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Corporal Gunner Gilligan and the Afghani Village

In 2004 in Afghanistan, I was a corporal gunner on a humvee. My lieutenant was in front of me. My sergeant was on my side. I was behind the weapon. My entire platoon was taking the knee as my lieutenant was going over our next mission. On a mountain range approximately 5 and half to six kilometers out, there was a blast and a flash. I was the only person in my entire unit to see this flash. The shock wave came over to us and everybody took a knee and everybody looked around. Nobody could find out where it was coming from. Immediately I got on the PRC 119 radio and  I radioed over that echo 4 golf – myself – had seen the flash and I could? give directions to it.


My master sergeant – top – had come across the radio and asked for the azimuth – which is the direction in which it came from. I pulled out my GPS. It was unfortunately too slow, so I pulled out my compass. When I pulled out my compass, I made the grave error of taking a compass reading next to a 240 machine gun which had a high amount of metal content in it [the ends] I gave the false azimuth…hold on … i gave the false azimuth and the top took my azimuth as true. He then asked for the distance at which the blast was and i told him it was approximately 5 and a half to six kilometers. This I did under the supervision of my lieutenant and my sergeant. They launched one barrage of morters – 81 mm – and asked me if I had “eyes on the target” – and if I had seen impact. I had said no. They fired again and again. And on the fourth barrage I

was already turning the road and we were pulling away to go for a more secure position. I had reported back that they were … the target was out of range and i was unable to spot rounds anymore and I did not see any smoke or any morters impact. They continued to fire a fifth and sixth barrage into an Afghani village. Members of the scout sniper team were in a hide up in the mountain and had been called down into the village to perform emergency triage on numerous casualties. Later that night they called me over to their tent and they asked me if i was qualified to call for fire. and i told them i was not qualified, however i was asked and i gave the responses needed to … to quickly assess the danger and proceed forward with the mission. My sargeant came over and luckily intervened before anything got hostile. There was no repercussion.


Approximately a week later we performed a medcap on the same area. And when we went back there was obvious signs of aerial attack all over the village. And typically on a medcap we’d perform … to give shots, do minor dentistry, check the babies and stuff and it was only after pulling out of that village that we were also hit by an IED. Later on I was informed, that through translators and interpreters our unit had informed … this is again what I was told… that our unit had informed the Afghanis of the village that if the Taliban does it again, you let us know.