In May of 2004, the Egyptian Hospital at Bagram AF was rotating its doctors. The new docs were flying in to Kabul International Airport, and the Egyptians asked for some help in retrieving them and their luggage. Our Task Force agreed and CSM Mark Bowman arranged some vehicles and personnel to go get them. The CSM also had been paying particular attention to what had been going on in our area, and thought that a whole load of Coalition medical personnel would be the highest value target to roll up or down the road in quite some time. So, being a top-notch NCO, he went and coordinated a little helicopter support. Why risk driving back on a highway famous for ambushes, when a Blackhawk could make the trip in very little time, and be much safer?CSM Bowman - "I have a cunning plan"
The morning of the pick up, we all piled into our vehicles and sped down the main highway (a single lane on each side, not marked, no shoulder) to the Kabul Airport. Not much happened along the way...Well, except for the car that rammed the truck in the middle of our little convoy. Something seemed odd about it. This had been a technique to set up an ambush in the past - but the car was so small, it got bent up and the truck suffered very little. As we were going to shoot the offending car to pieces, it slowed down and went around us. When we stopped in traffic, the SGT driving our truck leaned out the window and put the tip of his M-4 carbine on the nose of the driver of the offending car (he was in an Asian style car - steering wheel on right, ours was a US, steering wheel on left, vehicle) and just shook his head "no". The other driver looked up and shrugged. We moved off, and the car slid back in traffic behind us.
When we got a bit further along, he sped back up and passed on our right. Ok, this time I was going to shoot him - but he stopped, hopped out of his car and went over to some bored looking traffic cops, who were waving at traffic, in a dulsatory manner, by the entrance to the Airport. It was a set-up alright...the driver had heard that we solved accidents by flinging wads of money and driving off, and he thought he could cash in on that. Damned fool almost got killed for his trouble - he ended up with a dented car and no side mirror (we found that lodged in the side of our truck, heh heh).
Hey, we made it to the Airport!
Non-Stop to Bagram
So we made out way to the flight line, picked up the Egyptian docs, and I accompanied them in a Blackhawk back to Bagram AF.
View from the Blackhawk on the way back to Bagram.
The CSM took the vehicles and luggage back up the highway.
Oh and his feeling about the highway being targeted? See the entry for the Norwegian soldier on page 5 of this link (May 23, 2004) and - Judge for yourself.
UPDATE: I added the date of the attack. We made this pickup on May 22, 2004.