

I truly believe that people like him, and people like myself, have so much more to do on the ground in Iraq. If you agree, then please consider chipping in a bit of change to help make such reporting happen. Without reader support, most embedd assignments are impossible to undertake - and most stories which need to get to the people back here will never make it out of Iraq.

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