In Iraq for 365

About my experiences in Iraq... the frustrations, the missions and this country... and the journey home

Sunday, November 28, 2004

Thoughts in a combat zone

What do we think about in a combat zone?

Death, the mission and family.

Imagine packing your bags and saying goodbye to your family for at least a year, maybe longer, and going into the most hostile situation the United States has faced in the last four decades. Everybody’s seen war movies that depict a soldier saying “I’ll come back; I promise.” And he returns in a coffin with an American flag draped over it. Death lurks in the back of our minds: on missions, while we sleep and when we wake up. People have been killed in this conflict by mortars, sniper fire or bombs. Every single day, it’s there: the thoughts, the worries and the fear that you or one of your soldiers’ may lose their life.

Our jobs – which are very demanding – occupy much of our thoughts. I promise you that every solider here gives it their all. Yeah, we may whine about a certain mission: “I don’t want to do that or this.” But as soon as we cross the wire, our minds are focused and are prepared to execute the mission no matter the cost. We are fighting a war, and we don’t plan on losing even if we do fear the worst. I am a firm believer in the resiliency of the American soldier. I have seen soldiers conduct heroic acts and save lives while mocking death. We know this enemy will try anything to kill us; what they don’t understand is we are a lot smarter than they are. And they have as good of a shot at beating us as Rutgers or Baylor has at winning a national title in football.

I spent a good portion of my day comforting a friend who just lost their father. Losing a family member is hard, but losing them when you’re thousands of miles away in a combat zone is even harder. When anything family oriented happens, it hits soldiers 30 times harder. We feel an amazing amount of guilt, “I should have spent more time with him. I should have been there. I wish I were with him.” Perhaps, it’s just because we’re human and hurting on the inside and it’s our nature to blame ourselves – even though there’s nothing we could have done. Bottom line, it’s really hard being away from home. You miss your family, and when something bad happens, it just flat out hurts. As for my friend, this soldier father’s mentioned several times how proud he was of her. See, this soldier’s dad was a soldier too. And he understood what she was going through. She’ll never forget the last words he said to her, months ago, “I’m so proud of you.”

Our thoughts are with the ones we love more than anything else. I’ve found myself randomly thinking about the times my dad used to take me to football games or when my mom spanked me so hard that I cried for two hours or the time my little brother shot me in the face with a BB gun. I always laugh. Pictures of my family hang near my bunk, along with a couple scandalous photos of Britney Spears (man, she’s hot). I think about them constantly, and even though, it’s hard for me to relate to them anymore… I love my family more than ever and I cherish all the wonderful friendships I’ve made through the years, and regret a few relationships with girlfriends. But that’s another story.

Please note that this blog is of my own opinion and is not endorsed by the U.S. Army or other military branches. Please do not quote me in your stories.

8 Comments:

At 5:27 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

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At 12:27 AM, Blogger Chlora said...

Just wanted to say great job, nice blog!

Amateurs

 
At 5:35 AM, Blogger Bill Adams said...

Veteran's Day is November 11th and I hope that EVERY American will be flying the flag in honor of our troops fighting in Iraq and around the world to preserve our freedoms!

I can even tell you where to get one for free! Visit AmericanFlags.com right now and they'll send you a FREE American Flag. These flags were $19.99, but now they are FREE. You pay just for shipping/handling and they'll ship one to your door. (Actually - I've ordered more than 20 from them to give to my neighbors, as gifts, etc!)

Get your free flag now: **FREE AMERICAN FLAG**

Semper Fi!

Bill Adams

 
At 1:46 PM, Blogger David Pakman said...

Hey, excellent website. A great Iraq resource is Deaths in Iraq. It breaks all of the casualties down by age, race, branch of the military, country, etc.

 
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At 6:16 PM, Blogger Arnie Brown said...

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At 9:46 PM, Blogger Arnie Brown said...

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