posted on Jul, 6 2012 @ 09:40 PM
A man leaves to go off to war. His life will never again be the same but for the moment there is still a fragment of innocence left within him. He is
a hardened and well trained Marine. He is trained to kill in many ways but has yet to exercise those skills. For the time being his soul still holds a
spark to the world; soon this spark shall fade to a mere memory, or at least lose its way in the chaos that will soon unfold.
The day comes and it is time for him to go. He looks around at the home that he knows. He hopes he will see his home again, but he understands the
fact that he may not come home. His whole life he knew he would die young and he thought for sure this war was going to be why. He was headed to a far
off land to fight for his country. He was headed to a land where civilization has existed for over six thousand years. His destination: Mesopotamia,
the cradle of civilization.
He had chosen his profession in order to defend his country against ‘terrorists’, which his government claimed to be the enemy. Like many others
he was angry about the attack on his country. We all know that fateful day that will go down in history as one of the worst for America. He truly
believed that it was terrorists who were responsible for the attack, and he fell right in line and found himself in the Marine Corps Infantry. It
would soon put him in the middle of the deadliest battle of the Iraq war.
The man arrives in Kuwait to a landscape of flat open desert and air that was dry and stifling hot for nine in the morning. Immediately the dryness
begins to go to work on him and within the first twenty four hours his body dried up all over as it began to acclimate to the new environment.
Hydration became the most important thing for him at that point. He had never been so thirsty in his life; and he had been a Marine doing heavy
training for a year and a half now. It took him, along with the others, about two weeks to get fully acclimated to the new environment. During this
time training missions were conducted to better prepare them for the road ahead.
They were told their mission and left within hours. It would be a twenty hour destination to their F.O.B named Camp Bahria. It was a former palace
compound that belonged to Sadaams sons, just outside of the city of Fallujah. The ride up was uneventful by combat standards. They had no enemy
contact the whole ride up. He remembers how hot the ride was very vividly. It was so hot the breeze from driving down the road felt like a fan from a
furnace. So hot you could not keep water cold and were forced to drink 100* water in order to survive. There was no escape from the heat, not even in
It was dark when they pulled into the camp and there were tanks and amtracks leaving as they were pulling in. The sounds of combat filled the night
air. The insurgents in Fallujah were strong at the time, and were engaging many different units. The vehicles came to a halt in their staging
positions and the Marines were allowed to finally dismount and stretch their legs. As soon as he stepped out a barrage of mortars and rockets came
crashing in all around the camp. The closest hit to him was only about fifty yards or so. After it was over, he stood up and noticed the Marines that
had been here for the last seven months were laughing at them. “Welcome to Fallujah Marines”, they kept telling them in a joking manner.
For the next seven months the man and his fellow Marines went through a multitude of experiences together. They witnessed killing of others; and the
death of their own. They saw many of their friends wounded and disabled for life. They fought an enemy which did not abide by the rules of war like
they do. They fought an enemy that used the civilian population to carry out their dirty work out of fear for the lives of their families.
They were fighting an enemy that was willing to die as long as he killed as many Marines as possible first. The men witnessed horrors that are
unheard of in the world from which they come. They bonded like brothers, and always fought as a team. They grew from green combat ready Marines, to
Battle Hardened Warriors who fought in a manner that would make even Chesty Puller proud. In the seven months of combat they not only took part in the
deadliest battle of the entire war, but they also witnessed the first Iraqi National elections as well. They witnessed a freedom that the Iraqi people
had never before seen.
The man, while also in Iraq; spent three months detached from his unit, and served as an advisor to the newly reformed Iraqi Army. He lived with,
trained with, and operated with Iraqis on a daily basis. This experience began to open his eyes as he had been trained to dehumanize the people, and
now he was working side by side with them. He began to learn their language quickly and even became good friend with a few Iraqi soldiers. The man was
also introduced to many of their customs and in doing so gained a greater respect for the Iraqi people, and people of the Muslim faith. This
experience was one of the most profound and changing experience of the man’s life. He was grateful to have had the experience and was commended by
his unit for his dedication and hard work.
As the deployment came to an end the Marines found themselves anxious to get back home. After what he had been through and having been there for seven
months, the man did not know what to expect when he came home. The men spent the few remaining days watching movies and waiting for the plane ride
home. Late one night after taking a C-130 into Kuwait, we loaded on board an airplane and headed home. They were lucky enough to stop in Ireland and
get drunk before making the final leg of the trip home. They offload the planes and load onto the busses in the pouring Carolina rain. It was only a
short trip to the base where our families would be waiting.
The bus pulls into the parking lot and the families surround it. Most of the Marines on board, along with the man, are very nervous to see their
families. Coming home is a big change and most of them seemed to be in a daze. Everyone begins looking out the windows for their families in the
crowd. Most spot them easily as their senses are still running high at that point. The bus stops and the doors open. The sound of loud cheering and
patriotic music begins to fill the bus. The Marines make their way off the bus and into the crowd.
The man walks off the bus and his wife hugs him tightly. The man feels awkward but hugs her in return. He then spots his parents. His mother gives him
a hug and his dad shakes his hand with eyes filled with pride. He had been told of many of the man’s accomplishments by a few Marines who had come
home early to await our arrival. The man never spoke of his medals or commendations to his family. He did not do the things he did for medals or a pat
on the back. He did them for the Marines who were side by side with him.
The man continued to serve for two more years but due to medical problems was forced to finish his contract working as a rifle range instructor for
his unit. The fact that he could no longer serve in combat weighed heavily on the man and still does to this day. The man has forever been changed by
his experiences, and will continue to live with some off the horrors forever. When he left the service he was filled with demons and did not know what
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