WarPig 1 at Golden Gate

Jon Cornett, a gunner in WarPig 1, just shared some photos with me.  They were taken with a portable film camera, and include shots of Gannon and Operation Matador.  One of them is from Day 1 of Matador, and is pretty cool.  It was taken from WarPig 1’s blocking position near the Golden Gate bridge north of Karabilah, where they held for several days and nights trading shots with the insurgents.

The photo’s cool ’cause it shows an enemy mortar round at the moment of impact. I looks to be 200-300 meters away but you can see dark gray puff of the explosion.  Even though that impact wasn’t too close, it gives you some idea of how exposed the Marines were.  Jon says the guntruck seen on the left carried two Cobra helo pilots who were FACs with the ANGLICO team, calling in air support at the bridge fight.  One appears to be out of the vehicle, maybe trying to spot an enemy position to call air in on.

Just to the right of the tree, you can see the ‘splash’ of the mortar round.  Below it is a more zoomed in view.

WarPig1 mortar
Jon Cornett photo
WarPig1 mortar zoomed
Jon Cornett photo (zoomed in)

Here’s how he describes the scene:

We had pulled up to take our positions in the middle of the field, to relieve the tanks [and WarPig 2].  Once we were set, one of the tanks ran over a mine/IED.  Shortly after the explosion, we started to receive semi-accurate mortar fire.  At that point, a Huey gunship landed to Medevac the wounded tank crew.  Once the Huey took off a mortar landed right next to the one unarmored guntruck.  The shrapnel flattened both driver-side tires and cause other damage. 

At that point we opened fire on the buildings facing the field. We were trying to hit any forward observers the insurgents might have had.  Then we withdrew to a somewhat shielded area by the river.  We continued to get mortar fire and exchange fire for the rest of the day, with it slowing later in the day.  I think we were in that open field for several hours before we withdrew.
–Jon Cornett, WarPig 1

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