THE TRUE COST |
May 11, 2007
THE TRUE COST
Posting date: 5/11/07
Stationed in: Baghdad, Iraq
Hometown: Phoenix, AZ
Milblog url: airborneparainf82.blogspot.com
A few days ago I was sitting in here on the computer getting ready to post some stupid blog about how boring life is now, when they came in and told me we were under communications blackout and I had to get off. Those of you who have been deployed know what this is. Our base goes under a comm blackout when someone from the base has died and the military wants to make sure they are the ones to contact the family of the deceased before word gets out from soldiers via the internet or phones.
I remember feeling bad at the time because I hate to have to hear about soldiers dying here, and when there's a comm blackout it really hits close to home. This base I stay at is not very big, so there are not that many soldiers here. When one of them dies, it really lets you know how real things are.
After I left the internet I went back to my room. I hadn't been there more than 20 minutes when they came in and told everyone in my platoon to get our stuff on and get the trucks ready because we were heading out NOW! We weren't supposed to head out until the next morning, so we all started wondering what was going on, but no one knew. We had our assumptions though, that something was going down or had gone down with some unit in our battallion. We got our stuff ready, and shortly after getting the trucks loaded up we were all told to go back inside. Okay, well maybe we're going to be told to stand down. My entire platoon gathered in this one room.
Then guys from the other platoons in my company started coming in and we found out that our First Sergeant wanted to speak with us all. OMG! The room was silent, because we all knew what he wanted to say.
After a few minutes our First Sergeant came in and shut the door. He wore a terrible expression on his face. We all knew what was coming, just wondering who. And sure enough the words came from his mouth:
"I just wanted to put out to you guys before the rumors got started. Today SGT Tollett was out with the CO and was shot in the head. He didn't make it."
The room became a dungeon of fear, anger, sorrow and pain. I couldn't believe what I had just heard. I had just seen him right before he had left and had talked with him briefly. How? Why could this have happened? What happened? So many questions, but the same end result. One of our fellow soldiers, a brother in arms, and a friend, lost his life. We weren't particularly close, but I had come to be friends with him during this deployment. I know people have nothing but good things to say about people after their death, but this man truly was a great man. He was loved by everyone in the company, and I truly mean that from the depths of my soul.
This really put things into persepective. There wasn't much that could have been done in the situation to have prevented this. It was a lucky stray round that found him and hit in a lethal spot. It could have been anyone else. That's the sad thing about war. There's never knowing who or when or what or how. It simply comes down to if it's your time or not. And even though we all came over here knowing that this is war, and that this is a real possibility here, it still caught everyone off guard. Until that day no one from our unit had been killed. I'm sure others as well as I held onto that slight hope that all of us would somehow make it home from this place. Maybe I was naive to believe this, but we all now know the true cost, and it's not something that can be measured in dollars, or planes, or time.
All I know now is that there is a score to be settled. This has become more personal that it ever was, and I feel sorry for the future SOBs that cross our path.
SGT Noman Lane Tollett
6 May 1976 - 28 April 2007