WHAT A WONDERFUL DAY |
October 25, 2007
WHAT A WONDERFUL DAY
Posting date: 10/25/07
Stationed in: Iraq
Milblog url: [email protected]
Today started off with me waking up at 0700 in the morning. Considering I have not been working, and have nothing to do but waste away on the internet or playing games or watching movies, my sleep schedule has been all wacked and I have been staying up late. Late last night/this morning my old squad leader came back in off of leave. The reason I refer to him as "my old squad leader" is due to some shifting and changes that came about within our company the past couple weeks, while he was on leave. More on that another time. Anyways, he stopped by and we ended up talking and whatnot for a while, and by the time I finally went to bed it was somewhere around 0300. Needless to say I was pretty tired when it came time to get up.
I had to get a nice uniform ready, because the reason we were getting up was to attend a ceremony to receive our CIB, or Combat Infantrymans Badge. The CIB is a distinctive combat badge that is only worn by Infantry soldiers. It is something that every Infantryman looks forward to receiving one day, for it means that you have been through the ultimate test in your profession; to handle yourself while under enemy fire. The CIB represents an experience that all owners will take with them for the rest of their lives, as combat-proven Infantryman. Others that see the CIB will know you've probably seen some shit that they wouldn't care to, and that you volunteered to do so.
The thing is, when I think back to the soldiers of WWII and Vietnam, I realize that I really haven't done shit compared to what they did. To them a CIB meant fierce fighting for days and weeks on end, countless lost friends, and years of their lives fighting a determined and tough enemy. My experiences here are nothing like that, although according to the criteria for the award, I have earned it in every respect -- something that is not always true for many people that come over here. I have been shot at on countless occasions and had the opportunity to fire back and engage the enemy on most of those. I've spent the past nine months in a hostile combat zone, with an active enemy, living and working every day in harm's way.
But am I really a trial-by-fire tested combat Infantryman? Would I have handled myself in the same way that those who came before me would have? I would like to think so, but I will probably never know. This is probably a good thing, and I should be thankful that I don't have to experience that, but it gets me thinking about the meaning of the badge I will be wearnig. Don't get me wrong, I will wear my CIB proudly, and I am honored to have been able to serve my country and to help, in what ways I could, the Iraqi people. I am forever grateful to have been given that opportunity, and will carry those memories with me for the rest of my life.
So, with that said, we have officially been given our CIBs. After all these years of waiting and wondering if I would get mine, I finally have. As an added bonus to the day's celebrations, I got word that my flight out of our FOB, and the first leg of my journey home, will begin a day early. Not too long from now, if all goes well, I should be on my way out of here! I still haven't packed though. I am incredibly lazy, I know. I'm going to go do that as soon as I finish this.
I was watching a movie earlier, and halfway through I paused it to go have a smoke and all of a sudden like a ton of bricks it hit me, and I got butterflies and a very giddy feeling: I AM FINALLY GOING HOME! For the longest time it had seemed so far off, and even as it got close it really didn't feel like it was close. After nine months, one week, and one day straight in this place, I am finally getting a much-needed break. I can't wait.