Story: DAMM DOGS
This is something that relates to a thread about home security. That thread reminded me of an experience I had while serving on COLT teams in Ft. Lewis. I hope you enjoy. By the way I just wrote this at work so cut me some slack with spelling and grammar. I had to rush through it. CHEERS!!!
On a training exercise in Ft. Lewis many years ago my team had to sneak around 2 battalion's of light infantry(25th ID). We decided to go completely around the unit going off-post and then sneaking back on post. This would have put us in the rear of 25th ID but that rout would take us through a residential area. Now this would not seem like such a bad idea at first but we ended up learning that something that seems simple isn't always the case.
About 15 hours before we would go that rout we did a brief recon of the area. We found the way we were going to sneak off-post and looked at most of the rout we were going to take. The first 2 kilometers would take us through a forest area along some major roads leading to grass fields. About 1 kilometer of grass fields we would come to a residential area. It was not a large area but typical of a small town. We stopped checked out the vegetation, drainage ditches and anything else that would provide cover and concealment going through that residential area. After we were confident that we could make it through we returned to our base camp and planned our upcoming mission.
My team and I left post around 6:30pm on a sunny day. We stayed in the forest along the road until sunset. At this point we were getting very excited and in fact very, very excited. We were doing something very sneaky and if caught would get us in a lot of trouble. We were completely camo'd up, no helmet, everything taped down to prevent noise, carrying all the equipment we would need for the next two days. Around 1 hour past dusk we turned on our NVG's sneaking along the road avoiding traffic and anyone walking along the road. At first we were on-time and even ahead of schedule, things were going smoothly, we completely obeying noise and light discipline, walking, high crawling and low crawling always keeping to cover and or concealment. Not long after we left and ahead of schedule we made it to the field. We were dripping with sweat, excitement and confidence We knew we were going to make it after all we just traveled 2km without being spotted or leaving a trace that we even passed through.
This is where things started to go wrong. Once in the field we took up a standard line formation sticking to ravines and high grass that would cover our movement. When we started to approach the residential area the dogs started barking and the closer we got the louder and more vocal they got. You see a dog knows when someone or something is trying to be sneaky and that makes them even more alert then normal. We ended up slowing way down trying not to make any noise at all but that didn't help. We stopped and assessed the situation. We could not go back because it would take to much time and we would still have to find a way around 25th ID so we decided to proceed but with great caution. We could not get caught! Once we got to the housing area we stuck to the drainage ditches and high grass where possible but the dogs kept on barking and I mean barking, they were going nuts. So nuts the local population called the police. We first noticed the police when we were getting into the housing area. We were in a drainage ditch in a very low crawl and watched a speeding police car go buy. He was heading in the general direction we had come from so we knew he was looking for us.
From this point on it was a cat and mouse game and things were getting real interesting. We only managed to make it about 2 blocks when the police car came up behind us. He made a stop not five feet from our position got out of his car, pulled out his flashlight and looked around. Now we were all ****ting bricks! We did not move, did not breath. We just waited. Finally after looking around he got into his patrol car and headed to the next block over getting out of his car to look around.
Over the next few hours of evasion things were getting bad. Hiding from the dogs and police had ate up all of our spare time. In fact we were now way behind schedule and in danger of being exposed by daylight. Another patrol car showed up and the both of them were driving around trying to figure out what was going on. Any chance we got we would leave cover and rush to the next ditch and wait for the next patrol car to pass by. This continued for at least 2 hours and in that time we managed to get within 100 yards from some very good concealment that would protect us until we could make it back onto post. The problem now was we were really out of time. The sun was coming up! People would be going to work, walking the dog and seeing a bunch of soldiers dressed in full combat gear hiding in a ditch. We waited for the two police cars to get out of sight and we just ran the last 100 yards crashing into the forest that would provide us the much needed cover for the final part of our journey. Once there we were exhausted, covered in all kinds of bug bites, dehydrated and really hungry. We ended up walking about 200 yards into the forest to be safe and took a long deserved break. We did not say anything to each other, just basked in the new sun letting out a sigh of relief.
In the end we were successful. We managed to go completely around 25th ID and make it to our observation point. The police never caught us and probably thought all the disturbance was a raccoon or something similar. We were happy!!!