Over last weekend, fourth platoon performed an evening mission to establish a snap traffic control point to search for people carrying illegal weapons. As is customary, the Humvees drove lights out, with the troopers wearing night visions goggles, and with me staring out into the darkness. When the vehicles reached their destination and established the checkpoint on the road, the only illumination came from the stars and the chem lights placed like bookends on the control area. The road was quiet that night—only one vehicle came through the TCP. But as luck would have it, this night the platoon would be one-for-one. When the unit asked the man to step out of his vehicle, SSG Pugh saw an AK-47 sticking out from beneath the driver’s seat. While it is legal in Iraq to have one AK-47 in your residence or business, it is not legal to carry one on your person or in your car. The troopers therefore confiscated the weapon.
When the man was questioned about where he lived and where he was going, he offered answers that suggested he was not terribly familiar with this area. He was Kurdish, and from what he said, it appeared that his home was farther north. There have been rumors that the Kurds are bringing in more fellow Kurds from outside the area to stack elections—think of it as politics Kansas style—which lead Lt. Naum to think that this man may have been one of the electoral transplants.