On Scope by Jack Coughlin
THE AFTERNOON SUN was motionless in the scalding sky, and Staff Sergeant Kyle Swanson, wedged between the floorboards of a decapitated two-story house, cautiously wiped sweat from his eyes with a dirty handkerchief. A hundred and ten degrees out there, with more to come; heat merciless enough to bake a plate of cookies or sear a manâ€™s soul. He drank some warm water, then returned his aching eye to the telescopic sight of his 7.62 x 51 mm M-40 sniper rifle. Far away was gunfire. He had been in the hide since before daybreak, part of a deadly anvil on which a huge hammer was about to slam down as part of Operation Phantom Fury. If everything went right, the insurgent forces that controlled this dusty city beside the Euphrates River were about to receive a crippling body blow.
More than two hundred armored vehicles of the United States Marine Corps had just crossed the start line to the east, accompanied by some two thousand Marines and soldiers of other Coalition countries. Judging by the increasing volume of gunfire, the insurgents had been ready for them, but the bad guys in Fallujah were always ready for a fight. They were determined not to lose their ruthless grip on the people in Al Anbar Province.
â€œBlue Dog One. Theyâ€™re coming our way.â€ The quiet voice in his earpiece was Blue Dog Two, Staff Sergeant Mike Dodge, whose own six-man team was entrenched a half block behind Swansonâ€™s. Each position supported the other.
â€œReady here,â€ he said, running through a mental checklist still again: squad automatic weapons, M-203 grenade launchers, M-16s, even two sniper rifles, plus Dodgeâ€™s radio gear to call in roof-scraping Cobra helicopters and fast-moving fighter-bombers. They were the anvil. When the tanks and APCs and infantry struck hard from the front, the insurgents would roll back into the perceived safety of the city, smack into the waiting Marine force planted in the two buildings that dominated a broad street that was empty of traffic.
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|Epub||May 30, 2020|