My War ...this Is What Really HappenedI have been writing a book for the last year, and here is a chapter out of it...I am hoping that I get the book published ..The accounts are accurate , I was there...Lt. Brian
As we moved on Magrebeh, an eerie, ghost-town feeling permeated the scene. No individual was to be found in sight. Stores with broken down windows and food still left on the shelves dotted the streets. All around us we could see houses with bullet-stained walls, punched with holes from artillery, and roads turned to rubble from the passing of tanks. As we cautiously approached the center of the town, my heart started racing. You could read the tension and anxiousness on the faces of my comrades. I reassured myself that I must commit not to be afraid; we are defending the Jewish nation and God "walks in our midst" during battle.
As we neared the first house we were informed that a Hezbollah scout was overlooking our forces. The order came: "Quickly take the first house with a grenade and take cover." A grenade flew and exploded inside the house. "Go! Go! Go!" we yelled out. Two groups quickly finished the job of clearing the house with hand grenades and entered to ensure that the house was empty of Hezbollah. I was given the order to immediately go up to the roof and fire on the rest of the town. The three-story house was ornately decorated and left in perfect condition as if the family had just left a few minutes earlier.
As I reached the roof, armed with my heavy machine gun, I was joined by sharp shooters, and we unleashed heavy fire on the five houses in front of us to clear them of fighters. We then advanced to the second and third houses, moving through the backyards and clinging to the large walls which separated the houses, staying out of the main street where we would be exposed. As we seized the third house without resistance, our operation began to resemble a live fire drill more than an actual mission, and a false sense of security took hold of us.
While in the third house, our commander decided we would have a short rest in order to evaluate how to proceed in the most problematic stage of our mission: the next three houses. Seizing them presented a strategic nightmare. They were situated on a higher plane permitting potential snipers with positions for a clear shot. In addition, the houses were encompassed by a steep wall that would force us to use the main road and expose our forces.
Our commander called for tank support to fire into the fourth house. As the tank finished firing, the first group of four soldiers -- which included our two commanding officers -- moved out of the third house and into the street towards the fourth house. Thirty seconds later, we heard the distinct popping sound of Russian-made Kalashnikovs firing on the street outside, quickly followed by a screeching whistling sound and a thunderous explosion.
Chaos and confusion broke out as we scrambled to figure out where the fire was coming from and how to respond. Over the radio we heard the word "Perach," the code for injuries. Our two commanding officers had been seriously wounded. One of them received multiple gunshots to his legs and had a bullet ricochet underneath his helmet. He lost consciousness immediately. The other commanding officer was struck by a bullet in his upper chest that penetrated his back. He lost a substantial amount of blood and soon lost consciousness. With tremendous courage and valor under fire, a few medics ran out to the road, under heavy enemy fire, to treat the injured officers. It was a miracle that while being shot at by snipers the medics where able to recover the injured without sustaining injuries. Due to their heroic actions and the grace of God, they rescued the two injured officers and saved their lives.
Hezbollah had planned to force us back into the house and launch the RPG directly through the front door, killing all of us inside.
We ascertained that snipers were positioned on top of houses four and five and had fired a shoulder missile. Our tank support moved forward and began firing as we re-entered the third house to take cover. The force of the tank's fire caused large pieces of debris to fall from the ceiling onto our heads. Suddenly, without the usual warning of ‘fire' over the radio, the tank fired its large turret. A fellow soldier, who was standing in close proximity to the tank, was thrown onto the ground by the tremendous force of the blast. He began crouching and coughing up blood. We quickly carried him into one of the tanks and he was immediately evacuated.
It was later revealed to us that a Hezbollah guerilla had fired the first missile to force us to retreat for cover into the third house. Unbeknownst to us, he had pointed a Rocket Propelled Grenade (RPG) directly into to the entrance of the third house and we fell into the perfect ambush. Hezbollah had planned to force us back into the house and launch the RPG directly through the front door, killing all of us inside. At the last moment, the tank identified the Hezbollah fighter preparing to launch the RPG. Without time to issue a warning, the tank fired on the fighter and eliminated him, miraculously saving all our lives. Had the tank hesitated, the results would have been devastating.
The battle raged on for another six hours until we were given orders to fall back.
Amidst the various reactions of my fellow comrades -- shock, fear, courage, and bravery, I gained a new understanding of the verse "The Lord, your God, walks in the midst of your camp to rescue you."
Early Friday morning, we were taken out of Lebanon to a hotel located near the Kinneret to rest and recuperate from the intensive battle. A deep sense of gloom was felt throughout the unit. As Shabbat approached, I went to the hotel synagogue for prayers, only to find that I was the only one present. I felt so alone. Within moments, nine others appeared and we were able to proceed with the afternoon prayers. By the time we began the Shabbat prayers 55 soldiers had joined us. I grabbed one of the guys to start dancing and within seconds, everyone in the room was dancing and singing together. This continued for 30 minutes, raising everyone's spirits as we welcomed the Shabbat. That night we were called back into Lebanon, but the energy of Shabbat remained with us