So after a restful but cold night we got up to a pot of hobo coffee and oatmeal. As we were eating breakfast Jawed the terp came up to tell us that the ANA were pretty upset and had a plan to start cracking skulls. Two days had went by since the 5 soldiers had went missing and the ANA with us were ready to exact some revenge. Jawed said they were cleaning their weapons and were coming up with plans to go to all the villages in the area that we had visited over the last couple of days and round people up. Even though we had peaceful Shura going on the ANA were talking about field interrogations, beating people and even stacking bodies like wood. There had been no inclination of this over the last two days, but I guess they had enough of what looked like nothing being done. They told us that some would go to the Shura but the rest are going on their own to find people and question them.
I think between the guys being gone for two days and us getting shot at with 40mm grenades, they had enough. Jawed told them the rounds that were shot at us the day before came from the artillery guys and the ANA was furious. They told Jawed that if the artillery guys had hurt them or us they would have slaughtered them all, even if they were Americans. In a weird way that made me feel good, because they were adamant that if anything happened to me or Face, they would revenge us. It was good to know they had our backsâ€¦.sort of.
So after hearing all of this talk from the ANA, Face and I decided it was time to call higher and let them know of what the ANA were talking about. We cannot control the ANA and if they decided to start roughing civilians up, we wanted to make sure we told everyone ahead of time. I called Maj D and he told me they had just found the missing soldiers at the 10th MTN FOB where we were a few days before. Apparently they had showed up there the night before. Because of bad cell coverage and the fact that we were not monitoring the ETT tacsat freq, they could not get a hold of us to let us know. When I hung up, I told Face and he told the ANA. They went from depressed and angry to very happy in a second. All of them walked up to Face and I and shook our hands and some hugged us. They were thanking us over and over, even though we did not really do anything. However we represent the US Army to them and we delivered the good news, so it was us that got the credit.
Later we found out that the 5 guys were lost on the first night, and then the next morning had a local national point them to the hardball road. They got there and headed to the 10th MTN FOB, which was sort of their panic azimuth. After getting the pats on the back and hugs from the ANA I went to Devil-7 and asked him to call the FOB and confirm that the 5 soldiers were truly there. I wanted a 2nd source to confirm that it was our ANA there and not someone else. There are so many points of mis-translation or confusion between all parties involved I felt it was safer to take the steps to confirm. It took about an hour, but then we had confirmation that they were in fact there. I was glad, because I did not want to deal with the ANA had the report been wrong.
After all of this calmed down, the Shura package showed up along with Devil-6 so we headed to the Shura site. Since Devil-6 was handling this one, the Shura went much faster. We were in and out of there in 90 minutes. Once the Shura was over I again said my goodbyes, not knowing if I would see these guys again. The plan was for us to head to the hardball with Devil company and then Face and I would take 3 trucks of ANA with us to Ghazni and the other two would head to the 10th MTN FOB with Devil. It was time for Face and I to be replaced by a couple of my other ETTs. So we went to Ghazni and linked up with the ETTs we know there. We enjoyed some good dinner with them, hot showers, laundry service and some cots. They put us up in their gym on cots, which was fine with us. The gym was dry, warm and not covered in sand. The next day our replacements showed up and we headed back to our normal FOB. This stint had been about 9 days and I was glad to get back to my own bed. Little did I know, that I would only be here for a few days. There was a surprise waiting for me when I got back.