Sean and his Marine Corps EOD team were working on one of the roads outside of Haqlaniyah, Iraq. The team was called to a reported IED. When the team took a closer look they discovered that the not-so-bright terrorists had planted an illumination round under the road instead of an explosive round. The team had a good laugh and did not complain.
As Sean began searching for the other end of the command wire, the rest of the team was pulling security. He disappeared around the other side of the compound that was next to the road. There was a blown up car that had been sitting inside the compound wall for quite some time. There was a T-intersection in front of the compound wall. Sean discovered that the command wire stopped at a crack in the wall. He set a charge against the wall and blew a hole right through it.
As Sean walked back to check on the hole in the wall, two of the Marines pulling security for him began to follow him down the narrow street. He called them off and told them to stay back because he did not want them all bunched together in the event that something were to blow up, or if they were to take fire.
One Marine had just reached the Humvee, and the other had just reached the corner of the building – that turned out to be the firing point – and Sean had just reached the wall, when suddenly a loud snap was heard as it echoed down the street toward the Marines. Sean’s initial thought was that he was being shot at, so he immediately dove into the hole he had just blown in the wall, simultaneously drawing his pistol from his vest. It was like something out of a movie.
No sooner had Sean dove through the wall and ducked down with his pistol, a loud boom shook him violently. He immediately realized that someone had tossed a grenade at him. His teammate, Harry, stood up on the EOD truck’s gas tank to scan for the offender. A kid in a yellow sweater had tossed the grenade from within a nearby compound and had taken off running.
Had Sean not told the other Marines to fall back, they would have all been caught out in the open together with nowhere for them to go. The loud snap of the grenade’s primer hitting the delay element, along with the three to five second delay, allowed Sean to get out of harm’s way just in time.
As soon as Harry notified the team that the kid in the yellow sweater had been spotted, they all took off. Sean, running with his pistol, jumped into the nearest truck and they sped off along with the other vehicles. Once inside the truck, Sean tapped the standing turret gunner on the leg and yelled for him to toss down a couple of magazines to go along with his rifle so Sean could borrow it as he was going after to the person that just tried to kill him.
As the truck skidded around the turns, Sean went condition one with the rifle. They jumped out at the location where they thought the offender had gone. After a few minutes of looking around they realized that the location was empty. It was a letdown to say the least.
Suddenly, as the trucks returned to the rally point to finish packing up their equipment, a Humvee came screeching to a halt. Out came some angry-looking Marines followed by an Iraqi kid in a yellow sweater. He had been a block away in his yard “fixing his bike”. When the team performed the residue test on him, it confirmed that he had been the one who handled the grenade that had just been thrown moments earlier. The Marines had no idea that the kid was only fourteen, which is under the prosecution age limit of sixteen.
Fortunately they did not kill that kid on the spot. The Marines had only weeks earlier dealt with a Corporal and Lance Corporal who were casualties of a grenade that was tossed through a window by another teenage boy, so emotions were very high. Still, that little punk was “very gently and softly” placed into the Humvee for a very “comfortable ride” to the detention center so he could be questioned by the counter-intelligence Marines. Needless to say, although the kid in the yellow sweater got roughed up pretty good (and rightfully so), he was back on the streets the next day because he was under the age of sixteen. There is no doubt that the enemy would not have been so merciful if the roles had been reversed – as evidenced by a story of one mentally disabled Iraqi boy.
The incident occurred when the EOD team were called to an Iraqi house. Upon arrival, they discovered a severely beaten, mentally disabled Iraqi teenage boy chained to a wall in one of the rooms. The boy was wearing an explosive-filled vest that had been forced upon him. Upon the sight, the team volunteered to disarm the bomb. They were successful and cared for the boy. For all of the times that some journalist has created a controversy for a combat veteran over some perceived injustice toward an enemy sympathizer, stories like this demonstrate the pure evil of our enemy. Not only can adult terrorists blend in with civilians, even a kid in a yellow sweater can kill you if you are not careful.