Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Children of War


A friend in Iraq writes of a rocket attack:

Last night I slept at another FOB. Word on the street is that it is all quiet over there, and I was looking forward to finally a night of sound sleep that comes with that sense security that one will not be bombed that night. After I had been out cold for a few hours and was happily dreaming away, I dreamt what I thought I wouldn't dream - the awful sound which warns us of an "incoming! incoming! incoming!" missile. I tried arguing with myself in my dream. It's just a dream, right? It's all quiet here, right? I'll just lay here in bed and act like nothing is happening and it'll go away...

Boom! The "Containerized Housing Unit" aka "CHU" shook. So did the bed. Then came the adrenaline and I was instantly wide awake. Turns out, the incoming alarm wasn't a dream, it was prelude to an earthquake. I quickly rolled over and thudded full-body-length onto the CHU floor, laced my fingers with hands behind my head to protect myself from the bomb blast, and wondered at how wonderfully clear and thoughtful and focused my adrenaline-fueled mind had become. I heard my boss, who had just won a prestigious award that night and will be leaving soon, the reason for our overnight to this place, hit the floor as well. Our lone civilian, a kindly older gentleman, continued the labored breathing of sound sleep. At this moment, I said something ungodly to my boss, "Holy Crap! I thought they weren't bombing over here anymore...!" plus some other stuff stating the obvious, his reply was cut short...

Boom! The CHU walls shuddered, and I felt the energy wave from the bomb blast in the cold floor of the CHU travel up and down and through my body. The soundwave was louder, indicating this one hit substantially closer. My mind raced - were they walking the ordinance in a line? This would be a change of tactics indicating more effective targeting on the part of those motortrike mini-rocket rocket launcher terrorist guys (and gals). Don't they know they should have used a Harley? If you are going to launch missiles off the back of a motortrike, it should be a modified Harley. Harley's show a bit of class and style. Maybe Monster Garage needs to get involved over here.

Here’s the atypical thing:  my friend grew up on the Dhahran Compound in Saudi Arabia (fictionally portrayed as the scene of a terrorist attack in the movie The Kingdom):

My mind raced back to when I was 15 years old, laying in my bed, listening to the incoming missiles from Iraq during the Gulf War, feeling the house shake and shudder, and listening to the window glass rattling in the frame. Being bombed is much the same experience at 35 years old as at 15. One day after church I talked briefly with a woman who had experienced being attacked by mortars as an MK in Vietnam, and my mother experienced this as well during two wars - II and Gulf. I find it's an experience us bombees can connect on. If the gentlemen (gentleterrorists?) launching the missiles are indeed walking the ordinance, the next one would be either very close or right on top of us, and I pray "Yea though I walk through the Valley of the Shadow of Death, I will fear no evil, for thou art with me" ...

Some of us have been in what is essentially the same war for our entire lives.

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