7.02.2007

Both Feet In The Pit of Hell

Its been ugly here recently. And welcome to the first massive understatement of this post. We, the supposed super-heroes of the world, have our hands full.

Yesterday started out the same way it always does. You get ready, get your gear on, and pile onto the vehicle. It starts moving, and for that time, the world consists only of that troops compartment. Then it finally stops and we make our final preparations. The ramp drops, and we're right there in the middle of it, not sure what to expect. Streets, houses all the same color, trash everywhere just like every other time I mention it, hundreds of wires crisscrossing in jumbled messes over the streets.

We took our building without any real event, and sat in place, waiting to be needed or something. After a while, we're told to get back on the truck, and we have no idea what's going on. While moving, we're told that we're escorting a casualty back. None of us had heard anything about any casualty. Was it someone from another unit?

We arrive outside the hospital and I find out that its someone from our company, head wound. Now we try to figure out who. And then the platoon leader fills us in.

Shot in the head. 50-50 chance.

Motherfuckers. I couldn't believe it. I couldn't sit still, couldn't calm down, just felt like I had to do SOMETHING, but I couldn't get away from any of it, it was all just stuck there. Some piece of shit rode by on a bike whistling and jiving, and he waved at me. I could have shot that asshole.

Having trouble recalling all of this, the reason for which I'll get to in a minute. In fact, I don't really remember what we did after that. I think we just sat in the stryker until it was time to leave. After the mission, we found out that our guy died.

Rage. Hate. The stages of grief, they told us that we cycle through them quickly, over and over. And its true. I cursed God with all my being, then I bargained with him to help this guy pull through.

"How fucking hard is it? 'No more, please' isn't that all I asked?"

It was one of my friends from my other platoon, my "home" platoon. I'm trying to describe this, and I honestly can't. I was just so furious and mixed up and totally fucked that I couldn't sit still, and there was nothing I could do, about anything. The guys from my current platoon were all really cool though. I have to give them that.

We were herded into some bullshit conference room for a combat-stress briefing. Waste of my time, what can they honestly do, especially at this point? Don't answer that. I ended up taking some antihistamine crap to knock me out for the night.

Can't even do him any justice with words. I'll talk about him more later when my head is right.



We went out today with a purpose, and we weren't taking any shit. Ramp drops, we pour out, vigilant and moving quick. We take our target building, and its abandoned. Some of the guys' Spidey-Senses start tingling. We go upstairs and onto the roof. There was a secondary roof as well. I followed F up the stairs to the higher roof to check it out real quick. The walls were way lower than usual, and we were exposed as hell. I didn't like it. I was standing by this huge pile and trash and shit and godknowswhat, and I definitely didn't like it. Spidey-Senses, a lot.

"This is good, let's head back down," I said. I went down the stairs, and apparently our squad leader went up, but I don't remember this. And I still can't remember exactly where I was when

BOOOOOOOOOM!!!!

The most apocalytpic, earth shattering noise AND sensation I'd ever experienced. Glass shattering everywhere, and this wall of dust and debris comes shooting at me, like the sand in the movie The Mummy. We're all screaming at each other and no one can hear anything.

Through the haze, I see my friend W in the stairway between the 1st floor and the 2nd floor roof. He's moving but barely. There's rubble all around him. I ran down there and grabbed him up, half helping, half pulling him up the stairs.

"ARE YOU OK???!"

We're stumbling and coughing. I don't what WHAT the hell is going on. The only thing I can think of doing is getting him into this room on the second floor, we're exposed in the open. I get him inside (thankfully he could still kind of walk, because I'm a big puss) and I set him down against the wall. I take his helmet off of him, and I'm screaming at him.

"CAN YOU HEAR ME?! ARE YOU ALL RIGHT?! HEY!!!"

Squad leader is on the radio. "WE'RE ON THE ROOF AND OUR GODDAMN BUILDING EXPLODED, THAT'S WHAT'S FUCKING HAPPENING!!"

"W!!! ARE YOU ALL RIGHT?! WHERE DOES IT HURT? WHAT HURTS! HEYY!!!"

Its blurry after that too. The .50 cal on the stryker outside starts rocking. Over and over again, the thunder of the gods, the sound of complete destruction, pumping death into the air. They found the observers.

F was right on top of the damn bomb, right where I had been when I decided 'fuck this roof'. He had an AT-4 rocket launcher on his back (the one that I promised to switch out with the axe as soon as we got inside and settled), and he was on a knee when it exploded. The squad leader, Sgt B, was knocked on his ass by the blast, and he got up and started yelling for F. No answer. Yells again.

"Unh..."

So he knows that he's alive. Now he can see F trying to crawl out of the rubble, top half is now out. For a second, Sgt B thinks that its that movie moment where the guy's whole bottom half is gone. Thank god that it isn't the case. He gets F off of the roof and into the room where I'm trying to talk to W. Then he gets on the radio. And there's your backstory flashback.

They get our two for-sure injured guys out to be medevaced. Then we start assessing ourselves. Headache? Uh, duh. Ears are ringing like holy chimes, louder than thunder, and everything sounds like its being screened through a tin can. Like blown speakers. Most of us noticed that our chests and or stomachs hurt. I felt like I had blue balls in my torso.

A little disoriented and feeling fucked up, and I've momentarily forgotten things, song lyrics, names of places or objects, but it comes to you. Sometimes just takes a minute. I'm pretty sure I'm fine though. Just jarred pretty good.

[EDIT: The AT-4 wasn't on F's back anymore. I had to go up onto the 3rd floor rooftop to look for it. I lowcrawled, screaming at my friends, "DON'T JUST SAY IT, FUCKING COVER ME!"

I couldn't see anything but debris. The walls had been blown off, and I did NOT want to be up there. I figured it had been thrown over the side. Turns out it was buried. EOD blew it up later.]

After that, we were set. We weren't playing today. I don't think anyone went back with the same amount of ammo they left with. Personally, I like warning shots a lot more, because no one's getting hurt, and they usually get the message. Still, people died today.

All day, gunfire, explosions. Without a doubt the most intense day I've had in the army.

When we finally got done out there, we went to the hospital to pick our two guys up, and they were even better off than we thought. See, W had been coming up the stairs when the explosion went off above him, raining down debris on him. We are some lucky sum-bitches, that's for sure. The whole squad had to be checked out afterwards, and at the very most, I've got a class 1 concussion, but I seriously doubt that. The doc said we were all fine to go to sleep and all that. They just wanted to document this stuff with our heads so that we're covered in the future if I ever become MTV-stupid.

This is all a lot to process, and I seriously can't write well enough to even TRY to paint it. Might have to try again later. Good night.

13 Comments:

  1. Anonymous said...
    A thousand things run through my mind to say to you, but I can't find the words.

    You already know that I love you, and you already know how brave and level-headed I think you are, and what a wonderful man I think you are.
    You already know that I think you are a gifted and talented writer.

    And you know that I can't wait to see you again, and that you are on my mind and in my prayers constantly. I love you.
    Mom
    Anonymous said...
    Thank God for your spidey-senses. mom
    Anonymous said...
    Pushing the angels into overdrive for this journey through the valley of the shadow....
    CB
    Anonymous said...
    i'm so sorry about your friend and what you guys went through... please know you are in my prayers.. jenny
    Anonymous said...
    Hearing this all happening to you makes me wish that I had some sort of faith in prayer, so that I could have some reassurance in your safety...because honestly, I'm terrified. Shaking even.

    Please please PLEASE be careful, because none of us can wait to see you come home again. I'm sorry that so many lives are being lost with this, and I'm even more sorry that it's lives of the people you know. Nothing about any of this is fair, and as much as I wish I could help, I feel like I'm stuck in the mud over here. At the very least know that I'm at least thinking of you every day and wishing for your safety and for the safety of everyone you're fighting alongside.

    We miss you.

    -Sham
    Rejenia said...
    You painted it very well. Good night, rest well. The only words I have are those that I use to surround all of you and your families in my prayers. Rest well sweet Prince.
    JG said...
    I am so sorry that it is so tough and that you lost a friend. I just came by your blog for the first time and want to tell you I am going to be praying for you till yo get home with your family. Chose your blog to come to because you made me laugh about hitting your head as you came into the house... in front of the home owner - funny!! God bless...
    SGT AWFord (former) said...
    For the loss of your friend I'm truly sorry.
    For your miraculous luck, I kiss the feet of a thousand rabbits.
    And for the vengeance you fellas laid down on the Hajis, I say "That's the way the Big Boys do it!".

    Stay strong and stay safe, Brother. Hooah!
    membrain said...
    I am so sorry for the loss of your friend. I can't imagine how you had the presence of mind to write this post. Truly remarkable.
    Jessie said...
    Doll baby, I go away for one whole day...and look at what happened. I don't know whether to hand out homemade cookies, tie you up in the non-existent basement here, or smack you on the head. Taking options one and two. Seriously, though...wanna hug? You deserve one, along with a tall glass of something strong enough to create a bonfire with.

    You're...just take care, yeah? Shitkickers otherwise. I'm sorry about your friend, because they're a useful lot (friends that is). And thank goodness that you're alive (seriously, not kidding: shitkickers). Just take care of what you need to do, because nothing that can be said will help. Just know that the offer for mama's cornbread pan is still on the table.

    Wanna sleeping pill? Mama's got a ton that she can't take. It looks like you could use some sound, dreamless sleep.

    *hugs*
    Strykeraunt said...
    I am sorry about your friend. I like what you call those spidey-senses. I call it listening to those angels on your shoulder. Keeping listening to them because they always seem to know know they're saying.
    Anonymous said...
    damn this f*cking war ~ never ignore your spidey senses

    went to TOOL on the fourth ~ thought of all of you over in the sandbox....wishing you were back home where you belong....had a beer in your honor....shed a tear for all the sensless losses ~ and then rocked the f*ck out cuz i figured THAT was the best way to honor all of you

    may you find some inner peace
    tool-fan-diane
    Anonymous said...
    God bless you bud, and stay safe.

    -A gratefull American-

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