HIGH ON WAR |
January 05, 2009
HIGH ON WAR
Name: The Usual Suspect
Posting date: 1/05/09
Returned from: Iraq
Milblog: Unlikely Soldier
It's true what you might have heard. We do sometimes miss being deployed. It doesn't make much sense and we know it. The truth, though, is that things were usually pretty simple "downrange".
Anytime we were forced to assemble together, it was for a reason. Not formation just for the sake of formation. If there was information to put out, a huddle was good enough.
Not drinking was easy. Some dudes handle it just fine, I ended up cutting mine down to a bare minimum -- a drink or two. Some dudes just need to not drink. Ever.
Our safety briefings are continuously lengthier now because we're all supposed to be harboring sinister, self-destructive thoughts or subconscious desires. Buying up sports cars and crotch rockets. Deliriously wasting money.
My friend and I took an ass beating a month or two ago in Seattle. I was logic-defyingly drunk and I'm pretty sure he was too. I came out of a blackout just in time to see him turn to face me and say, "Yep.We're about to get our asses kicked." Then five or six dudes proceeded to do just that. All I could think was, "This shouldn't be happening.Wouldn't happen if I had a gun." That's about when it hit me.
We aren't worth dick if we aren't armed. Myself especially. No eye contact in public, don't cut anyone off in traffic, don't turn onto the wrong street, hope no one smashes your windows out when you go to see a movie, neurotic social terror. But put me in full kit and give me my rifle again, and I'm God.
One day you're detaining some asshole who rigged a house to explode on you and your guys, negotiating with the train-tunnel-sized shotgun barrel. The next, you're John Q Whogivesashit, capable of not much.
Oh yeah, I thought long and hard about spending my last year in Iraq. It sounded like a really good idea too. More money, actually doing my job. Sounded wonderful. But there's more people to consider than just me. So it's John Q Whatsit.
You get back, and everyone goes back to focusing on their own little things. Their upcoming marriage and/or divorce. Their suped Volkswagen. It isn't Us vs The World anymore. And it's a law of nature that everything eventually goes downhill. When that happens, you can either pout and live in the past, in the good ol' days, or you can move on and find something new and good, and enjoy it while it lasts. Then move on again when it's drained of awesome.
See, I don't know if I ever made this clear enough: I didn't enlist for "freedom", and I didn't enlist for college. I didn't even THINK I'd go to college back then; thought it "wasn't for me". (Vomit blood here.) I didn't give two shits who the President was, I didn't care who the enemy was. I've said this a million times, but I did it for the dudes of my generation that were going. We could have been storming London and I still would have signed up. I signed up for dudes that I didn't even know. Some that I came to hate, some that I never knew all too well, some that were just too fucking weird not to love, and some that are the best friends I'll ever have.
That Band Of Brothers feeling is few and far between though. Only in rare moments that you don't talk about in the first place. But I've done some really stupid things to help or bail a friend out.
The Army is where you go if you're afraid to grow up. If you have that Peter Pan Syndrome. But it isn't always the party you thought it would be. For some reason, I really thought it would be a life of excess and all things awesome. Sometimes it is. But no one advertises the gray moments in between. I'm not against recruiting for the Army. It's actually a really good thing for most people. I just think there should be more honesty in the advertisements. But wait, that defeats the purpose.
The thing though, is that you almost have no choice but to try to plow forward. If not, all you can do is look back. And I can't do that. So I have to stay busy. Bring the new guys in, I promise not to ruin their attitudes and I'll do everything I can to teach them and look out for them, and not ruin their mindset. The Army really could use more high speed, low drag, motivated types.
My heart is just never going to be in this unless I'm in a war zone again. So it's time to move on.
I was reading a book full of miscellaneous writings by Henry Rollins when I turned the page and read an entry that blew my mind. Described my feelings better than I could:
All my war stories are old
They hang like old clothes in the closet
No one wants to hear old war stories
It's all I have right now
My mouth flaps dry in the air
I am in this room pacing the floors
Sun up sun down grinding my teeth
Jumping at shadows waiting
I don't want to think about that old war anymore
It's driving me up the wall with bad insanity
I need new war
High on war