Some of the most memorable moments in the kaleidoscope of combat happen when unrelated events occur near one another, in place, or time, or both.
Army Major Robert Bowers recalls, in this 2006 interview with the Combat Studies Institute at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, one such serendipitous overlapping during his time in Iraq with the 75th Ranger Regiment:
There was another guy who had come up to the checkpoint when we had gone on another mission towards Tikrit. He had an AK-47 and was approaching the roadblock like he was going to shoot it, but the Rangers shot him first so they brought him back and had to amputate from mid-leg down.
I guess there was a spurt of blood against the wall. We were in one of the old fort’s administrative offices and that was where we were in-processing the prisoners. So there was blood splatter on the wall.
Well, we had another prisoner who was flown in and I guess the guy was a Bedouin or something because he was a relatively young guy, and I swear he died of a heart attack.
He was ready to be buried the next morning but then we got a surprise new bunch of prisoners.
As they were coming in, they saw the dead guy lying on the ground and the blood on the wall and they started singing like canaries.
Those kinds of stage prop techniques are very good because, if you get a disheveled person who is fatigued, and all of a sudden he sees all this stuff, it’s too much stimuli for him and they were singing like canaries. We were generating some real quality intelligence.