We were finally in the Shit. The first mission since training had begun. Never thought the day would come, but the Osprey's load ramp was lowering down onto the top of some building in the middle of the Pyongyang. The staff sergeant was prepping his M4A1 carbine before he looked up at the rest of us.
"Get some!" He shouted. "Move, move! Get out of this fuckin' bird! GO, GO!"
The ramp hit the deck and we ran off. The rotor-wash whipped dust and small flyers around; looking back at the Osprey I could see sparks from incoming rounds. The bird was taking a lot of fire from the building across the street from the DPRK Korean People's Army Ground Forces. Probably just NKorea Type-68 AKM-copies. The ramp went back up on the Osprey and the engines droned for power to get off the deck.
"Heavy-MG! Three o'clock!" A Corporal shouted.
Thirty light rifles and medium machine-guns opened up on the heavy machine-gun but it was too late; the Russian NSV heavy machine-gun opened up on the cockpit of the Osprey, killing both the pilot and the copilot. One of the body's must have hit something because the MV-22C started spinning violently. The vertical tail clipped a building and then the left rotor blade, the cockpit spun around the rest of the way and slammed into the building. The multi-mission, V/STOL tilt-rotor aircraft exploded glass, concrete and mechanical parts all over the place in an amazing fireball as the wreck lodged itself into the side of the building and ceased all movement.
Small arms fire raked the rooftop as my radio operator radioed in that the Osprey was down; I raised my Saco-Defense M60E4 on a target and pumped 7.62mm rounds into the KPA soldier. The private next to me fired off a burst from his M-16A4 assault rifle that hit a KPA soldier and sent him tumbling headfirst out a window and towards the ground.
Two Marines busted down the doors that led to the main stairwell of the building as we covered the buildings that had good sniper positions, but that was just about everywhere. This particular roof wasn't the most ideal place to insert us, the tallest friggin' building in the city would've been better. That way the enemy couldn't shoot down on us, for which, instead, we would have had the tactical advantage of the high ground.
"Watch for booby-traps!" Someone bellowed the warning.
"I think those are my girlfriend's, Sir." I shouted back. "They're nice and big. I loose stuff in 'em all the time."
We were under fire but everyone within range started chuckling and grinning.
"Everyone get inside, sweep and clear! GO!" The SSgt. shouted.
We moved single-file into the building as the rate of 7.62x39mm ComBloc raining down on us increased; the communists really had it in for us.
I took point, leading my Marines down the stairwell to the first closed door. That's where I pulled an M67 fragmentation grenade from my webbing and removed the pin, holding the spoon down as my wingman kicked in the door. The rest of the line was already moving down the stairs to clear the next levels.
"Frag-oh!" I bellowed.
One-Mississippi: the door comes off of its hinges from the force of the impact, a fresh boot print on it.
Two-Mississippi: Smiley, or my little yellow-colored fragmentation grenade with a smiley-face, flies into the room, saying hello to anyone there.
Three-Mississippi: Smiley hits the deck and an audible clang can be heard from the spoon popping off, a safety feature to all modern U.S. grenades.
Four-Mississippi: some communist bastard yells out in Korean, signaling for his buddies to get down. He's cut off only a half-second after the spoon pops off. And, there's a boom.
The grenade explodes, sending little yellow pieces of shrapnel zipping into bodies, walls and out windows to dig into buildings across the street, and we rush into the room, guns ablaze. Only one KPA soldier stood as opposition, near the window, looking at all of his dead buddies before looking up to find my Pig opening up with a can of 7.62mm NATO whoop-ass. The M61-Armor Piercing rounds cut right through his body and knocked him back against the breaking glass; it gave way and he fell out.
"Damn." I said.
The private with me opened up on targets in the building across the street with tri-bursts from his M-16, shattering more windows and killing more KPA soldiers. I slammed my hand down on his shoulder and we continued to clear the floor, only moving back to the stairwell and continuing down after finding no tangos.
The SSgt. voice came over the COMM system; "Building clear! Move to the ground floor and regroup!"
"Three-Seventeen and Three-Eleven, Wilco!" I radioed back.
We trooped down the stairs and Butcher joined the group on the way down. First Sergeant (Informally 'Top', used with permission only) Butch Haggard was usually my wingman, especially when we're the first ones in, but he must've gotten caught up, which would explain why I got Private Jerold "Vendetta" Says, or MAR-0311, instead.
"What the hell, Psycho. You dropped that commie out the window almost on my head." Butcher bitched.
"What the hell were you stickin' your head out the window for, Butch?" I asked with a chuckle. "Hell with worryin' about bodies. If the pigeons shit on you I think you'll be slightly more pissed off."
Vendetta laughed aloud as we came up on the ground floor, the lobby was filled with barricaded windows and firing machine-guns.
"Psycho, go check the basement for tangos, Lyles and Wilcox forgot that room." The SSgt. bellowed.
"Wilco, Sergeant!" I shouted.
I could've said no, being a Captain and all, but I was always in for a good fight. Combat was in my blood now, I was happy with it too.
Says stayed behind and setup his firing position as Butcher followed me towards the basement, the door was unlocked and I opened it to find all the lights on. I looked back at Butcher and tapped my helmet, signaling to him to turn his FLIR on. A loud explosion from outside gave me a perfect opportunity to switch off the lights. The amount of communist chatter below picked up dramatically.
Butcher un-holstered his silenced Heckler & Koch HK45T .45 ACP handgun and I pulled out my Ka-Bar fighting/utility knife. It was about to get messy. Butcher went down the rest of the stairs and I went over the top rail to find my first victim. His job was just to cover me, if I missed a tango or one spotted me he would insert silent death into the KPA soldier's life.
I came up on a communist soldier who was messing with a backup generator and roughly put my hand over his mouth, bringing him up and dragging the sharp blade across his throat. Only the pitter-patter of blood dripping off of mechanical parts could be heard as I dragged the body into a corner. I looked around to find Butcher, he was still near the base of the stairs, but he had three fingers up, before giving me the thumbs-down signal.
Three live tangos in the room, and as far as they were concerned, they still owned the building. They've got a very bad communications network, to say the least.
I continued on; the last three tangos were all sitting around a table with a flashlight, looking at charts or maps or something. I switch from FLIR to my night vision and motioned to Butch, giving him countdown fingers from three before moving in. I took one KPA officer and shoved the Ka-Bar into his back at the abdomen, he cried out in pain as his buddies turned around, one dropped almost instantly, the other only two seconds later. I removed the knife and slit the soldier's throat to shut him up; the blood from his carotid arteries sprayed the table. The beauty and curse of war. That would be Death.
"Damn." Butcher said simply.
Not a moment after he spoke a gunshot rang out and I was on the deck. I could hear that iconic automatic fire from the AK-copies that were being fired towards us. The rogue sound of an MAR-16C assault rifle's 6.8mm Remington SPC ammunition pierced the 7.62x39mm ballet.
"Contact; three, right! Get up, ********!" Butcher shouted.
I was up in a flash, literally. I took the ComBloc round in the left shoulder, well, between the shoulder and the lung, but the feeling of pain over the adrenaline was just starting to set in. A big thank-you goes out to the Marine Corps Raider-Actual, Individual Defensive, Elite Marine Retrofitting program and biological testing.
I pulled Smiley's little brother from my webbing and underhanded it towards the communist soldiers' position after having pulled the pin from the M67. Smiley's little brother did exactly like it was supposed to. The spoon popped off when the impact disengaged the spring-tension, thus freeing the spring-loaded firing pin which snapped over onto the percussion cap, lighting the time-delayed fuze which was followed up by a 4-second wait and then a brilliant and loud explosion that filled the air with Comp-B propelled shrapnel.
"Oh, that's a shame. The Corps machine is damaged." Butcher said, noticing the blood from my wound. "They're gonna be pissed. A damaged machine costs money to repair, and limits the combat potential of the rest of the unit."
"Could be worse." I said, slightly grinning. "I could be goin' off in a body bag."
We both started laughing; a real sick joke, to say the least. But, then we started grinning.
"San-a-tarium! Leave me be! San-a-tarium! Just leave me alone." We both sang quietly.
The 1986 hit from Metallica was something we enjoyed, probably would until the day we died.