11.10.2007

The Voice Of God

A fierce and angry, soul snatching claw wraps around my ankle and jerks at my sleeping bag. I look over my shoulder with perma-sealed sleep eyes and my headphones fall halfway off of my head.

"Wake up, CO needs one vehicle crew to be ready to roll in 20 minutes."

I look at the clock on my computer. The math doesn't add up, because wakeup was supposed to be 0630, but it was clearly two in the morning. No, something about this doesn't add up at all.

I put my uniform on in a stupor, wondering what the hell the deal was. Today's mission was supposed to be another routine borefest, but not in the small hours of the morning. Bullshit.

Out at the trucks, we sucked down tiny cans of RipIt, the Army's outsourced energy fuel since RedBull is made by liberal Nazis or something. We waited to leave, rubbing the hibernation sickness out of our eyes.



Standing out of the air guard hatch, flying down the road in the middle of the night with my NODs (the nightvision shit, remember?) on, the whole world has this bizarre surreal feeling to it. The street lights in the distance along with all the other ambient light create strange glows, and the scenery is all hues of green passing by at 40 miles an hour.

We reach our destination and the ramp drops. I pile out and throw the sling over my shoulder, then I start scanning for that boogeyman that isn't even there. We begin our walk to our target. Nightvision in one eye, dim street lights and shadows in the other. Speakers on top of buildings crackle and begin to play.

It's a man alone singing in Arabic. The singing comes in starts and stops, in bursts. The pause...then the next line or verse. It's that haunting Middle Eastern style, the blatantly religious one man choir. Call to Prayer? Or Call to Arms?

My shadow follows me along the walls of courtyards, from the corner of my eye I can see my reflection, all that gear, the rifle, the helmet, and the nightvision optic jutting out. I'm carrying a loadout worth more than my entire enlistment bonus.

The voice starts and stops and we go about our friendly American-style wakeup procedures. Five Star Hotel in nature.




They have some interesting music that creates an odd mood. But then again, so do we.

It was mid afternoon and I was slouching in the back of one of our trucks. We had rigged up speakers and a subwoofer, and I brought my laptop to plug in so we could have some music on another long and boring day. Until a surprise command of "Dismount" slaps me out of my stupor.

"The Mark Has Been Made" by Nine Inch Nails (the most commonly repeated song in the film "Man On Fire") is playing as the ramp lowers. Just as the song gets cold and ugly and the drums kick in to deliver that ragged badass moment, we step off of the truck. An old man with the headdress and all is sitting twenty feet away from us, staring. Kids were running around in the field, and now all their eyes were fixed on us. Wonder what kind of moment they had.

14 Comments:

  1. wakingdaydreams said...
    Another amazing read, as always, but a little trippy with the gunfighter music at the top of your list playing.

    Hey, so let me know when you get your package from me...let me know what sucked, what didn't, and what you'd really like sent to you.

    -Mandy
    Anonymous said...
    NIN "The Mark Has Been Made"-the Iraq war equivalent to Wagner's "Ride of the Valkyries" blaring in Viet Nam.
    Rock on guys,
    CB
    Anonymous said...
    I found your blog while searching for the "war bloggers" that I had recently seen on CNN. I couldn't stop reading your blogs!! They are witty, hilarious, poignant and just the way us military folk like it-dripping with sarcasm!! I'm a Navy Reservist who is waiting on orders to deploy to Kuwait for a year. I will definately be stopping by to check out your lastest entries. I have only seen one picture of you on your blog. Post some more, it's fun to put a face with this great writing. Keep it up!!

    QM3 from Kentucky
    Anonymous said...
    The music definitely creates mood. My daughter, when in Iraq, would listen often to Kid Rock stuff...some kind of "fire=up" to feel stronger?
    4/2 mom
    Anonymous said...
    I love reading your blogs. I want you to know there's A LOT of other people who are enjoying your writing, but they can't post comments because their server won't let them. (security, and all that).


    HAS IT ONLY BEEN 5 MONTHS??????????????
    my own hero said...
    I commented on the rollover post. I just wanted to say that I finished reading this blog back through february and it was cool to hear about benning. I went through there in 99 and I loved it. Aparently the 30th AG hasn't changed much. I have now started reading from 2005 and I cant wait to be all caught up. I enoy reading your stuff because it actually reminds me of myself. I should have my active duty contract pretty soon, so I'll get to experience the suck that is Iraq myself soon. Keep posting and Ill keep reading.
    red_260 said...
    Yesterday was Veterans Day, which to many people means a day off work with pay. Not me, so it didn't mean much. As I flipped through the channels I found "Band of Bloggers". Awesome... I am completely touched and remembered that I do live in a country that is "Home of the free, because of the brave!" I will read these blogs even though I have never blogged. I can't even imagine the life changes that are happening to you.... life is good here in Indiana. Thanks.
    Anonymous said...
    HEY!!! You're on the History Channel!!! COOOL! You are the first Sonju in the history of all Sonjus to make the news without an arrest report! Screw the Greek or Roman god idea... you are WAY past that. Dude. You should be an action figure!!! Better yet, you should be the new guy on Halo 4!

    Aunt Sandy
    auteur paresseux said...
    Saw you on Band of Bloggers and looked you up. What a great blog. Stay safe.
    Anonymous said...
    Ok, where the hell are you? Last post was 11/10. It is now 11/14. I am a mom of a 2nd SCR soldier who is over there. I need your post so I have an idea of what is going on. Come on dude..........pull your head out of your ass and POST SOMETHING...ANYTHING!! BTW, how the hell did you do almost 2 yrs from MEPS to deployment? My son was a year to the day. WTF?
    Anonymous said...
    Jeez, you don't need to chew him out. It's not like he doesn't have anything else to do over there. Hey, suspect, I enjoyed your blog.
    Anonymous said...
    Yes, I agree! Cut him some slack!
    NUKERO said...
    Good stuff, pithy and all that. The sarcasm is a nice touch and keeps it human. God speed to all of you guys and THANKS.

    Maj USAF, Ret (SA, TX)
    membrain said...
    "The Mark Has Been Made" by Nine Inch Nails (the most commonly repeated song in the film "Man On Fire") is playing as the ramp lowers. Just as the song gets cold and ugly and the drums kick in to deliver that ragged badass moment, we step off of the truck. An old man with the headdress and all is sitting twenty feet away from us, staring. Kids were running around in the field, and now all their eyes were fixed on us. Wonder what kind of moment they had."

    Another excellent post Ryan. your writing is getting to the point that I could actually visulize the scene above. Strangely just as I got that part CCR's Fortunate Son from your play list came blasting through my headphones. Music from my era. Time to Run Through the Jungle boy.

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