A narration of Operation Morvarid

The Story of Remainders’ Efforts in Paykan Gunboat to be Kept Alive at Persian Gulf (II)

Maryam Asadi Jafari
Translated by Fazel Shirzad


Saying goodbye to Paykan Gunboat

On Friday, November 27th, I was the last one left Dezh at 12:30 o'clock and rode on paykan Gunboat. I think this event was resulted from an excitement taken place in Bushehr. Now, suppose that we were unaware of the enemy's rocket launcher and forget it! At 13:30, Paykan Gunboat left Dezh while there were a hill of tied metals and some drowned ships and Iraqi fighters who were remained behind it. It was a quarter to one p.m.; it means we were traveling for about 15 minutes, when we reached at the speed of 30 km per hour, and coming back towards Bushehr. Suddenly, the Gunboat which we have forgotten it, appeared. It waited there until we moved far away a little; then it shot two rackets at the same time toward us. With a maneuver by Hussein Hafizi, gunner and commander of gunboat, the rocket were diverted. When I rode on Pakyan Gunboat, actually I was very sad; because a decision was flimsy made that it was not a strategic one; Therefore, I did not like to be in relation with Paykan’s officials. Ibrahim Mohammadi who was with me and was rocket launcher, came and said: "If you want to take rest, let's go to wardroom and sleep on my bed! I said to me: "it is better to go to bed; because I did not sleep and eat enough food, and I was also tired and sad. I went to bridge and climbed the stairs. Martyr Hemmati was standing in middle of bridge. I just look at his eyes. Certainly, there was a big question and reason in my eyes. He said me: "Sir! It is late."  All of the officer called each other in English language "sir". He repeated it. I also didn’t ask what is late. I came on the bridge. I sat on the chair of commander on deck. In those days, martyr Hemmati attended in the bridge.  Martyr Hussein Hafizi was also sitting in front of me and we were speaking about the operation. Suddenly, the left observer cried; " Rocket!  Rocket! "I looked left side and Martyr Hafizi also looked right side. Two rockets were shot towards us horribly to destroy our gunboat.  I said to me: "John Doe!  If you see a rocket, get a reaction!" at that time, it was not same as the situation in Dezh Al-bekr, because I was moving to find a place. Martyr Hafizi went quickly inside the bridge and said: "turn the steerage left!" The gunboat turned towards the rockets. It caused the rocket to do maneuver too. We sidestepped against the rocket not to be killed. The first rocket impacted on the waterspout of the gunboat. It means the first rocket was exploded far from the gunboat. The second rocket impacted on heelpiece of gunboat i.e. the end part of it where if I slept there, I would be killed in there. Those who were in the end part of the gunboat were injured actually and we observed the parted bodies, but alive, of the friends. It was a tragic scene, when we saw the comrades in this situation.

We was sure that the third rocket would be shot. At the distance of the first rocket and third one. I did not see Hemmati and Hafizi, because Hafizi, after turned the steerage left, went to operation room and informed our situation to military forces. I could find the officers of Paykan Gunboat. There were only some of staffs of the gunboat and I was not familiar enough with them. I can remember that we did some activities there. We had some machine gun G3 M. although they had not influence on the rocket, we used them to do the least work as we able to do. When the staffs of gunboat fond us exhausted to defend, one of them said: "I'm going to bring some life jackets. They wore the life jacket, moving from right side of gunboat to the end of part of it. One of commandos of special operation took a gun G3 and lay down, and I also jumped on the bridge to keep the stripe of bullets. As soon as I put my hand under the stripe of bullets to smooth it, the third rocket was very close to us, and it would exactly impact on the bridge. We had 20 to 30 seconds times to save ourselves. I cried: "leave the gunboat…leave the gunboat!" I encourage the others to jump into water. I lifted the commando and pushed him into water. I glanced at the rocket for last time and jumped into water after impacting the rocket on the gunboat. I swam and went under water until the explosion to be ended and tried to be from the wave of explosion. The rocket injured the some parts on top of the gunboat. And I found myself drowning under water. I said to me again: "John Doe! You are drowning…" it was very strange feeling, but I was worried. Suddenly, the broken parts of gunboat left me. I was taught to swim towards the light whenever I lost. I found the light and I ascended to surface of water. When I come back to world of alive people, because there were a lot of corpses around me. At the same time, I said to me: "record the event!" I locked my watch; it was a quarter of one o'clock.


An attempt to live

Thereafter, I attempted to be alive at the sea. I was in water for four and a half hour. I was swimming to gather the forces. I think thirteen of them were alive. Two fighters had gone in other way, and I didn’t know who were they? I thought they were the Iraqi prisoners. They took a sailboat and were moving by wind. Naser and I followed them to capture and turn them back. The boat had not been injured. One of the life boat was injured by quivers and was floating. We could not capture them; therefore, we came back and gathered the fighters. As the marine laws, the most senior person or officer at the sea is commander of event; so, I became commander again, and I began to do duties. Warrant officer Satar, the Iraqi prisoner whom I was not able to take his arm,   jumped into water to save an injured fighter of Paykan Gunboat as if they wanted to improve the soldiers’ morale. Naser and Satar caught the boat and tried to lead it to improve the soldier's moral so much. In this situation, human usually behave in different way. The comrade helped the injured fighters. To aid and comfort the comrade and injured was an innovation from Naser. The fighters was exited from the terrible atmosphere by saying "Ya Hussain" and "Ya Ali".  

A gunboat was as a home and a family for its members, it was not only a military unit; because they were living together, and there was a relation among the members. Those who were martyred, were living together in Paykan Gunboat for some years; therefore, they were in worse spiritual condition than us. I was always thinking to protect and ensure the soldiers against the enemy. By the time, the gunboat of enemy, which shot our gunboat, appeared and was coming toward us; we were not sure whether it would shoot us or not? Because we had killed the Iraqi fighters in their gunboat. Later, we found that there were some officials, who were remainders of other three injured gunboats, on that gunboat. It was possible that the remainders decided upon an action against us. A lot of ideas and prediction came to our mind; we, for example, might be captured and tortured by them etc. the gunboat was coming near momentarily, but our fighter had not arrived there yet. We hided in the water and watched the enemy's gunboat was coming and seemed bigger.  I was worried if I would be captured by Iraqi fighters, I could resist for two or three days considering I had military information. I thought that it was better to take off my military coat. My under wear was as a cook wear of the gunboat. In a while, I had no choice. May be I should go and choke Satar under water. It was not easy because he was power and a diver, and he was able to react in water better than me, and I should ask other to resist for two or three days and don’t reveal my name and say I was a cook of gunboat. If the Iraqi forces found me as a commander, they would change the passwords of sea force. I came back and lay down on back in water. I was taking my coat out to throw it away. I had some loads of gun and some papers of massage exchanged among the units, and I also had an identity card and put them in my back pocket to throw in water in the last moment. I lay down in the water again to take out the coat, by the time I saw the white bottom of airplane F14 over my head. Immediately, I fastened the buttons of the coat and put it on. The airplane F14 flew around there. It shot a rocket towards the gunboat, but it failed.  It shot again and the rocket exploded on an impact in middle of gunboat.  Martyr Abbas Doran was the pilot of the airplane; at this point of time, I remember him as a pilot of air force who attended in this operation.


Life raft

It did take a long time; a helicopter arrived there after 2:00 o'clock. As the law of sea force, when the fighters were being rescued, the senior one should be rescued as a last one; therefore, I stayed there and count the rescued fighters. When a helicopter came close to water, the water can be shaped as a needle; so, when your eyes was influenced by these needle, you are not able to open it for a while, you should close your eyes momentarily and open them again. When I counted up to 9, I felt that I was not able to count more. Then, I was not sure whether I counted up to 10 or not? As I was tired, I thought that the Iraqi fighters have seen me. Suddenly, the helicopter that arrived there to save us, flied and went considering some our injured fighters, out of my sight, were waiting to be rescued in turn such as Naser Sarnevesht and Iraqi Satar and one of the injured fighters in Paykan Gunboat who were plunged in water around life raft (kind of nonmetallic boat which can be inflated and it is designed to save the ship's crews immediately in an instant condition). Naser supposed I was rescued and ridden on the helicopter and I supposed he was rescued too.

Naser was a skillful swimmer and his morale was high and superior. I did not have trouble with him. Kosha was also injured but he didn’t talk about it. I met him for two or three times, but I didn’t know that he was injured by quiver in spinal cord. He sat on the edge of life raft and was over hung. He did not confined his trouble to me; I didn’t ask him about his trouble as well. I also did not ask to Rahman; because I wanted them to solve their problems by themselves. All of the injured went and we, four persons, remained there. I did have a roundly life jacket; I found a piece of cork and put it under my stomach. It was good and I felt comfortable with it. Now, I didn’t have charge of something. I was only responsible for me, and I didn’t bear any burden of responsibility. I decided to come back Dezh Al-Bekr; I began to swim, when I was swimming in water, my eyes were heavy with sleep. I was tired. Whenever I dropped off to sleep, I lay down vertically, and then I woke up because of impact of water on my face. Again I found the cork and put it under my stomach and swam. I arrived to a place where it was at a distance of 100 meter to my target. I saw lumps which were the guide of Arvand Rud (river). The lumps were guides to get Arvand Rud and they were anchored and fixed to bottom of sea. The ships should be placed among the lumps. I tried to arrive there as much as possible. I changed the angle of direction to swim with airflow, but I failed. I used of my all power to swim ahead, but I failed. I could not swim as if someone put his hand on my chest and push me back, and he said me: "come back! Come back!, I came back the path. I arrived in middle of Persian Gulf again. Why? I didn’t know logically, I shouldn’t waste my power to come back and continue to swim, whenever I was raised by the wave of the sea. The perspective will be a bit wider. I was also searching the horizon at a long-distance. I found s satin on the horizon of sea. As I was very tired, I was not able to recognize it, but I named it life raft. I didn’t know why did I name a life raft? Why not other names? I was worried because the sun was going down, and it was not possible to search and rescue at night; therefore, I continued to swim. I swam for one and half hour to get there. When I came close to the target, I found it was a life boat for a gunboat.

I was doubtful that was the life raft for us?  Was it the boat of Paykan which Iraqi forces rode on and went fat from us? Anyhow, it made no different. I thought that it was better to near it and stay at suitable distance, and if our helicopter arrived here, would ride on it, but if the enemy's helicopter came, the life raft would be left here, and I rode on it. Someone was waving his hand to me on the raft. I tried to keep the raft's distance. The evening was coming. Our helicopter arrived there. To save and hoist the first and second injured took a few time. Meantime, I swam quickly to catch life rope was thrown at the sea. I found that I was incapable of rising my hand. I swam and stayed in the circle of rope, and I tied the rope around my body, and they hoisted me into helicopter. When I rode on it, there were two persons, one of them was commando Mahnavi Hamid Zanganeh. I came back Bushehr. I was stayed at hospital tomorrow morning, I called military force and requested to come back military force. Finally I came back military force and found the forces in mourning." Where is Naser?"  it was my first question I asked them. On November 28th , Naser and Satar, Iraqi prisoners, were found on Saturday at 10 o'clock in the morning. Unfortunately, the injured one of Paykan Gunboat martyred at 12p.m. the memoirs of Naser Sarnevesht by himself is very pleasant to listen.          


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