March 27, 2003
I have been embedded with the seventh cavalry regiment
for a little more than two weeks now. For the past five days we have
had made contact with the enemy every single day, and since the war
began we have been moving non stop. Sleep is at a minimum out here and
getting photos back to the home front and keeping gear working is an
extremely large challenge.
As we drove along we continued to get shot at from both sides. I watched as an RPG exploded on our Bradley. The Army called in airstrikes on the area around us and I continued to watch the fireworks all around. I had mixed feelings about being in the back of the Bradley, on one hand I knew I was relatively safe as I heard the bullets ping off the armor and fall to the ground outside, on the other hand I was frustrated that here I was in combat and could not take a picture, why was I even there risking my life? I would be better sitting on my couch drinking a cold beer and eating pizza.
The night continued as we moved through a town and continued to get ambushed along the way. Eventually the adrenaline settled down and I did what anyone in that situation would do, I laid back down in the Bradley and went back to sleep to the gentle sounds of gunfire. A few hours later(or maybe a few minutes I have lost track of time) I was awoken by a large explosion and the shockwave rocking the Bradley I was in, as the bomb of an A-10 hit 1000 meters from us. The convoy had come under attack again while I was sleeping from fighters hiding amongst farm houses on the side of the road. The fighting grew fiercer and the army brought in air to help suppress the fighting. The convoy then stopped to regroup and make a new plan.
I was standing outside the Bradley, stretching I saw the sunrise above
the palm trees, which were smoking from the bomb strike. I then saw
a man walk down the 800 meter path from his house to the road with a
The medic took the boy from the man's arms turned
and began running with
As the medics treated the boy I watched as one soldier held his hand and rubbed his head as the doctors removed shrapnel from an open wound in his leg. More soldiers than came running up with a woman on a strecher and the troops began to treat her. As they were doing that, a red crescent ambulance arrived and they loaded the wounded in the ambulance. I looked in the back and saw a bare white van with one oxygen bottle and blood and people on the floor. The doors shut, the troops packed up their gear and the moment was over. All I could think about was that I wish that ambulance had never shown up, knowing that the best thing for that young boy would be to be treated at a U.S. hospital. But there was no time to think we mounted our vehicles and were gone again.
Within one hour being ambushed from both sides of the road, in what is now nicknamed ambush alley. We spent another 24 hours in combat, until the Third Infantry Division sent reinforcements to relieve the Cav., which has seen more combat than any other army unit. We are now back at an assembly area in a semi secure area for 48 hours of rest and refitting of gear. For me 48 hours of rest, cleaning dust out of every electronic item I brought with me, and time to charge all of my batteries both literally and figuratively. We will see what the coming days bring.
© Warren Zinn
Also Read: Defining Pictures, by Robert Hodierne, Military Times Staff Writer
Warren Zinn is a staff photographer for Army Times,
an independent (civilian) newspaper that covers the U.S. Army. The Army
Times Publishing Company, a Gannett subsidiary, coordinates and shares
coverage with USA Today and the Gannett News Service.