Rani Lakshmibai

Anna Komemne – Welcome to another wonderful episode of Minimum Wage Historian. I’m your temporary host, Anna Komemne; first woman historian and a Byzantine princess. Top that if you can. Zach isn’t here today. He’s working on two stories at once and our guest has distracted him with a kitchen full of curry. That’s perfectly alright because I’ve assembled the ladies today for a male-free special edition.
Mulan – I’m here.
Tomoe Gozen – I, Tomoe Gozen, concubine of Minamoto no Yoshinaka, am here to help in any way that befits my honor.
Buffalo Calf Road – Hi, I’m a Cheyenne warrior.
Mulan – Don’t be modest. Who’d you kill?
Buffalo – General Armstrong- I’m a woman and child killing douche- Custer!
Mulan – That’s right sister.
Tomoe – According to the schedule Princess Komemne, the guest is a woman named Rani Lakshmibai. I do not know who this is.
Anna – Well, we’re about to find out.

A kick butt Indian woman fighting ‘the man!’ Curry, Bollywood and sword action!

Anna – Lakshmi Bai, the Rani of Jhansi, was born in 1835 and her father was the equivalent of a the prime minister. This gave her more power than most women. She was free to become educated as she chose with ample amounts of sword fighting, horsemanship and archery.
Mulan – A proper education.
Buffalo – She also formed a small personal army of women, mostly her friends at court.
Anna – She was then wed to Raja Gangadhar Rao Newalkar, king of Jhansi and so she became the queen. It was a kingdom in the Maratha Empire which fought a 27 year war against the Moguls and reestablished Hindu rule in India. By all accounts he they liked each other and she bore a son, but fate is cruel and the son soon died. They said the husband’s heart was broken and he died just a few years later.
Buffalo – I don’t like this story.
Anna – Hold on a moment. Before he died, they adopted a boy and declared him their heir. Everything should have been fine.
Tomoe – But heroes are not born from pleasant, idle times.
Anna – No they are not.

Beautiful, yes, but it was her intelligence and will that made her truly awesome.

Anna – The British East India Company controlled almost all of India and they made some bogus rule that if a royal family doesn’t have an heir, the Company inherits the land.
Mulan – But they did have an heir.
Anna – The East India Company refused to accept her adopted son as an heir and moved in to take the country.
Buffalo – Hold on. How can a company just come in and take a country? That’s like Sears moving into South Dakota and naming it “The State of Sears.”
Anna – That isn’t an inaccurate statement about how the East India Company operated. They had their own army and would move in and take over the local governments. They were their own country.

Think Raven Wood and Jennings and Rall from the show “Jericho.” Basically the army, government and corporation is all wrapped up into one. (very cyberpunk!)

Anna – So the East India Company comes in and tells Lakshmibai to take some money and get out.
Mulan – They ordered her to leave her own home? Who do they think they are?
Buffalo – Absolute power with no controls.
Anna – She didn’t obey them and the British didn’t have time to deal with her because a rebellion broke out, the Indian Rebellion of 1857 or the First War of Indian Independence. With all the chaos going on in the country, Lakshmibai used her army to quell uprisings against her and assure her people that everything would be fine. Everything was fine until the East India Company showed up and laid siege to her city and fort. She held out for a long time but a traitor kept the relief force from arriving.
Tomoe – Honorless Etta! Traitors are cowards.
Anna – The British eventually broke through but Lakshmibai and her body guard of women warriors escaped during the night. Her and her ragtag army joined with other rebel armies and began to fight for their independence.
Buffalo – I can’t blame them. Doesn’t seem like East India Company rule was working out too well for them.

British have a bad habit of oppressing natives and colonists. It didn’t work out too well for them in the long run.

Anna – They went on to fight more battles and winning control of a fort. By all accounts she fought in full armor and kit.

Zach – Sorry that my digital art pad is busted or I’d totally draw this woman in full armor. Here’s a picture of Indian armor. Now imagine a beautiful woman in it. You get the idea.

Anna – The British surrounded the fort and attacked. General Sir Hugh Rose was wounded in the battle and praised Lakshibai as the most dangerous rebel commander.
Buffalo – This sounds familiar.

The idea of a princess fighting as a rebel against an oppressive government is absurd.

Anna – And this is where the history gets hazzy I’m afraid. Some say she was killed in the battle but no body was discovered. A British general claimed that she was still alive. No one knows.
Mulan – She lost? After all that fighting she looses?
Anna – Not quite. Because of the rebellion the British government takes a second look at the Company and breaks it up.
Buffalo – She stuck it to the man!
Tomoe – She fought with honor and moved her game pieces to achieve victory.
Anna – During the later Indian War of Independence, Rani Ladshmibai was a folk hero and an inspiration.

An awesome Hindu ruler who stood up to an evil corporation (occupy India?) and fought for what she believed in. And as someone pointed out, any excuse to show a beautiful woman with a weapon.

Galla Placidia

Zach – Welcome back to Minimum Wage Historian where we make history cool again. Today we have a special guest with us.
Anna – Of course she’s special, she’s a fellow Roman!
Zach – There’s only a five hundred years difference between you.
Anna – Irrelevant.
Zach – Well, our guest today is none other than Galla Placidia! Empress of Rome!

Galla Placidia went to the mall and had a quick mosaic done of her at one of those booths.

( A well dressed Roman woman walks out on stage, waves and takes a seat next to Zach’s desk. )
Zach – I must say that you’re one of our best dressed guests ever.
Galla – Why thank you. You’re too kind. But most of your guests are wearing armor…or their Russians.
Zach – That is true.
Anna – I must admit that I’ve been a long time admirer of you for a rather long time.
Galla – Because we were both born in Constantinople?
Anna – We both know what it’s like to be born to Imperial dignity. We’ve both been educated in the Greek and Latin classics. We were some of the most intelligent women in the world during our time.
Galla – True, true.
Zach – So, Galla, I must say that you lived a very interesting life! You were alive as the world was changing around you! Let’s see…you witnessed your father making Christianity into the only official religion of the Roman Empire. You lived through a major turning point in history!
Galla – Yes, times changed greatly in my life. My father, Valentiian II, was the last emperor to rule over a united Roman Empire. And by the end of my recorded life…I read this in a book, the Roman Empire was permanently divided. When I was four my lousy brother Honorius was proclaimed as Augustus. I remember the endless ceremonies and parade through the streets. I wore a gorgeous golden robe and my mother, also named Galla, was standing beside me wearing purple. She died a year later. Then a year after that, my father died.
Anna – I’m so sorry.
Galla – I remember that me and Honorius were quickly sent to Milan to see him one last time before he died.
Zach – Here did that leave you?
Galla – It left me in the care of General Stilicho, his wife Serena, my cousin. They weren’t the most caring, but they did give me a proper education and made sure I was brought up a good, pious Christian. We lived in Milan until we moved to Ravenna, the new capitol.
Anna – Did you like it in Ravenna?
Galla – Oh, yes. I loved it there. I loved the smell of the ocean.
Zach – I’m afraid that Ravenna is landlocked now. It’s not on the shore anymore.
Galla – How appalling!
Zach – Sorry. But you can learn more about Modern Ravenna later.
Galla – Well, the good General wasn’t in a rush to get me married. He was holding out for his own son or someone who could meet impossible expectations. The Roman girl could be married at age twelve. I was 21 when I was married.
Zach – Tell us about that! Who was he and how did you two meet?
Galla – In the usual way I suppose. His name was Athaulf and he was king of the Visigoths, the western branch of the Goths.

Athaulf, King of Visigoths and author of “How to pick up women the Visigoth way.”

Zach – Did he wear white make up, eye liner and black nail polish and listen to Craddle of Filth?
Galla – Umm….no…not really.
Anna – Ignore him. He’s stupid. Do go on. How did you and a Visigoth king meet? Was it a romantic arranged marriage?
Galla – He brought in his army and sacked Rome. It was a horrible time. In those days the generals gave a traditional three days to loot and pillage as they pleased. I feared for me life. He took me with him as a prize. I traveled with him for three years, the entire time I was trying to make him see Rome as a friend, not a place to raid and pillage. I also converted him to Orthodoxy and not his Arianism.

Galla’s husband was one happy Goth! Maybe Galla was a good cook or let him have the remote?

Anna – Oh, dear. What was it like married to a barbarian?
Galla – It took some getting used to, but it wasn’t so bad. When traveling I had a large tent and we often slept in palaces…that he took over.
Zach – So, you married this Visigoth king, converted him to Orthodoxy because he wasn’t Christian enough and then made him make nice nice with the remains of the Roman Empire.
Galla – Yes, that sums it up. The Roman army wasn’t fond of us and chased us all the way to Spain where we settled in Barcelona. There I gave birth to a son, but he died as well.
Anna – I’m so sorry.
Galla – I wish I could say that was the end of my woes.
Zach – You’ve already been kidnapped and experienced so much death. What else could go wrong?
Galla – My husband was betrayed and murdered. The ursurper treated me as a prisoner and paraded me around like a trophy! However, returning me to the Romans would make friends with the Empire so I was finally released to return home to Ravenna.
Anna – All’s well that ends well.
Galla – But it isn’t over yet. My rat brother then forced me to marry one of his generals! I used this time to build up my political contacts though. I also bore him two children, Flavius Valentinian III who would later become emperor of the Western Empire and Justa Grata Honoria. But then Honorius banished me because me and my children were a threat to him.
Zach – What a douche.
Galla – Yes, he was a “douche” as you call it.

A famous painting by Waterhouse where Honorius feeds the birds and doesn’t care that the empire was loosing England. What a natural leader!

Anna – Where did you go?
Galla – I fled to Constantinople where I had relatives that would help me. I lived there only a short year until Honorius had the decency to die. The throne was empty so I went back to Ravenna and my son, who was just a small boy, proclaimed emperor.
Zach – How could he be emperor if he’s only four years old?
Galla – Simple, I ruled. I was the head of the roman empire for twelve years and then I ruled jointly with my son.
Anna – You were sole ruler of the Roman Empire for twelve years? Impressive by anyone standards.
Galla – My son liked to live in Rome but I preferred Ravenna. I built many churches there.
Zach – Actually, your Mausoleum is still standing there!
Galla – It wasn’t meant for me. I brought my son’s silver casket from Spain and placed it there.

Trust me, it’s much better looking on the inside!

Zach – You have quite the story. Imperial princess, survived the sack of Rome, kidnapped by barbarians, two marriages, exile and finally you became the Empress of Rome, the most powerful nation on Earth. But, we’re not finished. Galla Placidia, we have a surprise for you.
Galla – A surprise?
Zach – Today in this studio, we have a living ancestor of yours!
Galla – Dear me! They traced their lineage all the way back to me?
Zach – Are you ready to know who it is?
Galla – I believe so.
Zach – It’s me! I’m your descendant! We’ve traced my family all the way back to you in a direct line.
Galla – That is amazing!
Zach – Well, half of Europe can probably trace their family directly back to you, but we won’t let that spoil the mood! Let’s celebrate!
Anna – Should I go warm up some pizzas?
Zach – No, we’re doing this in style! We’re ordering Chinese Take out! General Tso’s Chicken, here we come!
Galla – Order extra egg rolls.

Ninjas (For those of you who have no interest in pirates.)

Zach – Yes, you read that title correctly and it should explain it all. Today we’ll be discussing ninjas or as they’re sometimes called, Shinobi!
Anna – Wait, is this a legitimate topic of history?
Zach – Absolutely! Ninjas were real, they took part in historical events, were documented and kicked serious booty.

Ninjas are a universal symbol for awesomeness. They even survived the outbreak of those horrible 80′s ninja movies with their coolness intact.

Tomoe Gozen – Yes, ninja were very useful in certain roles, but they had no honor.
Zach – We’ll see about that. But before we get to that, let’s introduce our panel. As you can see we have Anna Komemne, first woman historian, Tomoe Gozen, woman samurai. Buffalo Calf Road, woman warrior and killer of Custer. Von Clausewitz, author of “On War.” And then we have Napoleon.
Napoleon- Where is my proper introduction?
Zach – Um…you don’t need one.
Napoleon – And rightly so!
Anna – Ninja were such mysterious warriors. I do not even know where to begin!
Clausewitz – Vay, fraulin, Ve begin vith ze definition. What is this ninja?
Tomoe Gozen – Ninjas were cowardly spies and assassins that snuck around and struck from the shadows instead of facing their opponent in honest combat.
Zach – A biased definition but it does get to the heart of the matter. Ninjas were highly trained professional spies, assassins, saboteurs and raiders. They mastered the art of disguise in order to sneak into enemy territory and accomplish their mission.
Napoleon – They sneak around in the black pajamas?
Zach – Not quite, though at some times they may have. Most times they were wearing costumes that would allow them to blend in and move about in the open and without suspicion.

There’s a ninja in this picture. Can you spot him? These zen monks went around playing flutes with baskets on their heads. Perfect cover for a ninja.

Though they did sometimes wear black clothing like this:

Ninja taking a pleasant stroll. It’s part of their training. One girl ninja and two male ninja? It’s a Ninja romantic triangle!

Zach – Ninja did the jobs that samurai were too honorable for. They would sneak into enemy castles and gather intelligence. During the Shimabara revolt when the peasants were trapped inside a castle, ninja were sent in to find out how close the rebels were to starving. The ninja slipped in dressed as peasants, captured one of their Christian flags and escaped in a hail of gunfire and arrows in a truly awesome manner.
Tomoe – Yes, but in that same revolt, it was the ninja that stole most of the rebels’ food!
Anna – I do suppose that was their skills at sabotage at work.
Zach – That’s right. They’re famous for going into enemy castles and causing confusion and setting fires.
Buffalo – Oh, I do like these ninjas! They understand the importance of stealth and surprise. Sometimes attacking head on isn’t the best option.
Clausewitz – They fulfilled a military role that is necessary in any var. They are like your Special Forces, yes?
Zach – In a way, yes. They fulfill a similar role as our Navy Seals do today.
Anna – I’ve been researching this a little. In the fourteenth century Chronicle, Nanbokucho Wars, it talks about Shinobi setting fire to a shrine where the enemy were held up.
Zach – That did become their specialty, sneaking into fortified locations where Samurai couldn’t get to and creating openings for the army.
Napoleon – Yes, yes. I did a little reading also. These ninja, they from two different clans?
Zach – Mostly. Some samurai clans trained their own ninja-like warriors, but there were two great ninja clans in the mountains that owned land and had a noble hierarchy just as any samurai clan would. When the other clans developed their bushi into samurai, these two clans, the Koga and Iga, developed into ninja. Also, they didn’t owe loyalty to any Shogun or emperor, they were mercenaries, the only example of mercenaries in mainland Japan.
Buffalo – They hired out their services to whoever was willing to pay, but the Koga and Iga were rivals. So when one group joined one side, the other joined the other side. Like the Lakota and Crow, bitter rivals.

Inside a typical ninja village. Everything seems normal, but you tick off the locals and they’ll break out with all kinds of mad weapons. (Why so many ninja weapons look like farming tools.)

Tomoe – The cowardly ninja even tried to assassinate Lord Oda Nobunaga! They failed of course. No ninja could assassinate a warrior such as him! Nobunaga then in 1581, he invaded the lands of Iga and destroyed them. They had field battles where the ninja fought as samurai and lost.
Zach – He didn’t destroy the Iga, he chased them off and into the open arms of Ieyasu Tokugawa. The Koga, also seeing that their future wasn’t bright with Nobunaga, joined up with Tokugawa and so he had both mighty ninja clans watching his back.

She can have my back any day. (smack!) What? What did I say? (Anna glares at Zach)

Napoleon – It would seem foolish to me to anger such professional killers.
Clauswitz – Like you angered the Russians?
Napoleon – That was not the same! I took Moscow!
Buffalo – Enough you two. Back to Ninjas. Tokugawa used his ninjas like the U.S. Cavalry used Indian scouts. During the Sekigahara campaign, the ninja helped hold a castle against the enemy, gathered information on enemy troop movements, harassed besiegers and even saved general Naomasa’s life when he was wounded by a gun shot. Tokugawa was so impressed by them that he held a special memorial service for the dead ninja. I wish the Americans treated their Indian allies half as well.
Anna – I found an interesting story. A few years later after Sekigahara, Tokugawa’s last enemy was held up in Osaka Castle, the one that keeps getting destroyed by Godzilla, and the Samurai were attacking the castle. They were loosing badly because of the defenders’ gunfire. A ninja commander by the name of Miura Yo’emon ordered his own gunners (ninjas liked guns) to open fire on his ally samurai. This caused the pinned down samurai to attack to their rear and get out of the deadly crossfire.
Tomoe – This saved face because a samurai does not retreat. They succeed or they die. Ninja do not have this belief.

They’d do all kinds of crazy stuff to accomplish their mission like jumping off of castles and drinking a gallon of milk in a minute.

Zach – Now let’s be fair. Ninja did have a code of honor. They would do anything to get the mission accomplished and they went on suicidal raids for the honor of their clan. Their honor depended on getting the job done, now how it was done. When a ninja went on a mission, they went prepared to die. They didn’t follow Bushido, but they did have a similar code.

Ninja doing their thing: which is kick butt and take names.

Clausewitz – I must say that I am very interested in vat veapons and equipment they used.
Zach – They used katanas like the samurai, but they also used shorter, straight swords called a “ninjato.” The hilt was broad and square so it could be used as a step to get over walls. The ninja would plant the sword in the ground and tie a chord from the sword to his foot. Then when he was up over the wall, he would pull up his sword with his foot. Also the sheath had a hole at the end to use as a breathing tube for hiding in the water or blowing darts. Ninjas loved to use poison, gas, black powder bombs and guns.
Tomoe – They used such toys to avoid an honorable fight!
Anna – But remember Tomoe, it was the samurai who hired them to do those things.
Tomoe – I would never resort to such low acts.
(Mulan sticks her head into the room.)
Mulan – You guys done talking about those lame ninja and those even lamer samurai?
Tomoe – When I am done here I will fight you for this dishonor!
Mulan – Bring it.
(Mulan leaves.)

Ninja also wore armor under their clothing. They weren’t fools. This is an example from one of Japan’s Ninja museums. Yes, Japan is so cool they have friggin’ ninja museums.

Zach – Ninja also had all sorts of equipment such as portable rope ladders, grappling hooks, shurikens (ninja stars) and whatever else the mission might need.

The Kusarigama, a weapon that they’d use to trip or catch your arm with the chain and then stab you with the sickle blade. It was tricksy and not very nice.

Anna – So, in closing, ninja were professional, special forces, mercenaries that specialized in infiltration and being where they shouldn’t be.
Tomoe – They had their uses, but no honor.
Buffalo – I like ninjas! I think we’d have a lot in common. Me and Hattori Hanzo sneaking into an American fort and setting off their gunpowder!
Clausewitz – Who is this Hattori Hanzo?
Napoleon – Pfff! You do not know? Ha! I laugh at you.
Anna – Okay, who is he, Napoleon?
Napoleon – Umm…well…he is…He’s a ninja?
Zach – So sad. He was the most famous ninja ever.  Go look him up everyone. Well, I hope you all now have a better idea just how cool ninjas were. They weren’t some anime freak with large hair and tons of buckles in his outfit, they were real men and women that were highly trained and excelled at what they did to a degree that their legend isn’t just continuing, it’s growing.

Alien vs Ninja, that’s how awesome they are.

Abu Ghraib Attack

This pretty much sums up my war time experience.

Zach – Welcome to a personal edition of Minimum Wage Historian.
Anna – Personal? How so?
Zach – As some of you may have noticed, we do a lot of posts about military history. Also, if you’ve been paying attention, you know that I was in the Army National Guard. I served two tours over in the Mid-East. The first tour, and the subject of this post is the attack on Abu Ghraib by insurgent forces. To help us discuss this battle and understand the personal and the larger story, we have a few people who have seen battle as well. We have Hua Mulan: woman soldier from China, Charles Martel: Frankish war lord. Countess Matilda of Tuscany: Medieval mercenary for the Pope and Buffalo Calf Road, woman warrior of the Cheyenne that killed Custer. Thank you all for coming today.
Mulan – No problem. This is something we can all share We’re united in the brotherhood…and sisterhood of people who have faced the dragon.
Martel – Indeed. It is something that changes a person once it is experienced can never be forgotten.
Buffalo – There’s always a price to pay. Some, like my husband, pay with their lives and others pay in a much more subtle way that even their close friends might not notice.
Matilda – Personal sacrifice of many different shades.
Zach – Thank you. To start off with, I will recount my experience during the night of April 2nd, 2005. I will also relate stories as I’ve heard them. What I am about to tell you is true as far as I can possibly make it. As a historian we are always faced with the fact hat history is always biased. Someone wrote history and that person is imperfect. He got his information from imperfect sources and also, even our very memory of the experiences can be imperfect. I will try to be as factual as I can while changes names and units.

I was originally in a field artillery unit. I knew how to fire the big guns. 155mm howitzers. But then we were called up to go to Iraq as Military Police. I thought “Cool! We won’t have to haul around giant, back breaking guns all day!” My optimism was misplaced. We didn’t have to haul cannons around, but we had to do everything else. During that stage of the Iraq war, MP was a catch all phrase that meant “you’ll do anything we tell you to do.” We ran convoys, stood guard in towers, transported detainees and whatever else. Mostly I was a tower guard and prisoner transporter. It wasn’t fun and the weather was killer. Literally. 130 degree heat. That’s hot.
Matilda – I think my chain mail would have melted!
Mulan – My armor got very hot. Did you wear armor?
Zach – As a matter of fact I did. I had a helmet and an IBA, a bullet proof breastplate. And yes, it got VERY hot under my armor. Also, I carried a SAW. (Squad Automatic Weapon.)

That's my baby! I called her "Big Medicine." A pain in the butt to haul around, but in a fire fight it's your best friend.

So, I got off my shift around noon on April Second. I had been manning towers and patrolling the prisoner compound. 13 hour shifts. (counting guard mount) So I went back to my cell and…
Martel – Wait, cell? Like a monk?
Zach – No, we slept in the old prison area in cells. So I go back to my tiny closet sized hooch, take a shower, chill and write in my book.

Home Sweet home!

Anna – You were writing during the war?
Zach – I wrote three or four books during that first deployment. Well, it was my night off so I figured I’d stay up a little later than usual. So eventually I lay my head down and begin to fall asleep. No sooner had I done that when I hear an explosion, a mortar by the sound of it.
Anna – What’s a mortar?
Zach – Think of it as a bomb launcher that shoots very high and it comes down on top of the enemy.
Matilda – Ah! Perfect for fortifications!
Zach – Exactly. Abu Ghraib looked like a castle. Let me see if I can bring up a picture for you.

Here's a corner tower. High walls and guard towers manned by Marines with machine guns.

I didn’t think anything of the explosion because we got bombed every day. I figured, if I heard it, I’m still alive. So I closed my eyes and went back to sleep. Then there was another explosion. “Boy, these guys are persistent today!” I thought. But then there was another explosion and another. Then I hear gun fire and machine guns going off followed by more explosions! Okay, now I now this aint normal. So I jump out of bed throw on my pants, boots, armor helmet, grabbed my SAW and ammo and ran down stairs to a little covered meeting area we had.

Me and "Big Medicine" in the covered area. (A dramatic recreation!)

This is me and my clone. I'm on the right. You can tell us apart by the guns and the goggles.

I find several other soldiers gathered there, some in their gym clothes with their armor and weapons. All we hear are explosions and gunfire. None of us know what the heck is going on. Then I hear a corporal say “They got Humvees over there. Let’s mount up and go see what we got to do!”
Sounded like a plan so I follow this corporal (a former Marine and really cool guy) and we come across several parked Humvees that were getting ready to head out. So, I jump in one of them and close the door.
Suddenly I hear “Zach! What are you doing here?” I turn to the driver and see that it’s my good friend Cappello! I’ve known this guy since High School and he was stationed down south.
“What are you doing here?” I ask.
“I came up on convoy.”
“Great timing.”
Then the door opens up and another friend jumps in. (His code name is “Hardcore” who makes an appearance in “Uprising: Italia” one of my books.) So Hardcore looks around and says:
“What are you guys doing here?”
“I don’t know!” Cappello says. “Is this normal here?”
“Oh, heck no!” I say.
Now, you must understand that in the Army, no joke gets old. Me and Hardcore were always speaking in a cliche Italian accent and Hardcore did it even more when Cappello was around.
“No!” Shouts Hardcore. “This is not like the Italian Army!”
“We only eat the cheese and eat the spicy meat ball!” I respond.
About 70% of all conversation between the three of us was in the cartoon Italian accent for the remainder of the battle. So we take our humvee out of our small compound and out into the larger Abu Ghraib compound. What we see is a setting sun and pillars of smoke rising up all over the place. We drive to the front gate and help support them there. A passing officer makes me give up half my ammo for the SAW gunners in the towers.
Meanwhile….
A certain First sergent, attached to our platoon but not from our unit, is going around telling people to get back inside and get in proper uniform.
Martel – He did realize that this was a surprise attack, right?”
Zach – Oh, I’m sure he did, but he didn’t care. To him, combat was the secondary importance and proper uniform was the real purpose of the military!
Mulan – I would have had his head cut off.
Zach – Hold on, it gets worse. The tower gunners are running low on ammo so a bunch of our boys go to the armory and find it locked. So they break in and begin loading up humvees with ammo to take to the fight that’s raging all around us. Here comes good ole First Sergent and starts yelling at them that they can’t take the ammo or the Humvees because they hadn’t signed for it. I don’t know who this was but I’d give him a medal, this one soldier basically says, “Forget you!”
The First Sergent gets angry and demands his name and number, so the soldier gives him both and tells him that if he has a problem to come see him after the battle.
Matilda – I think decapitation is too easy a punishment for someone as stupid as that.
Buffalo – What I don’t understand is, what was this Sargent thinking? Did he not understand what a battle is? I think he suffered from the same madness Custer did. He cared more about appearances and order than actual fighting ability.
Zach – That may be so. Meanwhile, my twin brother was in a tower guarding the detainee compound 4 when all this went down.

When everything starts blowing up, he is ordered down into a bunker. There’s an unused gate about fifty yards from his position and him and one other soldier, “Pee Wee” are there to guard it…and that’s it. Also, an RPG landed a few feet from my twin and didn’t blow up. The next day the whole prison was littered with unexploded ordinance.
If you look up on Youtube, “Abu Ghraib, April 2nd, 2005,” you’ll find a video of one of the watch towers under attack. Towards the end of the video you see a massive explosion rock the whole prison. It was a truck that had been loaded up with explosives and was trying to blow a hole in the wall, but the idiots detonated it too soon and it didn’t take down the wall. Good thing too because if they had, they would have let all the detainees out and that would have been a whole other mess.

This is the sign that hung in front of Camp 4.

No Americans were killed though many were wounded. My Sergent went outside the walls with a small group of Marines, Army and even a few Air Force guys and were chucking grenades at the enemy. The Marines were manning the towers and holding the enemy off. Official reports say there were 60-80 insurgent attackers. Bull crap. The next day they found a hundred dead bodies that had been dragged into a nearby mosque. 100 + however many it takes to haul that many bodies and you’ll get your magic number there.

The bottom right corner of the prison is where the truck bomb went off. At the bottom center where it says CP, that's where I was. My Twin was at the bulge on the middle right.

After nightfall I remember the Apache helicopters coming. I could hear their chain guns going off. It was like the cavalry had arrived.
One of my friends codenamed “Jiujitsu Master” was in the central control building, a small wooden office building that coordinated the entire prison. A mortar landed so close that it blew out all the windows. He stayed there relaying information and keeping things organized and running. Did he get a metal? No. He absolutely deserved one.
I could have gotten my Action Combat Badge, an award to put on my uniform, but it was too much red tape and I just didn’t care about it. Our leaders were supposed to do that for us. The New York unit of MP’s all got theirs and one of our Lieutenants got a purple heart for getting hit in the face with a dirt clod…that didn’t even break the skin. Go Army.
But that day was quite a day. I’ll never forget it or the brave men and women that were with me. Every April 2nd I remember this day and go over in my thoughts the events that happened there.
I dedicate this post to the men that were with me, Hardcore, Cappello Jujitsu Master, my Twin, and so many others that it would take all day to list them and their stories. And all the soldiers across time and the world. We all share a fraternity that few others will understand. I’ll end with the words of “The Poet.” (Shakespere, btw)
This is from his “Henry V’

This day is call’d the feast of Crispian.
He that outlives this day, and comes safe home,
Will stand a tip-toe when this day is nam’d,
And rouse him at the name of Crispian.
He that shall live this day, and see old age,
Will yearly on the vigil feast his neighbours,
And say ‘To-morrow is Saint Crispian.’
Then will he strip his sleeve and show his scars,
And say ‘These wounds I had on Crispian’s day.’
Old men forget; yet all shall be forgot,
But he’ll remember, with advantages,
What feats he did that day. Then shall our names,
Familiar in his mouth as household words-
Harry the King, Bedford and Exeter,
Warwick and Talbot, Salisbury and Gloucester-
Be in their flowing cups freshly rememb’red.
This story shall the good man teach his son;
And Crispin Crispian shall ne’er go by,
From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be remembered-
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne’er so vile,
This day shall gentle his condition;
And gentlemen in England now-a-bed
Shall think themselves accurs’d they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin’s day.

Yes, someone graffitied "Dropkick Murphy's" over Saddam Hussein. PUNK ROCK!!