Early one morning, sleep was interrupted by a mortar attack.
Generally speaking, the scariest part of an indirect fire attack is the adrenaline spike that occurs as a result of alarm – something I experienced during the Scud attacks of early 2003 as well. The speed in which someone needs to launch a mortar attack while also avoiding being killed in a counter-attack – usually – prevents any reliable accuracy.
So the alarm goes off and you kind of wait for the boom, and imagine for a half-second what it would be like for a fist sized piece of shrapnel to come flying at your neck.
I was already awake, getting ready to go to the gym. The mortar exploded with a dull thud far from our area, and the platoon went back to sleep. I started walking to the guard towers to check on the guys. As I was walking, I heard the the low melodic sound of the adhan, the Islamic call to prayer, drifting through the still night from a nearby mosque.
I remember physically laughing at how cliché that was.