The Iraq war raged on from 2003 to 2011. During those years there was a lot of blood spilled. 4,424 U.S. soldiers gave their lives during the conflict. Nearly 32,000 were wounded in action. All these years later, the warriors have returned home, and they now have war stories to share with their families over turkey at Thanksgiving. This is not one of those stories.
Gomez, Jefferson, and Christi were young marines – each under 22-years-old. They were enlisted men attached to the 2nd Marine Division’s Bravo Company stationed in Iraq. They each had joined the Marine Corp immediately out of high school. All three were from the New York metropolitan area. Serving in the same platoon, they hit it off and became good buddies, known within the company as “The Three Amigos.”
Being from the New York area, they were especially gung-ho about revenging the September 11th terrorist attacks. At the time it seemed like a splendid idea. Over the years and months of being stationed in the desert, their enthusiasm and confidence in their higher-ups had waned. None the less, they remained loyal marines – prepared to make the ultimate sacrifice if need be. And highly motivated to bring pain to the enemy by any means necessary as they had been well trained to do.
After being in the country for more than 11 straight months, the young men began to become frisky. There had been scuttlebutt going around about a brothel not far from Airport Road, but far outside the Green Zone, which is where their battalion was headquartered. With each passing day, the legend of this bawdy house was growing among the marines in camp. The Three Amigos were determined to pay a visit to the establishment as early as possible. Thus commenced their planning of “Operation Dollhouse.”
The plan was a go when Bravo Company was assigned to a barracks post along Airport Road about a mile from Baghdad International Airport. The ground plan was to slip away from their assigned position during a four-hour watch period, but they would need another Marine to cover for them.
The Amigos decided that Ryder would be an appropriate choice because he wanted to visit the cathouse too, and they were cool with him. The plan was that Gomez, Jefferson, and Christi would go out on this particular night while Ryder was on watch and on a subsequent night they would rotate, and Ryder would go along with two of the Amigos while the third stood watch. It was a simple plan, and it worked, at least on paper.
They all knew that if they got caught, there could be hell to pay, but the Amigos figured that Baghdad was already hell, so they had nothing to lose. When the night came, they executed their plan with military precision, yet Gomez, Jefferson, and Christi managed to get lost somewhere in a neighborhood called Saidiya.
They were looking for a restaurant called Mama Hama. The woman who owned it was supposedly the madam of the brothel, which was located in the rear of her establishment. The Amigos weren’t aware that they had actually passed the target twice, but it was dark, and all of the signs were written in Arabic. The locals were abiding by the established curfew which required that everyone be off the streets before sundown, so the thoroughfare was dark and deserted except for the few homes that had generators.
The three marines were wearing their Kevlar helmets and body armor. Gomez and Jefferson were armed only with their pistols. They didn’t want to intimidate the locals by walking through the neighborhood with their M-16s. Christi, on the other hand, refused to buy into their logic. He did not only carry his rifle, but he also packed several extra magazines of ammunition, just in case.
It was Achmed, the midget pharmacist, who noticed the three rogue marines wandering up and down his street. He could tell that they were lost. So, he called out to them from his brightly illuminated window overlooking the dark street below “Wait for me I’m coming down.” At first, the Amigos thought it was a child, but they quickly realized that Achmed was nearly older than the three of them combined when they met him at his gate. They were doubly surprised to realize that Achmed spoke fluent English with only a slight accent.
“What are you fuckers looking for?” Achmed shouted at them in a squeaky voice, which was normal for him.
Holding back laughter Gomez asked with a straight face “Sir, can you please tell us how to find Mama Hama’s restaurant?
“What do you want to eat there?” asked Achmed.
In reaction to Achmed’s question, all three marines bursted out in laughter, which was not a good thing. They were now drawing the attention of eyes from dark and hidden places up and down the street.
Achmed simply shook his head signifying disappointment. He grabbed Gomez’s index finger as if to hold his hand and said to the three close friends “Follow me.” Achmed escorted the young marines to the brothel, and then he disappeared.
Thanks to the the vigorous efforts of two very lovely and willing dusky mistresses of seduction, the delinquent trio quickly accomplished their mission. If only they didn’t need to travel a mile back to their post through hostile territory “Operation Dollhouse” would have been an enormous success.
About half a mile shy of returning to Ryder and the rest of their platoon up at Airport Road, Christi realized that they were being followed. Someone to the rear had kicked an empty can, clang lang clang.
They turned to see what it was, but by now there was only darkness and very few lights from the windows.
Jefferson calmly said, “Fellahs, I think it’s time for us to swoop back to post.”
“Rodger that!’ Gomez agreed.
Christi took a good look down the street and fired six rounds from his M16 into the darkness.
“Immediately there was a squeaky scream from the dark.”
Jefferson and Christi took off running towards their post and Airport Road. Gomez realizing that it was Achmed doubled back to help him, but the little pharmacist was dead. Gomez took off and caught up with his partners in crime.
Running as fast as they could, Gomez, Jefferson, and Christi were nearly at Airport Road when a Sikorsky Super Stallion helicopter spotted them. In its night vision scope, they were easily misidentified as insurgents. It was Christi’s rifle which gave the commanders back in the Green Zone - whose job it was to evaluate the camera's view - the heebie-jeebies.
Insurgents had a history of planting IEDs along Airport Road, and during these early hours was when they were most active. It was a no-brainer.
“Requesting permission to fire on target.” said the pilot of the Super Stallion to his base commander.
“Permission granted!” Was the response in a casual voice.
“Sayonara fuckers.” The pilot called out as he squeezed the trigger to let loose his cannon on the three “insurgents” below, and within an instant, there was a fantastic fiery explosion, kaboom.
Just like that, the three amigos joined the long list of fallen heroes who died while fighting for their country.
Hi, I'm Lester Patterson,