2.08.2008

Flight Of The Valkyries

Oh-Dark-Fuck-Me-Rotten and we throw our gear on. I'd spent the previous night preparing.

"Suspect, here ya go, we're supposed to carry these," says our resident New Guy. He hands me a frag grenade, a flashbang grenade, a smoke grenade, and a star cluster thing. They've never given me grenades before.

Ah SHIT, what's this all about? Fuck, this is going to be some kind of crazy-ass hardcore mission or something isn't it? The Last Bastion Of Anti-American Bastards in a crazy Alamo fight, with every type of ordnance and dirty tactic in the book, ten foot tall desert warriors, complete devastation and total annihilation. Why the hell are they putting me back on the ground NOW? I'm SHORT! I go on leave real fuckin' soon! What kind of fucked up God would let me get hit right before leave?!

They'll set up all kinds of crazy traps and ambushes, then they'll run us down like dogs! I'm not trying to take a Hamburger Hill, I'm trying to suck down liquor and chase women with negotiable morals. What the fuck, over?

I double-check everything, and I clean my rifle and oil it. It's almost silent when I pull the charging handle back. Nice. I stick fresh batteries in my NODs. Fresh batteries in the optic sight on my rifle. Fresh batteries in the SureFire tac-light on the same rifle. Getting all ready to rock and whatnot, motivated, pseudo-high-speed type shit, Brand New Private kinda thing.



So there I am, Oh-Dark-Fuckin'-A, at the helipad. We're getting our brief and I take my NODs out and attach them to my helmet, then I flick them on to check them again.

Nothing.

I yank the helmet off and look at the NODs. Just like I figured, the battery cover had come off and was still inside the pouch on my body armor. One guy is holding my rifle for the light on it while I'm dicking with my NODs, trying to snap the cover closed (I don't have the normal one-battery slot most NODs do). I try them again.

Nothing.

At this point, I'm getting pretty damned nervous. Here we are, about to go on some big ol' super secret Army Strong mission, and my fucking nightvision doesn't work. I try different battery configurations, then I put another fresh set in, still nothing. Until I finally realize that the piece of metal on the lid that completes the circuit or facilitates the black magic or whatever, it's missing. It was in the bottom of my pouch, and we had to ghetto rig it just to get the bastard to work, but it finally did. Just in time to get on the bird and wait. And wait.



We're sitting on the benches that line both sides of the bird and I snap a picture. This sets off a chain reaction and now everyone's going through the Pre-Mission Ritual that we went through back when Iraq was still new and interesting to us. And then we waited some more.

The engine started, a damn near deafening whine, and still nothing. Then the bird started to shake, vibrate, gyrate, whatever. But nothing. The back ramp raised up, but nothing.

I kept looking at my watch, wondering when the hell we were going to actually lift off, when the rotors sped up and the ground shifted. I flipped my NODs on and looked out the open back.

A friend of mine will gladly tell you what a fag I am for thinking the following:

Through monochromatic shades of green, the helipad dropped out from underneath us, and the whole FOB followed. We leaned to the bird's left and the world tilted, bright green sky, lights glowing from here and there, and we were up and away.

Fucking breathtaking.

I stared in awe out the back, like a complete tool, as we passed clusters of houses and road and open nothingness and palm groves. Then a village panned behind us, every light like a glowing emerald. I closed the eye that looks through my NODs. Lame. I opened my nightvision eye again. Groovy.

It was almost like it wasn't even real, like no way could this be happening. This is too NOT mundane. Like there was a movie screen on the back of the bird with all sorts of crazy wind blowing in.

Then the darklights blinked a few times. Two minutes.

We continued to pass villages and desert wilderness until the bird sank down, leaning this way, then leveling, and then the ramp dropped and we poured out, the rotors whipping the shit out of the air. I took a knee once I was far enough away, but when the bird lifted off again, it still blew me over and I had to catch myself with my free hand.

And so began the mission. And it was productive.

19 Comments:

  1. Anonymous said...
    Shit, I'm on the edge of my seat here. WHAT HAPPENS NEXT???

    (Good writing, by the way. Very descriptive and visual)
    Anonymous said...
    It's reading the first chapter in your book! Can't wait for chapter 2!

    Aunt Sandy
    themorethingschange... said...
    Yea! Suspect's sounding jazzed!!

    REALLY jazzed

    and I'm sittin' here shusshing the dog and shifting the cat so I can see the screen as I scroll...

    holding my breath...

    scroll some more...

    want to skip to the end....

    scroll some more...

    clutching the cat and now he can't breathe either...

    what a rush!

    you've become one of the writers I can't wait to read...

    ~P~

    PS: aren't ya glad you weren't on leave!
    Shari said...
    Wow! Sounds like you had some *fun* ....tell us more if/when you can!! Glad to hear you sounding so pumped up too!!
    David M said...
    The Thunder Run has linked to this post in the - Web Reconnaissance for 02/08/2008 A short recon of what’s out there that might draw your attention, updated throughout the day...so check back often.
    Anonymous said...
    That was awesome!
    Red said...
    DUDE!! Where's the rest of it?!

    Reading that raised my heartrate...seriously. You are a fantastic writer. It's easy to see what you're saying.

    Glad you got to DO something!
    Ky Woman said...
    Damn Suspect....
    Don't leave us hangin! I've been reading lots of stuff about those NOD's. If you can, go read what billandbobsadventure.blogspot.com saw thru his NOD's in A'stan.... More great reading.

    Come on! Give us the rest of the story.
    Anonymous said...
    Wow! A cliffhanger! You just kicked it up a notch... NICE!
    membrain said...
    Always leave 'em wanting more. Great job.
    Anonymous said...
    Uhmm, ah, it looks like you made it back . . . good mission then?
    Jean said...
    and.....
    Sisu said...
    Excellent post, Suspect! Nice description of the landscape through the NODs
    Earl said...
    Cool, ghetto rigging NODs! What are we paying for? loved the poetry of the lift off and the tease that there is more about the mission's success if we tune in next week, and of course the rocking beat coming out of the stereo speakers. I would almost enlist for that kind of play, if I weren't so worn and torn... thanks.
    otherstrykermom said...
    That was an awesome appetizer, and yes, like the others I want to hear more. Great writing, and thanks for sharing it with us.
    Anonymous said...
    your writing is getting better all the time

    material like this does not come along very often

    happy hunting soldier
    Jade said...
    That was so interesting.
    You need to write a book for sure.
    It has all of the feelings of a good novel.

    Yet its real...
    I love it.
    Thank you for sharing your experience.

    I wish you safe travels :)
    Aprillini said...
    yep,inside your head is pretty damn interesting. fucking awesome writing.
    Office Lady said...
    ...and in the midst of all that brilliance (your posts, I mean)...there is an undeniable sense of sadness.

    Those words of yours are definitely compelling, but your heart comes through. Like it or not.

    Even if you could tell about that successful mission, I think you'd rather not. That's ok, we get it.

    Keep talking to us - we are listening.

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