posted on Nov, 2 2016 @ 10:15 PM
There’s not a lot of room inside the vehicle. There’s all manner of comms and other stuff, and just about enough room for a ‘small’ guy. A
big guy, like me; it’s cramped. But everything is at your fingertips. You’ve got a vest, ammo pouches and a bag. You don’t know when you’re
coming back; it might be tonight…it might not be for 3-4 days. You don’t just jump in with your bag, it’s too tight for that. You’re lucky
if you can squeeze in with your armor and ammo. You have to stuff your bag somewhere else. You actually have to come up with a ‘fold-up’
solution to get inside…and you have to be fast too.
Once the doors are closed it’s hot. The radios whine. It becomes this little cocoon of people. The world outside is like a different planet (from
inside). Things you would never do in regular life are normal. That guy with his leg rubbing on yours is no issue; that guy with his arm around /
hand on your shoulder is no issue. You do what it takes to fit inside. It is a “capsule” of sorts. You’re focused.
And as the engine revs up and down so does the radio whine up and down. It’s quiet in a manner of speaking, loud but quiet all the same. The
windshield is not spotless like the Air Force boys, but rather dusty and streaked from sandstorms, splattered with mud and pocked from impacts of
rocks (and maybe even fragments). The glass, several layers thick, is nearly impossible to clean completely. You’re in your own World.
When you leave the compound or base where you are there is a bit of fear for a moment. It doesn’t last long though. It’s not long before that
feeling of being a “machine” sets in, an invincible machine. For all the discomfort, this is “real”, this means something.
Seldom is the drive fast, and seldom is it over quickly; you learn this pretty fast. If you don’t, you’re miserable.
I don’t think you really think about politics in the moment, or the president; I’m not even sure you focus on who the enemy is really, other than
the fact there IS one out there. They (the enemy) don’t really have a face, or a name; they just pop up and start shooting at you. It sounds like
toys the first time you hear it, not even real. It doesn’t sound real until someone gets hit, maybe in the hand or the foot or some other wild
place (or gawd forbid, worse). Most of the shots are wild, but they’re real. And they’re deadly, and when you see that you realize it’s all
Often it might just be one (or 2-3) guys shooting in an otherwise peaceful place. After returning fire they usually vanish; you never know if
they’re dead or if they just ran (most likely ran away).
Day after day, and month after month you do it over and over again. The result is always the same. There is no clear winner, and no clear loser;
there is just another day of the same. Over and over.
One day someone comes up to you and hands you some papers and tells you to pack your S###. The next day you’re on a plane (usually a pretty crappy
one), flying out over the moonscape you’ve spent the last 4-12 months in. There really isn’t time for any parties, any goodbyes, other than
people immediately around you. And, in 24 hours (or so) you show up in a world almost more foreign than the one you left…home.
The days seem the same, sort of, at first. But there’s a difference. There aren’t people hiding behind every bush and building, and every lump
on the side of the road is not suspect as an IED. What ordinary people don’t get is, how hard it is to distinguish between these two worlds.
And so it goes…