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Close Calls
“A year? Twelve months? You’re kidding, right?” I had to make sure the news I had just heard was for real. But it was no joke.

Close Calls

Spec. Joe Olsen, U.S. Military Police, Iraq (2003–2004)

“A year? Twelve months? You’re kidding, right?” I had to make sure the news I had just heard was for real. But it was no joke.

Upon arriving in Baghdad, we soon found out our deployment would be twice as long as the six-month duration we were originally told. One more year of trying to avoid roadside bombs, snipers, rocket propelled grenades, and the like. As the deployment went on, the violence escalated, but God remained faithful to me.

I made regular trips to Baghdad International Airport and Camp Victory that was next to the airport. One time we were late getting started on our mission, and as we got down the road we had to take a detour when the main road was closed because an IED was found. Had we been on time, my convoy may have been hit.

When detouring around it, our lead vehicle led us into a marketplace. Instantly, we were surrounded by people both friendly and unfriendly but of course, we couldn’t tell who was who. The multi-story buildings all around provided plenty of places for snipers to ambush, but God delivered us safely out, and we returned to our camp without incident.

On another trip to Camp Victory, just before we were to leave to go back to our camp, we heard gunfire just outside the gate.

“Sniper fire,” we were told. “Be alert.” As we pulled out the gunfire stopped; once again, we returned to camp without a scratch.

Another time, our building took a direct hit from an RPG that landed on the roof in the very spot where I would talk on the phone when I had the chance.

These experiences were reminders of God’s vigilance. I will never know in this lifetime if any IED’s malfunctioned and did not detonate, or how close a sniper’s bullet came to me, but I do know that any attempt on my life was foiled. We were scheduled to go home during the height of the violence, but instead we were extended for three more months. Despite all of these dangers, injury or death did not touch me.


Lord, help me trust you for all the details of my life, both large and small.

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