KHUBARI CROSSING, KUWAIT - What should have been a routine mission almost ended with an international incident for 1st Brigade, 34th Infantry Division, a National Guard unit from Minnesota. Deployed to Kuwait for the past ten months, the unit assisted in the drawdown of Iraq and has been in part of the Middle East Area Reaction Force, in order to help thwart the threats of countries like Iran. An infantry unit in 1/34th, the 2-135 IN, recently went out on an area patrol around Camp Buehring and Camp Virginia.
SSG Jonathan Erikson, a squad leader in the unit, was in charge when the events took place.
“We were headed north from Camp Buehring, just doing a patrol of the routes trying to make sure everything was ok. We came up to a large compound which I now know is Khubari Crossing. Apparently the gate was closed for some reason. We didn’t realize that at the time and just kind of drove around it. I thought we were still in Kuwait. Next thing ya’ know we’re in Sadr City.”
SPC Tyler Lokken, SSG Erikson’s driver, had a different story to tell.
“I kept telling that idiot we were going the wrong way. He kept insisting that we push forward and that we were still in Kuwait. When comms dropped out he just marked it off as shitty radios. Then, after about six hours of driving, I tried to explain that it only takes about 3 hours to drive all the way across Kuwait. He said to me, ‘Who the fuck do you think you are huh? I’m the damn Staff Sergeant here, so shut the fuck up and drive.’
The Iraqis were distressed at the sight of Americans once again. Lieutenant Sadik Al Mahara, an Iraqi Army Officer, elaborated further via telephone:
“As soon as we saw the Americans, I honestly thought to myself, Allah damnit, a THIRD invasion? Seriously? So I did what I did the last two times and threw my AK-47 on the ground and surrendered. Well, this time I didn’t get to surrender. When I approached the Americans to turn myself in, they were not prepared to process me as a detainee like they had before. It was at this point that I knew something was wrong. I was glad to give them directions back to Kuwait and send them on their way. Those Americans are always so nice.”
The White House released a statement following the event apologizing for the confusion. SSG Erikson was immediately promoted to the rank of 2nd Lieutenant.