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How War Changed One Man. [LEWC]

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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 the shade.

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 to do.

Continued in next post

posted on Jul, 6 2012 @ 09:41 PM
The man returned home and was able to regain a position as a kitchen manager at the restaurant that was his former night job before the war. Things were going alright it seemed but things would soon change. The financial crisis in 2008 left the man jobless. The man was also going through a divorce at the time as well. His wife had come to realize that the man she married truly did not return from Iraq. The man who had come home was different. He was cold and non compassionate. He was filled with hatred and anger.

He began to drink heavily and spent the next two years in a drunken haze working as a window washer in the summer and making decent money. He was also awarded disability from the VA due to his medical issues that would continue to worsen as he poisoned his body with alcohol. During this time he met a girl. A girl who just seemed right from the get go. They fell in love and soon she became pregnant. The man quickly ended his drunken binge and enrolled in school under his GI bill which also paid living expenses. He went to school for the next two years while also raising his baby girl while the mother worked all day long. School finally became too much and the struggle with PTSD had begun to overtake his life.

It took some time, but he realized the drinking had been a mask for the PTSD. He decided it was time to get help. He went to the VA medical center, enrolled in all the programs he was eligible for and began to seek treatment. The man was failed at every turn during this process and after a year and a half of failure he gave up and fell back into a slump. He continued to raise his daughter but he knew it was not good for him to be in so much pain and to be suffering around his child. He decided to seek outside help from a private physician who supposedly specialized in PTSD and war veterans. Needless to say the man was failed by the private physician as well.

He fell into yet another slump until it began to affect him too much to continue. He had reached his breaking point. During these last few years he had also learned that there were higher truths to the world around him. He began to read about 911 and what really happened and the real reasons for the war in Iraq. This made him angry as he felt used and betrayed by the government he once trusted. No where could the man find salvation but with his daughter. She was the only thing keeping him afloat.

Once again the man set off to the VA for treatment. Since his last visit they have made some changes and are working to get things right. This time he was not ignored or forgotten about. He was treated with respect and found the help he needed. He still struggles every day. Some days are worse than others but he just keeps moving forward.

The innocent man who once went off to war is gone. Only portions of his knowledge remain. Now the man lives a life of constant struggle. There is no more spark in his eye. When you look in his eyes you see only pain and sadness. The only light that shines is when he is in the presence of his daughter. He hopes to one day bury the issues he struggles so much with. Some he will try to let go of, others will haunt him forever. Robert Leckie, a Marine who served on Guadalcanal in WWII once said “There are things men will do to another that are sobering to the soul”. The man now understands the meaning behind that quote. He will never look at life the same again.

posted on Jul, 6 2012 @ 11:45 PM
reply to post by usmc0311


Very well written story. MashaAllah.

Do me a favor please. Live for tommorow. You can never change the past, but you can learn from it, in effort to make tommorow a better one. Everyday is a new day.

You did the best you could given circumstances and knowledge at that time. You can never live in regret of the past, know that what you did you did under those circumstances and with that knowledge and that was the very best you could do.

Not everything was bad either. Look at the positive and forget the rest.

Live for tommorow, never get stuck in the past.

All my love to you and yours.
edit on 6-7-2012 by OpinionatedB because: (no reason given)

posted on Jul, 8 2012 @ 05:59 PM
reply to post by usmc0311

Oh my. I read the Karma story before this one. As a reading exercise for me, I have to say this one was a tad difficult because of your calling him 'the man' as often as you did. It therefore made me feel that you were quite uncomfortable in relating this story. Perhaps consider using more pronouns or telling the story in the first person? Or maybe assign a fictitious name to him?

Loss of innocence and trust is no small deal for anyone. War and betrayal is one helluva major way to lose it, for people on both sides of these neverending inexcusable conflicts. My wish for you is a satisfactory recovery where you can experience the fullness of a positive life again.

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