Monday, August 14, 2006

A Serving Soldier's View on Heroism

The following is a recollection/reprinting by a writer with the nom de plume of "Not From Around Here". His brother served in Iraq and was doing so through last year and during that time sent e-mails home, which got posted on the Dixonverse Message Board. This post is new.

Some of you may recall this from last year. It's my brother's description of one action he witnessed:
"They tried our gate yesterday, too. I was out checking progress on the ECP4 mission then a white 4-door sedan pulled off the road and turned toward the gate. It was dragging its springs and the back windows were blacked out, which are fairly-certain indicators. I hit the ground and locked and loaded. Startled my buds (Chief ***** and MSG ****** of the *****), but they soon understood. Anyway, the guards fired a warning shot with no response, and then shot the car up with a .50 cal MG. Big chunks flew off the car under the hammering of Ma Deuce, the car staggered to a stop, and then it blew. Even flat on the ground 200m away, it felt like a punch in the gut. And me without my camera! When I got back to the hooch, I took a pic of the smoke. The best (worst) moments always pass without being able to record them. Anyway, the blast took out about six Iraqi cars either on the road or parked. No Coalition casualties. Don't know about Iraqi civ casualties yet, but cou ldn't be more than 8 or 10, maybe less, several of the cars looked unoccupied. I'm not sure if this has made it into the news. The prelim assessment is 500+ pounds of explosive equivalent. I had a ringing headache for the afternoon."

I commented after reading this that his lastest post was "kind of harrowing." He sent this in reply:

"You know, the bomb at the gate is more harrowing in retrospect than in the experience itself. When things do happen, they seem to happen so fast that there's little time to do anything but realize "I'm okay, now who can I shoot?" I suspect the difference between one who can react effectively and one who cannot rests largely in the individual's ability to swiftly settle that first question: am I okay? Those we call heroes are frequently those who forget to ask the question at all."

Posted by Not From Around Here on August 14, 2006 at 10:39:52
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