Today marks the fourteen year anniversary of the April 9, 2004 convoy attack that left 3 soldiers KIA, 7 civilian contractor truck drivers KIA, which the remains of one have never been found and 29 wounded.
724th Transportation Company
23 Soldiers – 3 Killed 16 Wounded
20 Contractors – 7 Killed 13 Wounded
19 Trucks – destroyed
17 Tankers each loaded with 7.5K JP8 totaling 127,500 gallons – destroyed
That was the day that changed the lives of many soldiers and civilian contractors that worked in Iraq to support the military, especially the men and their families of those that were on this convoy.
On April 9, 2004, 23 soldiers operating 4 Gun Trucks and 3 HMMWV’s escorting 20 civilian truck drivers driving 17 trucks and tankers loaded with 7.5K gallons of JP8 each plus 2 recovery bobtails, left LSA Anaconda on a fuel mission to Baghdad. None of the 19 trucks and 17 fuel tankers made it to their final destination.
I was part of this mission. The wounds you don’t see hurt the most.
The truckers came from ordinary American towns. They were hauling jet fuel across one of the most dangerous roads in Iraq on a day when the insurgency was exploding. The trucks had no armor. The men had no weapons.
As they neared the end of their run, the 26-vehicle convoy trundled into a valley of fire. Insurgents on both sides of the road opened up. Bullets shredded cabs. Rocket-propelled grenades flipped tankers like toys. Thick black smoke blotted out the road.
Trapped, lost, their trucks afire and losing speed, the men desperately pushed on. For five miles, they maneuvered through flames, blood and fear. Some were cut down as they fled crippled vehicles. Others cried for help as they burned. One man, bleeding to death in the arms of a companion, called out his children’s names.
But others weren’t so lucky. Six truck drivers for KBR were KIA that day and 13 were wounded. One trucker, Timothy Bell, was listed as MIA and later changed to KIA, bringing the total to 7 KIA. Two U.S. soldiers escorting the convoy were killed, and one, Staff Sgt. Keith M. Maupin is MIA. His remains were found in March 2008.
Of 43 men on the convoy, 29 were injured, 10 were killed.
The 724th Transportation Group fought valiantly that day to protect us as much as humanely possible, but when you are being overrun by 200-300 insurgents, survival is your main objective.
It remains the deadliest incident involving American contractors in the war in Iraq.