Monday, August 14, 2006

People Die at War

My commanding officer told me I would be covering a story on a fallen comrade. There was a ceremony at the theater for a female Soldier that was killed by an IED. I never attended a ceremony like this before…all I knew was that I had to interview a few of her close friends because the article was going to be published back in the states and sent to her family as well. I arrived at 9am and it was packed. Several people talked about her…everyone was in tears or trying to hold them back. Towards the end of the ceremony the First Sergeant stood up and did a roll call. He called all the names of the Soldiers in his unit and stopped when he reached hers….he repeated her name three times (obviously she did not answer)…then Soldiers fired their weapons and played Taps. As I’m sitting here writing this I’m trying not to cry. It seriously has to be one of the hardest things to sit through. You see her boots, weapon and picture on the stage and all you can think is this women lost her life in a land that she doesn’t even call home. She had a young daughter and husband…and she’s not going back them. It wasn’t fair. Did she even know what she died for? After the ceremony I had to talk to her roommate. It was so awkward. The girl was in tears, she couldn’t breath…and I was standing there asking her to describe her friend to me, what she did in her spare time, to talk about how much she loved her family. I wanted to punch myself in the face. I sat with her for a while and in the end it worked out. Her family was able to read a little about what their daughter accomplished.
I was assigned to another story on a Soldier that committed suicide. The unit was under our command and was stationed in Kuwait. Our Chaplin, Command Sergeant Major and I went to Kuwait. Once again we attended a ceremony. The guy was everyone’s best friend…he seemed happy, I mean as happy as you can be in the middle of the desert…he had just became a father to a baby girl, he worked out everyday, always helped people when they had a problem…everyone was lost as to why he chose to take his life. I did hear his child’s mother was giving him problems. I covered the story and within three days we were back at Anaconda. It’s funny though because that story never went anywhere.

There were a few suicides that happened on our camp. One girl shot herself because the guy she was messing around with gave her AIDS. Who the hell lets people be deployed when they have AIDS? Our Chaplin told us that you can be deployed if you’re in the early stages of having the disease. Bad news. Think about it…if your outside the wire and get ambushed and your buddy is bleeding to death, you’re going to grab him. You shouldn’t have to worry about getting fucking AIDS. Another guy killed himself in his trailer. I’m sure more happened but of course that’s kept quiet. There was a Combat Stress Center that I did a story on…there was a lot of fucked up Soldiers there. They would go there to relax for a few days and get away from the real shit. People would talk shit on the Soldiers that went there…fucking stupid. You either get called a pussy and get made fun of or become so stressed you end up hurting yourself. These kids seemed to all come from the same FOB (Forward Operating Base…which are really small and have nothing) too. I forget the name of it. But one kid literally had a screw lose…he was a gunner on a tank. I felt really bad for him. Think about it…he was just a kid from some little town that wanted to do something with myself you know? Now he’s a complete mess. He didn’t deserve that.
SGT A had helped one of her friends join the Army. They grew up together, she was best friends with his wife and they had just had a baby. She received news that his convoy had been ambushed and he was killed. SGT A blamed herself because she had helped him join…she didn’t talk to anyone for days. It was really tough for her. We tried to console her but it was hard. I guess, you'd have to be in her can you grasp onto the fact that one of your best friends died in Iraq? That's not suppose to happen. He was suppose to be at home with his wife and baby. She called his wife daily until his body arrived home. She tried to go home for the funeral but she wasn’t allowed. You always had to watch what you did…if you went somewhere at a specific time you could get injured or die, if you told someone, for example, to get you food and something happened to them its on your shoulders. The whole time you’re trying not to step on any cracks.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah, you could be ended at any time over there. It's a difficult situation -- amazing that things never change. Soldiers were having crazy sex and gaining the use of VD in Vietnam, and it hasn't changed. I know there were blow jobs given on the roof of the building I worked in. People were screwing in guard towers.
These things don't speak highly for the discipline of the soldier.
Maybe the fear of death is what drives people to somewhat disturbing sexual acts, perhaps a loss of self respect. I don't know.
I say to just play the video games, and if you're going to be fool make sure to rap the tool.

8/15/2006 09:59:00 AM  
Anonymous timmy said...

Talking to the troops:

8/16/2006 01:06:00 AM  

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