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And Then There Was Silence

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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 real.
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…

posted on Nov, 2 2016 @ 10:28 PM
a reply to: Flyingclaydisk

Congrats Fcd.....very well written and thoughtful piece. Youve given us a glimpse into a world from the view of one foot in it...and two feet out.

Those of us standing on this side...most likely will never understand. But thats not to say we dont appreciate those who've had both both worlds.

We do...thanks a lot for putting it into focus....nice job.

Thank you again....Best


posted on Nov, 2 2016 @ 10:33 PM
a reply to: Flyingclaydisk

Sometimes my mood will allow me to read you and sometimes not. You never know what you will get. Sometimes homey and humorous and sometimes profound.

If you haven't, you really need to write a book.


posted on Nov, 2 2016 @ 10:59 PM
a reply to: Flyingclaydisk

That was very insightful to read. Thank you for sharing.

posted on Nov, 2 2016 @ 11:03 PM
Thanks for this eye-opening post. The summer of my 10th year, I met the granddaughter of my neighbor, Volney Warner-- a 4 Star General. Her name was Laura Walker and she was a beautiful and smart little girl. We caught fireflies, made tin-can telephones which we strung between our bedroom windows, shot off fireworks on the 4th of July, picked and ate blackberries off a bush in my backyard, and wrote eachother letters in pig latin. Years later, while searching online for word of her, I found out that she had been killed by a roadside IED in Afghanistan in 2005. I've known others who have died but none so bravely, so far from anything one could consider home, and from loved ones.

Here's an article of this amazing, accomplished young woman:

I cannot forget her beautiful smile.

OP, I admire you and all you've done.

posted on Nov, 2 2016 @ 11:14 PM
a reply to: Flyingclaydisk

I was never deployed but I don't miss being crammed into small vehicles in body armor..
Claustrophobia turns real.

It's like you're a bunch of ninja turtles in a sardine can. if one can imagine..

hearing stories and seeing guys look lost when they come back. I have to say maybe it's a good thing I was discharged before I finished training?

Even still, civillians seemed weird to me, everything was weird.. It's like I got de-brainwashed and came back looking at people like they'll see me and know I'm not one of them.. Like I was a wild animal or something..

Man you put me right there.

thanks for sharing..

the urge to pull my body armor down from my neck/chin is making me pull my collar down now.. You're writing is great.

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