Submitted by: Steven Hanson
It was June of 2004 and I was sent to Camp Grafton North Dakota for training in a secondary MOS to become a Combat Engineer. My Grandfather George Freund lived on his farm with my grandmother Gladys only, but 30 minutes away. When I told them that I was going to be conducting training at Camp Grafton they were ecstatic as they knew that in a few short months I would be shipping out and heading back to Iraq for the second time. I had the evenings off and my grandfather loaned me his truck while i was there for two weeks so i would drive the 30 minutes in the evening and get a nice home cooked meal from grandma. There was this particular evening when i had dinner with my grandparents and it was getting close to my training being done at Camp Grafton. My grandfather and I had finished our meals and while we were sitting there reminiscing of time of my younger days on the farm and how my grandfather said I had grown into a fine young man and a seasoned solider. I then started talking about my first tour over in Iraq with grandpa and he then started to open up and talk to me of another war; a war that was generations apart. He told me about this time when he was on patrol with his platoon (back then Grandpa was a Platoon sergeant) and they were setting up perimeter to Bivouac for a few hours before they moved on. Just as they secured the perimeter they started to hear the whistles of incoming enemy mortar attacks. He said that rounds were hitting and blowing up behind his bivouac site, but then they started to walk in on where they were setup. So quickly my grandfather maneuvered his men and they ran towards were the rounds were coming from on the other side of a hill. He had is men lay down facing upward watching their 12 o’clock to ensure no one was coming over the hill. He said the mortars went on for what seemed like forever and then they had stopped. After the fire was done he regrouped and got a Status report of his men and that evening my grandfather said the he didn’t loose a single man. After he told me this story he told me to always remember if mortar fire is coming move to the direction that it is coming from.
It was August 2005 I was a Corporal and had my HMMWV set in position for moving out on a convoy to take some High Value Targets (HVT) to the Main Base from our Forward Operation Base in Iraq. I hadn't been ordered to load the HVTs yet so my Sergeant I were sitting there checking one another’s gear making sure we had everything we might need once we move outside the wire. Then all of a sudden we hear it the distinct whistle as mortars or rockets sing as they fly over your head. Then the alarm goes off, QRF dispatched to move on a position that was seen by the guard tower. They fly out the wire to maneuver to that position. AS they are moving out the wire more mortars are flying in and the next thing we knew a few start hitting real close to the perimeter wall. Next thing we hear is they are hitting in the compound and keep walking them in. I look at my Sergeant and I say this isn’t a good place to be right now since they are walking in the rounds. He says where are we going to go. Then like that I remember this story that my grandfather tells me and what he told me afterwards. So I then told him lets go I fired up the HMMWV and we went to the other side of the base the direction the mortars are coming from. Not but less than two minutes after we left a mortar struck the exact spot that we had been sitting with our HMMWV. The mortar hit down and only wounded a few with shrapnel because they all took cover in the HWMMVs.
To this day I thank my grandfather for telling me the story of a war long ago because without that story being put in my mind I may not have been as lucky as I was.
I am the Commander at Post 143 in Post Falls Idaho and a combat vet of the Iraqi War with three tours under my belt. My Grand Father who is Commander of Post 79 in Cando North Dakota and is a Korean War Vet told me this story of his time in Korea right before I shipped out on my Second Tour in Iraq. Here is the account of how one old grandfather can save the life of his oldest grandson and not even have to be in his foxhole while he was fighting a war generations apart from his own.