Jason B. Ladd

Ask the Questions. Embrace the Answers. Make the Leap.

They’re Dragging a Body Through the Street

dragging a body through the street

The following is an excerpt from my book in-work titled One of the Few: A Marine Fighter Pilot’s Reconnaissance of the Christian Worldview. Click here if you would like to receive updates about this project and receive future briefs from FIGHTER FAITH. 

My wingman approached from behind and maneuvered his jet for the join-up.  A quick glance under the goggles toward my 5 o’clock position revealed a flashing strobe light.  He’s right where he should be.  We completed our en route checklists and tested our flares.  It was a quick flight to Ramadi—one of the main areas we supported in Al Anbar province over Iraq.

Enemy activity was sporadic.  Although major force-on-force engagements were not as heavy as during Operation Phantom Fury in Fallujah in 2004, indistinguishable combatants, improvised explosive devices (IEDs), and mortar attacks were an everyday threat to the Marines.  They routinely patrolled the streets on foot and sent convoys between various forward operating bases.  We loitered overhead in case they ran into trouble.  We established radio communication with the forward air controller on the ground.  There was some activity in the area.

“I need to you to proceed overhead and get your sensors into this area, standby for grid,” the forward air controller’s (FAC) voice crackled over the radio.  My wingman was first on the scene and prepared to go kinetic.  We put our targeting pods on the grid and my wingman continued the radio dialogue.

“I’m contact a vehicle surrounded by a large crowd of people.”

“Roger that.  That vehicle is dragging a body through the street.  We’ve got positive identification and you are cleared to take out that vehicle,” he came back.

I listened carefully and kept my sensor in the target area on to record the action.  I stared at the small screen on the aircraft console to break out what was happening.  The vehicle pulled away from the crowd.  Sure enough, there was an object dragging behind it, though it was difficult to make out what it was.  Someone ran up to the object and kicked it as it was slowly dragged over the dirt road.  I figured you probably wouldn’t run up and kick a dead dog, or goat, or sheep; that kind of hatred is usually reserved for humans.  The fact that people are capable of such sadistic acts of cruelty is a sobering reminder of the fallen state of our world.

The vehicle jettisoned the body and headed south out of the city.  I thought of the four American contractors who were dragged through the streets after being burned and hung from the “Blackwater Bridge” in 2004, prompting offensive operations to re-take the city of Fallujah.  Later in my deployment I provided a show of force over that bridge to give a crossing convoy some peace of mind.  The car continued down the road out of the city where the buildings and houses were more spaced out.  Then it came to a stop.

“The car just stopped next to another vehicle,” my wingman reported.

“Copy that.  You are cleared to take out that vehicle with twenty mike-mike,” replied the FAC.

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About Jason B. Ladd

Jason is an author, speaker, Marine, and father of seven. He has flown the F/A-18 Hornet as a Marine Aviation Weapons and Tactics Squadron 1 (MAWTS-1) Instructor Pilot and the F-16 as an Instructor Pilot. His award-winning book One of the Few: A Marine Fighter Pilot’s Reconnaissance of the Christian Worldview has been optioned for film adaptation. He is represented by Julie Gwinn of The Seymour Agency.