REST IN PEACE |
November 29, 2006
REST IN PEACE
Name: Grunt MP
Posting date: 11/29/2006
Stationed in: Southern Afghanistan
Hometown: Western Massachusetts
Saturday night I got a phone call from my team chief. He was calling to see if we were okay. They were in a blackout down there (no calls out, no internet) because someone had been KIA (killed in action) and they didn't know who it was. Yesterday morning we heard that it was a USSF (Special Forces) that was KIA up near TK, one of the Forward Operating Bases up north in Oruzgan. I didn't think much of it because I hadn't worked with any of the teams from TK, so I didn't feel directly connected. Well, last night I found out that it wasn't an SF soldier that was killed, it was an ETT (Embedded Training Team). That changed the whole picture for me, because I know at least one ETT at each of the FOBs up in Oruzgan. I couldn't find out who it was through the channels that were open to me last night, but I was able to confirm that it was an ETT. A little uneasy, with a desire for morning to come so I could make some calls and shoot off some emails to get some info, I went to bed.
I got up and started making phone calls. I didn't get ahold of anyone until a little after 8am. The person I talked to couldn't remember the soldier's name, but he thought he was a 2LT, he was from Utah and he was a big ol' boy. This last statement was the first jab in a series that in a very short time would end with a KO punch I already knew was coming when it hit. I kept making calls. Dex came into the internet cafe and sat down next to me, and I told him what I had heard. He said he had gotten a call last night and been told it was a 2LT from Utah and he was 35. Two hard shots, a cross and a hook. Now I knew, goddammit I knew, but I didn't want to know.
My phone rang and I saw who it was. He was calling me back to let me know what I already knew. Before the bearer of the news said anything, I asked, "Hey Sir, was it 2LT Lundell, Scott Lundell?"
"Thanks sir, I went to Officer Candidate School with him and I was with him up at DR. Thanks."
"Thanks, sir. Bye."
I closed out the windows on the computer and walked out of the cafe, trying to get up off the canvas. So what do you do when you find out you're now in another club, a club you knew one day you would become part of, but not a club you look forward to becoming to a part of -- the one of Combat Veterans who lose a personal friend in a firefight. At first I kind of walked in a shocked, saddened state. Then I called some people that I love and are close to me, because I just need to tell someone and talk, but once I get them on the phone I realize that what I need is to just be alone and cry. I pull up some pics off my external hard drive with Scott in them and watch the last video I made up, as Tycz and I go into Scott's room while he's on the computer and we have a witty little exchange. Then I stop the video and just cry and want to kick a hole in the sky and drag Scott's soul out of heaven or wherever he may be and put him back here on earth so he can go home to his wife and children. But I can't, I know I can't.
I remember the last conversation he and I had. It was the morning I left DR. We sat in his room and talked about how we both felt that the approaches being taken to Afghanistan and Iraq were wrong, lacked military might and resolve and were overly concerned with public/international image. We left that conversation open-ended, with the intent of picking it up again sometime in the future. It will remain open for eternity. Scott was one of the few people who was on the level with me when it came to my view of our nation's inability to properly conduct military actions, and the undue danger it puts the lives of US soldiers in. I've been trying through a couple different channels to find out, for my own peace of mind, what exactly happened. I have yet to get any details. What I do know is that he was wounded by small arms fire, it took some time to recover him and medevac him, and he ended up succumbing to his wounds while at TK, where they were working on him. What I also know is that he's gone and I will miss him.
I'm up off the canvas. I've had a pretty good day, considering. Scott's been on my mind a lot, as would be expected. He had a lot of heart. He was built pretty similar to me, but on a 6'4" frame, so I am pretty sure that whatever wounds he suffered they knocked him out of the fight and he probably wasn't conscious from the time he got hit until the time he passed. I decided to connect with whoever I could from my OCS class, so I sent out an email to the addresses I had, to confirm the intended recipients were correct. I'm still getting confirmation from that email. Once I get a few more I'm going to let them know what happened to Scott. As far as I know he is the first soldier from my OCS class to be KIA. I am still raw on some level. Writing this email has brought tears to my eyes, but the reality is I still have six months and some change left here, so my head is back in the game and I'm ready to roll out whenever we go next.
Interestingly, even this series of unfortunate events has not led me to hate my enemies. I might have more of a desire to hunt, kill and destroy them then I did before, but I won't let myself begin to hate them. I fear that if I allow myself to hate them I wouldn't be far from beginning to hate all Afghans, and I am too intelligent and honorable to fall into that trap. But I will say that when the chance does arise to kill some of the fighters that are affiliates of the fighters that killed Scott, I'm going to engage and destroy as many as I can. Will it bring Scott back? No. But it will serve two purposes. The more of them I kill, the fewer of them there are shooting at me. And in my head, heart and soul, every one of them I drop is a message that for every one you take from me I will take ten or twenty or as many more of you as I can. It's about settling up. They took a brother from me. That doesn't and won't go unanswered. One thing is for sure though; I won't allow myself to get so wrapped up in settling up that I make tactically unsound decisions that will put me at any unneccessary risk. Given the chance, I will pick my fights wisely and at the time of my choosing, so I can maxmize the damage I inflict upon my enemy while minimizing the risk to my soldiers and myself. Well, I'm sorry that this has devolved into an angry rant, but that's part of it I guess...
Rest In Peace Scott Lundell
KIA 25NOV06 Tarin Kowt Disrtict,
Oruzgan Province, Afghanistan
A Brother In Arms, Who is Loved and Missed
The Debt Will Not Go Unpaid
I Love You, I hope it was painless.