By Pfc. Benjamin GableJuly 24, 2007
BAGHDAD (Army News Service, July 24, 2007) - The Stryker moves in formation down Route Irish, it's humming engine luring the Soldiers inside to fall fast asleep in the dark, early morning. All is well, until the odor of the city creeps into the hatch. Senses are alarmed; eyebrows rise. The stench means the Soldiers are now deep in the city, and enemy contact could come at any time.
But experience and camaraderie keep the warriors calm.
When they arrived in 2004 at the newly formed Company B, 1st Battalion, 38th Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, at Fort Lewis, Wash., the Soldiers found no supplies and no equipment - only themselves.
Three years later and three months into their 15-month deployment, they've learned that brotherhood is all they need.
"Some of us have been together since basic training at Fort Benning," said Spc. Jason Lynch, an infantryman. "By now, we know how each other operates and how to lift each others' spirits."
Today the Bayonets help stabilize the southern part of the Iraqi capital. One day they may search houses and talk to locals; the next they may provide security for other units on the ground.
The Soldiers trained for their multifaceted mission together at home and abroad. They practiced live-fire training in Korea. And in the summer of 2006, they deployed to Winthrop, Wash., to help local firefighters battle wildfires that covered more than 164,000 acres and threatened residents' homes.
"We had some close calls out there," said Staff Sgt. Eduardo Oyola, platoon leader. But even with only a crash-course in firefighting, Staff Sgt. Oyola knew his Soldiers had each others' backs.
Now they are fighting in the streets of Baghdad, and have seen three of their buddies die since April.
"It's been tough so far," said Staff Sgt. Oyola. "But we know we can lean on each other and make it through anything."
(Pfc. Benjamin Gable writes for the 7th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment.)