Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Boredom and Chaos

Sitting on the border waiting was one of the hardest parts. The ammunition had been issued and all there was left to do was to wait. We had an embedded journalist with us so I had one last phone call, all of five minutes long, to say goodbye and tell my wife that if she heard no news about me then I was alive. I promised her that I would return. What else could I do? We sat there all that night with scuds from Iraq screaming overhead and our own patriot missiles answering those screams right back.

Early the next day we crossed into Iraq. It was a little anticlimactic because our plains did such a good job of the border forces that all we saw for the first couple days was burning bodies and vehicles. There I was standing with my rifle in hand not knowing how this would change me or even if I would be going home. No plans had been told to us other than, "The road home leads to Baghdad."

Some of the soldiers would try and take pictures of the burning bodies and mangled pieces of steel which imprisoned them as our convoy would grind on like a chain of ants following one behind the other. Chaos and boredom were the words that came to mind. There didn't seem to be any order to the way things were moving yet still we continued. Our job was to give constant updates about where our enemies were located and our targeting would bring red-hot steel rain down upon them. We created our own burning bodies as we trudged north.

When we reached one of our objectives I was surprised to find it in the middle of nowhere deep in the Iraqi sands. There we weathered the worst sandstorm I have ever seen. Day changed to night at around 2 in the afternoon and we were told that specially trained Iraqi forces were going to be attacking us during the sand storm. Dig your fighting positions (also know as Ranger graves) they said, so we did. Some of my fellow soldiers made half hearted attempts but I was taking no chances. I dug mine deep enough that I would be able to survive if I were to be shot at. That night I was sure that we would wake up to a gun battle and I remember also, that I was scared.


Halla said...

Wow!! Did you write a journal or is that from memory? Zach, I hope you are working on writing a book with a name like "one Soldiers thoughts in Iraq".

Consider getting yourself an agent, and give them samples of your writings. I would love to buy that book and I don't usually read non-fiction but yours I would...

Anonymous said...

Keep writing. Every day.


Jana Lane said...

I really appreciate your posts. It gives me a much greater understand of what the experience of combat in Iraq was like. I'm glad you are continuing this.

karin said...

Your writing is awesome! I await eagerly for the next post all the time!