Narrative Essay – Iraq, 2005

The days seemed to be the longest days of my life. We were doing the same thing day in and day out, so it got very monotonous. Waking up and providing security for different units to go different places in the country got very old until the one day that changed my life completely. We started the morning with our normal safety briefing before we left the camp for the day. Everything was going well on the route that we had been on a dozen times before. Everything was going so well that maybe we did get a little lazy watching what was going on around us.

When we went around the corner the u half of the convoy made it by the trash can without a problem; it was the second half of the convoy that went bad. It seemed to me that everything sort of started to go in slow motion, just like in a movie. Just then there was a massive explosion, forcing the truck ahead to a complete stop. The smell of burning oil, rubber and flesh could have made anyone sick. The blast made such a concussion that it was almost like I was deaf; there was just complete silence. I could have sworn my ears were bleeding. When the smoke had cleared, there was just the trucks frame and parts everywhere. We had to wait a couple of minutes to make sure there wasn’t a second blast. It seemed like hours instead of minutes. As we approached the blasted out truck, it hit me like a ton of bricks. We had lost Sgt. John Miller to one of these cowards that have to hide and fight.

When you serve time with people in the military, you create a different time of bond that you would with someone you just meet every day. Any of these guys would die for you, take a bullet for you. Anything we could do to help one another we would do. When something like this happens you say to yourself man I wish there was something I could have done. Why did this have to happen? Couldn’t this have happened 5 seconds sooner when there was a break in the convoy? All of these questions play in my head like a broken record. The way the loss of Sgt. John Miller affected a wide circle of people.

What did John’s family do to deserve this? They were so proud of him when he enlisted. His father was very much honored to be able to tell his co-workers about his son’s new chapter in his life. His wife hated the day he told her about the Army, but yet she stood by him. I am sure that his four year old daughter is confused about what had happened. These spineless bastards took away her ability to have her father to walk her down the aisle on her wedding day. The mother is lost and has to bury her son instead of the son burying her. We all thought what we could have done to prevent this horrible tragedy. None of us wanted any of a family to receive the news this family had to. Words can’t describe how one feels after losing such a great person. Sergeant Miller had just wanted to fight for his country, and make his family pound. This all happened because a coward that doesn’t have courage to show his face.

We were sent here to help the citizens rebuild their government from the years of being under a dictator, but it seemed like there were more days not helping then there were days helping. The days that we were useful, we helped the Iraqis in many ways We helped provide security, bringing many tractor trailers loaded with much needed supplies from Kuwait to their country. We also provided many emergency help stations so the children of the country could get the medical help that they needed, shots and dental care. We helped to move many of the new government officials from place to place in the country. There were many shipments that we received that provided the much needed supplies to build new buildings, schools and hospitals. The days that we had helped to do something good for the future of this country gave me a great feeling inside. There were many people who didn’t want us there. However, most of the citizens of this country did appreciate the things that we did for them. They were as helpful as they could be, since we did do many things much different than they did. They were very happy that we were there to help and very grateful. It was a great feeling to have helped someone that has been hurt for so long. To see the smiles on the children’s faces as they left the clinics even though many of them had just received a shot, or had teeth pulled, they felt like someone besides their parents cared about them. There was a lot of good that came out of this deployment. There were also a lot of mixed emotions that came along with it. We all did have a sense of accomplishment, but there was also a sense of failure. We were trying to help fix things there, yet ended up very broken.

I went to Iraq to help, and now I spend a great amount of time at the Veterans hospital receiving help of my own. The nightmares don’t end. I see that explosion over and over again and every time it seems as if I were right back there again. I can no longer be in crowded elevators without closing my eyes so I don’t see all the people around me. Crowed shopping centers bother me because I can’t be around large crowded areas. I seem to have less patience then before I left. We came to help and all left so hurt inside, if we left at all. Some people may think that all parts of a war are bad. The bad defiantly out weighted the good in my case.

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