Infanti’s convoy was speeding down the overpass leading into the city of Abu Ghraib to distribute blankets to a local school before winter set in when Captain Jennifer Knowlden noticed that the streets were suspiciously deserted. The disappearance of children was always a warning.
An IED went off underneath Knowlden’s lead vehicle and sandblasted out the windows. Infanti heard the whooshing report of an 85mm rocket-propelled grenade belching from the mouth of an alley to his right. It caught the commander’s truck near the right front door, the concussion tossing it sideways in the street and popping open the doors.
Although disorientated and almost unconscious from injuries to the back of his head, Infanti leaped out of the smoking truck with his M-4 blazing against black-hooded RPG gunners hammering the stalled convoy from the alley and from the cover of a nearby wall. Rockets crisscrossed the street, screaming and etching smoke. One struck the pavement and skidded underneath a hummer where it detonated in a ball of red flame, jolting the truck completely off the ground. Another targeted the last unscathed vehicle in the convoy and ripped off a tire. A third penetrated the rear hatch of Captain Knowlden’s disabled truck and lodged in its cargo of blankets without exploding.
In the midst of all the smoke, noise, and confusion, Knowlden saw Colonel Infanti collapse in the street next to his truck, seemingly unconscious or mortally wounded. His adrenaline had finally worn off. Knowlden got on the radio, yelling for the medic who always accompanied a commander’s patrol. The call was unnecessary. Courville was already racing through the smoke toward Infanti.
Excerpted from None Left Behind by Charles W. Sasser.
Copyright 2009 by Charles W. Sasser.
Published in December 2009 by St. Martin's Press.
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