Posted on Tuesday, January 17 2012 @ 12:48:57 Eastern
A long time ago, I wrote a blog about growing up with the military, and what it could mean should I have to go to war. Well, I had to. Given my job choice, it was inevitable. The primary mission at Minot, ND is nuclear security. We don't send troops often, but my squad got picked from Global Strike Command to do time in the desert. We would be providing close security for VIPs conducting the "hearts and minds" talks with locals. As a warning, some of this is going to be graphic, and maybe offensive. If you don't agree with this topic, you don't have to be here.
The first issue we ran into was due to unit cohesion. We just found out that one of the Army guys was gay. One of the religious guys on our squad lost his mind and refused to stack up. We were about to secure a derelict gas station to use as a brief rest while maintenance was done on the Hummers. We decided on dual entry to separate the quarrelers and we made a fast breach. No hostilities or suspicious packages. Now our cross jumper accused the gay man of flagging him with his weapon. The shouting match attracted the attention of a nearby goat farmer, who had access to the basement without our knowledge. He ran upstairs and knocked down a shelf that was blocking a door we hadn't seen. Unfortunately I was the closest one. Frantically yelling, the man grabbed for my rifle as I raised it. Given his position and mine, the quickest option was to smash my weapon into his face. The corner below the barrel and at the top of the magazine well struck the man in the mouth. Teeth on metal. The scream of anger and pain. The man went down hard at my feet, and I launched my right boot to keep him down. Steel toe boots make a specific sound when they hit flesh and bone. More teeth came out, and I split his lower jaw in two. I'd kicked him under the chin.
Our next issue came from a misfired IED. The charge disabled our Hummer, but only briefly. When stopped, we got rushed by three men. Being in the killzone of an ambush might be the worst place to be in the whole world. We bailed out of the left side while our gunner engaged to the right. With a disabled vehicle, you have to fight through the ambush while the other vehicles flank. The massive eruption of gunfire from our heavy gunners was thunderous. The house on the ridge above us was being torn apart from both sides. The three men sent to kill us had pinned our heavy gunner and advanced.
Close range combat is a nasty, nasty thing. You can see the anger, the sweat, you can smell the piss and the blood. What lasted only twenty eight seconds felt like forever. I pivoted around the hood of the hummer to return fire and release our heavy gunner from suppression. My M68 was on almost full blast, and I set the dot on the left side of the man's heart. This is my biggest worry. This is why I hesitated to join. This guy probably had a family. He looked old enough. He didn't act at all afraid of his weapon or his impending doom. The viscious snarl told me he was fully dedicated. The first thought through my head was an apology. I told his wife, his son, his daughter, his brothers....I told them all that I was sorry to take him away. I also have a family. I hope they would understand.
My first shot went true. The first round is a tracer, and I watched it go through him and continue up the hill, striking the house. Given how I was leaning on the hummer for suppert, the recoil of my rifle put my dot on the mans angry mouth. I quickly squeezed again and sent another round into him. This round cut the brain stem, and removed the back of his head completely. The round must have hit a tooth and tumbled. He went down like a ragdoll. It looked very unnatural. I took the time to throw up before I backed around to check my team mates. My heavy gunner was stuck on the handle that rotates the turret, trying to get out, and my grenadier was engaged in hand to hand, and losing. The man had just gotten a hold of him and threw him over his shoulder, judo style. My man hit the ground hard, but had pulled his M9 out and fired first. As he fired, the assistant gunner opened fire as well with his M4. The man stumbled backwards right in front of me. I hooked an arm around his neck and pivoted my hips around to throw him. He was dead before he hit the ground, and he lay face down, motionless.
After all of this, in the 8 months I was deployed, I fired my weapon twice. Two rounds changed my life. I now think about staying in or getting out. Will I be that lucky next time? But, will the that replaces me make the wrong choice and let his team get killed? At least you respawn in battlefield. To my fellow vets, thank you for your service.
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