Kevin Sites returns home to SoCal

Blogger and MSNBC combat correspondent Kevin Sites posted a final dispatch from Iraq before returning home to Southern California for a brief break. He returns to Iraq shortly after the holidays.

It is the eve of Eid or the end of the Ramadan and the end of the month long dawn to dusk fasting for many Muslims. It is a time of celebration on par with Christmas for Christians. But the night has begun with a bang. Literally. An IED (improvised explosive device) has exploded just outside the north gate of the 4th Infantry Division’s headquarters. I hop in the back of Bressette’s Humvee as the patrol heads out to investigate. Bressette gets on his two-way and in the guise of a flight attendant giving the pre-flight briefing, tells the squad the plan. (…)

I videotape Bressette as he walks back to his Humvee with the 1-22’s commanding officer Lt. Col. Steve Russell. They at the curb to discuss what’s next, when Bressette looks down. He sees something strange; wires sticking out of a concrete block. Suddenly this inert object is filled with potential energy.

“Sir, we better back up,” Bressette says, already doing the moonwalk away from the block. “We’re standing next to an IED!” The Humvee shoots forward away from the bomb, while the rest of back away. The concrete block has been hollowed out and is packed with enough plastic explosives to kill us. Bressette just shakes his head, still in disbelief that all of us, the Colonel, Bressette and his squad, myself and reporter named Betsy Heil from the Pittsburgh Tribune, were all standing next to a device that could’ve taken our lives within a fraction of a second.

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