Operation: WTF (Day 87)

Shit Just Got Real

I had hoped that I wouldn’t have to write about such things, but I guess it was kind of inevitable.  Since I’ve been here there’s been a death.  A convoy leaving the base came into contact with an IED.  Four soldiers were seriously wounded and one was killed.  One of the wounded soldiers lost his leg.

Even though we don’t necessarily keep track of the convoys, we are concerned with anything that happens against US Forces, so immediately when the incident occurred we knew what was happening.  Our part in the whole procedure is to make sure the MEDEVACs get out there to help any injured troops.  There’s a specific time frame in which we’ve got to react.  We did our job, but some things we just can’t control:  life and death.

When we got the word that one soldier had lost his life, I felt strange.  I think you can’t help yourself and you feel like shit.  When you first hear about it, you get scared.  This could happen to any of us.  It may not be an IED on a convoy but it could be rockets or kidnapping or surface to air fire as you ride in one of the birds.  Or maybe one of these local nationals that are working around here could suddenly turn on you, like what happened to that Navy lieutenant in Afghanistan.

Then when you realize you’re safe, you breathe a sigh of relief.  It’s not you.  Your next of kin won’t be getting an ominous knock at the door.  No one in your family will suffer any agony or grief.  You thank your god, count your blessings or your luck and move on with your life, feeling sorry for that poor bastard.  Then that’s when you start to feel guilty.  You’re happy it’s not you but then you think about what his closest battle buddies are feeling, especially the guy who lost his leg.  His riding mate is gone and now he’s an amputee.  Life sucks for him.  Their families will be awakened in the dead of night by strangers to tell them the sorry news.  Somebody’s mother, father, sister, brother, child, husband or wife will grieve.

It’s very sobering, alarming and dizzying all at the same time.

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