Yesterday, I traveled with the 3d platoon to Tikrit—my second visit to Saddam’s old home town. It struck me what a scenic city it is, resting right on the Tigris, and featuring enormous palaces with sprawling balconies which reach out toward the water.
Not long before we left Tikrit, a firefight broke out just outside the base. It gathered in intensity, until it sounded like mortars were fired. The insurgents tend to fire mortars from the other side of the river in a marshland area, because it is hard to patrol. The base has a simple but effective response: they place Abrams tanks at the perimeter of the base, with optics that can fix on a target 3000 meters away. Then, they unload the 120 mm main gun—which they did in this firefight. The firefight ended before we left, and we traveled back to FOB Bernstein without incident.