With their commanding officers repeatedly failing to investigate, the kill team was starting to feel invulnerable. To encourage soldiers in other units to target unarmed civilians, Gibbs had given one of the “off the books” grenades he had scrounged to a friend from another battalion, Staff Sgt. Robert Stevens. “It showed up in a box on my desk,” recalled Stevens, a senior medic. “When I opened the box, I saw a grenade canister, which had a grenade in it and a dirty green sock.” Figuring the sock was some kind of joke, Stevens threw it away. Later, when he saw Gibbs, he mentioned getting the grenade.
“Did you get the other thing?” Gibbs asked.
“What, the sock?” Stevens said.
“No, what was in the sock,” Gibbs replied.
Inside the sock, Gibbs had placed a severed human finger.
Stevens got the message. On March 10th, as his convoy was driving down Highway 1, the central road connecting Kandahar to the north, Stevens stuck his head out of his Stryker’s open hatch and tossed the grenade. It detonated a few seconds later than he had anticipated, and when it blew, it thudded into the vehicle. Stevens immediately began firing at a nearby compound of huts, yelling at another platoon member to do the same. “Get the fuck up, Morgan!” he screamed. “Let’s go, shoot!”
Skip Schreiber, 64, gets online in his van, which is also his home, in the Bayview district of San Francisco. For his 60th birthday, he dipped into his monthly disability check to buy a laptop, connected it to his car battery, and taught himself to use it.