Erik Jacobs - One Year in Iraq

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These pictures were taken and shared with the web by Erik Jacobs.


I am an Army veteran that served in OIF/OEF from February 2003 to April 2004.  I served with a reserve transportation (PLS truck) unit as a driver/gunner out of Balad, Iraq traveling MSR Tampa between Baghdad and Mosul.  Although I was understandably quite busy during the war I did manage to take a few photos of some destroyed enemy vehicles, our encampment, my M1075 (PLS), etc.  I didn't get to take as many as I would have liked and have been searching the internet for the photos of others so that I might be able to compile a timeline of sorts.  This research is giving me some peace of mind for some reason, and is also being done so I might be able to help my son understand why his Daddy had to leave for 14 months.

- Erik Jacobs

1st platoons bunker at our sleeping area at Balad.  A legally "acquired" light kit we used as a generator for out AOR is on the left of the photo.


Leaving Balad for Mosul with a fly by from an Apache. Early morning sunrise from the gunners hatch on the PLS.  The "escort" didn't last long, but it was nice to have him there for a second.  It sucked to be the first convoy of the day because the IED's were set up overnight and the early convoy was the one to get hit usually.


Typical camel sighting on highway 1, but as you can see by their suicidal tendencies the more common sighting was a dead camel.  It's hard to get a giant truck and trailer carrying almost 66 tons of stuff to maneuver quickly and they would at times become very large road kill.  The albino Camel was cool though.


Pit dug out and filled with oil by the enemy then lit to cause confusion and smokescreens to thwart our operations and to hide theirs.  You can see how effective they were on this occasion.  Duh!


My favorite photo from the war. A lone CH-46 and a sunset in Mosul. Normally the tarmac was full of Chinooks, Apaches, Kiowas, Blackhawks, and a couple Loaches, but all of them were out on raids.


Abandoned Enemy base where Saddam's Nebuchadnezzer was based.  I stress the WAS. :)


One of the oil pit fires from a distance.


Another view of the truck before backing into the bunker.


PLS backed into an enemy ammo storage bunker for ease of loading, but mostly for the fun of driving over stuff.


My truck pulling out of blast pit after unloading CONEX full of antitank mines.


PLS rollover with CONEX full of ordinance during work to transport and destroy enemy ordinance in the area of
Mosul.  The area the truck rolled over in is the pit where the ordinance was blown up.  Minor injuries to driver and assistant driver.


Another view of rolled PLS in the blast pit.


Another view of PLS rollover.


One of our PLS trucks that crashed and burned South of Mosul injuring the driver moderately and the assistant minorly.  The assistant was a SAW gunner and had 400 rounds in the cab that cooked off after the crash making it kinda dangerous to be there.  The PLS was salvaged because higher wanted it shipped back to the states.


Extremely steep grade even for PLS. The picture doesn't do it justice.  My partner took the photo as I hung on inside the cabin.  It explains why he wrote the phrase, "Los locos" on the front of the truck.  You can see the way we stored our MRE's and water for our long missions.  BTW the metal contraption on the gunners side was a feeble attempt at a wire cutter in response to the enemy's stringing wire across the Main Supply Route.


One of our many Iraqi equipment graveyards near Diamondback.  We would haul the lighter equipment (below 33 tons) and artillery to the site from all over the Northern half of Iraq and dump them.