This happened back in the Summer of 2005. I was stationed in Iraq. My platoon was assigned Roving Patrol at the time. We were patrolling near our Convoy Support Center, running down the canal roads looking for potential mortar sites, bad guys up to no good, cheap pirated DVDs, and so on and so forth. Great times. Anyways, the thing about the majority of the canal roads is that they were typically about 12 inches narrower than the width of the HMMWV (humvee) that we rolled in back then. The way they made the canals was basically “Scoop from the right, pile on the left.” So, you’d have a HUGE berm on one side, and a really deep canal on the other side. The canals were normally about a 10 foot drop, 15 foot of water depth, then 6 foot of mud at the bottom. So, if an uparmored vehicle fell into the canal, it’d typically sink deep enough that you couldn’t get out. Anyways, my gunner was up in the hatch and was trying to back me out of a canal one night. He was standing up, looking back, and giving me directions. We came up on a dog leg in the canal and he forgot that if he was facing the rear of the vehicle, his right became my left. He backed me right off into the edge of the canal. By the luck of God, the back left tire caught on a rock, the front right tire caught the edge of the canal road. I was driving and immediately hit the brakes, holding the wheel and the brakes to keep us from tumbling. My Truck Commander, Interpreter, & Gunner had to climb out the gunner’s hatch, stand on the windshield, and jump onto the canal road. However, I couldn’t let go, because the wheel would turn and the brakes wouldn’t hold without pressure. The other vehicle with my patrol couldn’t connect my front tow bar due to the angle. My emergency strap was inaccessible, since it was in the back of the humvee hanging over the canal.

So there I am, stuck in a heavy vehicle, in full body armor, pretty much kissing my ass goodbye. I stripped off as much as I could from the position I was in. I couldn’t even go out the window, because it was too small. The only solution we could come up with was attach chock block chains (sized about what you’d use to temporarily tie up a dog outside), low-weight ratchet straps from coolers and ammo cans, etc. to the vehicles and try to pull me out. In one of the photos I’m attaching, you can see me sitting in the driver’s seat waving “goodbye” to everyone. At least the dog leg gave us a little more room to maneuver the vehicles.

I warned the other driver than when I came up, I might rear end him. I also was afraid that if the straps didn’t break, I might drag him back with me into the canal, to just jump out before I took him with me.

When I came up, I hit hard. I broke two springs, three shocks, and somehow managed to sheer the power steering pump off the engine. The rear differential was shot too. I had to drive it back to the base at a whopping 25 mph in 4 High in an area that was NOT happy that we were there visiting. The drive back also trashed the transfer case.

Great memories now, but scary as hell then. My best friend on that deployment was determined to get me out that vehicle if it went in. He stripped to underwear and t-shirt, tied some 550 cord around his waist, and was prepared to go in after me. It’d have gotten him killed too, since there’s no way he could have gotten me out. The doors weigh 600 lbs by themselves. The only sensitive item I kept in that vehicle was my 9mm. I’d already decided I’d eat a bullet before I’d drown in that nasty Iraqi water. I was lucky, but there are plenty of units that had stories like that that didn’t turn out as a cool “stuck” story.

Now, my buddies from that deployment have a saying...”There’s stuck, and then there’s Army Stuck.”