Sunday, November 8, 2009

Daniel - Deployed! -- Band of Buddies War Series

DANIEL was on the radio at a FOB near Ramadi and Fallujah when the engineer unit called in a “sit rep”: several men had been hit by an IED explosion. Three were dead and two expectant, meaning they wouldn’t survive. The medics and Centurion tried to get a helicopter in the air but that got scratched: the military doesn’t put a bird up unless someone has a chance of surviving.

Daniel hoped they died quickly; there wasn’t much left of their M113 light armored tank, basically an aluminum can on a track: the largest piece was the rear ramp and the engine block, but the recovery crew didn’t need the M88 to lift anything. Over 500 lbs of explosives had been set and that much could have disabled an M1 Abrams tank. At the funeral ceremony Daniel figured that counting those five, they’d lost around 20 soldiers and officers since they’d arrived in Iraq.

Col. C. of Devil 6 came for the occasion, along with the 1st Engineers LTC and higher-level people. Daniel felt pretty cynical that those folks only came when it involved death but never came to see their toughest guys in action.

Actually, Daniel was getting pretty cynical overall: heck, he’d heard the guys in Fallujah were scared to do nighttime missions which was why IEDs exploded outside the gates each morning and why giant truck bombs rocked Champion base and Camp Junction City.

He didn’t write home anymore; how could he tell his family they were hurting bad, supply lines were compromised because of increased attacks, they’d lost services and supplies -- fuel, water, and food – and convoys got hit on the highways and back routes.

Everyone was scared to bring fuel up to the FOB; they were cutting back on everything including food because there wasn’t fuel to cook with. They ate MRE lunches and soon they’d be eating MRE dinners. The guys who delivered water hadn’t shown up.

What’ll happen when the extra 600 soldiers from 1st Armored Division arrived? Life was hard enough without extra guys making it worse.

(I created this piece with accompanying story to share the reality of war - holding that too many stories are not being told. The details in this story come from a young man deployed to combat after being told by his recruiter that he'd "never be sent to Iraq, no way, dude!")

See other pieces in the Family of War Series:
Daniel, Deployed! - Band of Buddies Series

Ryan, Recruited! - Band of Buddies Series

Bob, Burned in Combat

Luis, Corporate Warrior

Jerry and Candy, family of war

Governor Goldie Myron

1 comment:

Jerry said...

> I like the idea of masks in the context of injury to the face: it opens
> the possibility that the injury is like a mask - a persona - not the
> individual beneath. One can talk about the mask or the injury and
> separate it from the individual. Hauntingly, Jason's caring parents are
> either without eyes or with fake eyes (Candy's don't look real). And
> while their faces are perfectly formed, they are uninhabited. It
> symbolizes the emotional distance between the injured veteran and those
> who desperately seek to care for and comfort him. I also liked the
> inclusion of the 911 Bill (I've got a couple of them floating around),
> and the annotated stars and stripes in Corporate Warrior. I couldn't
> make out many of the various logos on the two strips of material, but
> recognized Chevron, Dodge, and the yellow 'support our troops' ribbon
> decals.