As long as I can see the light, I'll be coming home soon.
The war almost ended for me and no one even bothered to tell me. I’m serious, they almost sent me out of this place early. I didn’t travel half way around the world, get shot at, blown up, rocketed, mortared, and generally fucked up just to leave early. To hell with that. And yes, I do understand that those are the words of a truly sick man.
Anyway, here’s what happened. So we have to make room in the barracks for our replacements. So about 29 of us have to get the flock out of dodge. And I turned up on the first list of those to leave. Can you believe it?
They want to send me from here, to Salerno, and then on to Bagram, and Manas, and Ireland, then back to the states. And they want me to start this epic journey tomorrow. While about 12 guys get to stay back and train the new unit. Take them outside the wire and show them what it is we have been doing for the last couple weeks. Show them how to find the IED’s (drive over them, wait for boom.), tell them how to tell the Taliban from the regular haji’s (you can’t), teach them how to respond to an ambush (locate loud ratatatat noise, point weapon, pull trigger.), and all of that shit.
Bullshit, I don’t want to leave early. I can’t explain it. I want to be here for every minute of every day. In the immortal words of Aerosmith, “I don’t want to miss a thing.”
So I begged, and I pleaded, and I finally got my way.
So I’m staying. Gonna help train the new unit.
So here I sit, looking at my boxing gloves with IRELAND tattooed across them and listening to Peter Gabriel’s “Shock the monkey.” And a strange sense of calm has washed over me. At least things are going to be normal for a few more weeks. Now I don’t have to leave until the 15th.
Now, I can’t believe I just used to word normal to describe what goes on and happens to, and around me in the fucking country. (Pause break, for quiet contemplation.)
Okay, maybe I have gone nuts. But let’s think about this.
Average day here. Get up early in the morning, get all your shit, get in the truck, drive out into Taliban land, spend the whole day either looking for the Taliban or training the police to do the same, then drive back, get some chow, workout, write, and go to bed then get up and do it all over again.
Sometimes somebody tries to kill you with bullets. Sometimes there are exploding presents left in the road. Sometimes a few flaming footballs (rockets) are thrown your way. Sometimes a few mortar rounds fall on your head. Then other times not a damn thing happens.
Needless to say my days are a bit more eventful here than the ones back home. I am wondering if boredom might get the better of me. Get up, eat, go to work, take a good shit, and go back to bed. Repeat for 40 years then die.
Ugh, that sounds fun!
Actually, no it sounds just a bit depressing.
Well, what are you going to do? Its not like I can stay here. If this place didn’t kill me, my mom would. So I guess that’s out.
I’ve been thinking a lot about this lately, just keeping it bottled up in that place you put things you don’t want to admit you’re thinking about.
I like it here. I like the excitement. I like the chance of it all. Things don’t always happen. Some if not most of my days are fairly routine. But it doesn’t change the fact that at least here it COULD happen. And when it does...oh what a day!
Now I know that I am really losing it. I don’t want to glorify combat or any of the results of it. Most of them are truly shitty. Its just like at home. Two gangs are fighting (US Army & Taliban.) and who ends up getting shot? Some innocent bystander sitting by the road.
So where does that leave me? With a brain that doesn’t quite work the way its supposed to? I think we already knew that. But will this affect my life at home.
Oh hell yes. This experience will probably color every aspect of my life. If for no other reason than I will spend my days wondering what everyone is bitching about. You’re in the States, you’re not in Afghanistan, shut the fuck up!
In any case, I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. We’re almost there. Tomorrow, for the most part all of my boys are going to be safe and sound and bouncing from mega-FOB to mega-FOB. And that is a source of relief. I won’t jinx it by saying any more.
The next 11 days will probably be the fastest ever. Then the two weeks after that will be the slowest ever.
Then I have to go home and see people who have known me all my life. See people who changed my diapers. See people I went to grade school with. See people I have known and loved for years.
They will all be the same.
The question is...will I?
I love you Mom...