On Sunday, a number of troopers from fourth platoon were down at a checkpoint in the south which abuts Tauq Chay, a large reservoir. Aside from the novelty of seeing such a large body of water in the middle of an arid land, visiting the reservoir makes an interesting anthropology field trip. As Sgt. Cummins from 3d platoon noted, the fisherman cast their nets into the water the same way they did in biblical times—little has changed in 2000 years.
While the fourth platoon was there, the Iraqi Civil Defense Corp (ICDC) officers who were working the checkpoint with fourth platoon stopped a truck, which just happened to be hauling fifty-one 155 mm artillery shells. The shells were empty or damaged, and the driver of the vehicle claimed that he was taking them to sell for scrap metal. The ICDC officers informed Sgt. Gleason about the find, but they were inclined to let the man proceed with the shells because the items were inert. Of course, these kinds of shells are highly desirable to those who build IEDs—and so even if the driver really just wanted to sell them for scrap, the buyer may have other intentions. Sgt. Gleason therefore rolled into the FOB on Monday morning hauling a trailer filled with 155 mm shells. This incident shows a major problem with the ICDC: they still do not have the experience to exercise judgment, and so they tend to look to someone who can tell them what to do. I will have more on the ICDC program soon.