Back down IED lane …

Camp Atterbury, IN -- Me eating an MRE (Meal, Ready to Eat) at lunchtime after a ride down IED lane at Camp Atterbury. My favorite rations meal is chili and macaroni (chili-mac.) The pouch I’m holding holds the food ... it’s an airtight plastic bag that keeps the food from spoiling for a long time.
Camp Atterbury, IN —
Me eating an MRE (Meal, Ready to Eat) at lunchtime after a ride down IED lane at Camp Atterbury. My favorite rations meal is chili and macaroni (chili-mac.) The pouch I’m holding holds the food … it’s an airtight plastic bag that keeps the food from spoiling for a long time.

Minnie Ripperton was a famous singer in the 1970’s and ‘80s. Although she’s had a butt-load of hits, she’s probably most famous for singing the song: “Loving You (the La-La song).” You know the words, right? (Looooving YOU, is ea-sy ‘cause you’re beau-ti-ful.) Nobody ever knows the rest of the words to that song, except the part where she goes: “LA-LA-LA-LA-LA, La-la-la-la-la, La-la-la-la-laaa, la-laah, lah, luhla-la … dootn dootn doo-dOoo … AAAAAHHHHHHIAAAHooo!”

***face cringes and voice cracks while trying to hit the high note***

Anyway, one of her hits is called “Memory Lane.” It’s a nice little ditty where part of the lyrics are “I stumbled on this photograph, it kinda made me laugh, now I’m fadin’ fast … BACK DOWN MEMORY LANE.” Check it out on iTunes next time you get a chance.

Whenever the Mad Dog 20/20 was getting the best of my mother (if you don’t know, you’d better ask somebody,) she would put this record on the turntable (that’s like a pre-historic CD player for you young’uns) and she would play this one record over and over and over and over again. To this day, I can’t listen to the song without thinking about her.

Today, we had IED exercises, where we ride in convoys and try to find improvised explosive devices (before they explode on us.) The training course that Camp Atterbury taught us on is affectionately referred to as IED lane. I don’t know why, but as I rode in the Hummer today with my team with our eyes frantically scanning up, down, left, right, under the vehicle, behind the vehicle, in the bushes, ahead of the vehicle in front of us, (well, you get the idea …) As we were looking for IEDs, I couldn’t help but sing that Minnie Ripperton song, except that I changed the words to “Back down IED Lane.” I kept humming that tune over and over as we rolled the streets, scanning for explosives.

We were presented with several different examples of IEDs … some we found, some we didn’t. If you don’t know much about IEDs, the tricky thing about them is that they could be ANYTHING that a bomber can imagine and construct (thus, the word “improvised.”)

Think about your heart pounding fast because you’re in a dangerous area. Think about moving in a fast vehicle, trying to keep up with the vehicle in front of you; and now think about keeping your eyes peeled for any hostile enemy on the sides that may be trying to shoot at you. Now think about the possibility that every single inanimate object you see could potentially be an IED. Now think about the things you CAN’T see (like the bomb that’s set to explode once your hummer rolls over the invisible clear fishing line at 45-55 miles per hour.) Think about all of this, and you can imagine how tense simply riding in a car (in a war zone) can be.

The next time you meet someone who says they were in a convoy in Iraq or Afghanistan, thank them.

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