The Sandbox

GWOT hot wash, straight from the wire

Welcome to The Sandbox, a forum for service members who have served or are currently serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, returned vets, spouses and caregivers. The Sandbox's focus is not on policy and partisanship (go to our Blowback page for that), but on the unclassified details of deployment -- the everyday, the extraordinary, the wonderful, the messed-up, the absurd. All correspondence is read, and as much as possible is posted, lightly edited. If you know someone who is deployed who might have something to say, please tell them about us. To submit a post click here.


June 14, 2010

Name: Edda2010
Posting date: 6/14/10
Deployed to: Afghanistan

I walked into the chow hall and could not help but notice that it was festooned with American flags, streamers (red, white, and blue), and other pieces of celebration. I asked one of my colleagues, with whom I was eating, what the occasion was. He informed me, with some surprise, that it was Memorial Day.

Three days before, there'd been a massive TIC (Troops in Contact, a firefight) that consumed the Battalion. Elements from almost every Company were involved. It lasted 18 hours. None of our guys got scratched, somehow, though a couple vehicles got shot up. Sometime around two in the morning, the Battle Captain, 1LT F, walked in to my room and said: "Sir, I'm at tracer burnout." He looked it, too. I knew how he felt. I felt the same way.

The next day, sometime in the evening, I walked into the Battalion TOC at the same time as 1LT F. I asked him how things were going, and he said, "Better than yesterday. You know?"

"What happened yesterday?" I asked.

"The TIC, don't you remember?"

"I'm just thinking about today," I responded. "Today's good."

He laughed.

"The key to deployment is taking it one day at a time," I said, leaving the TOC.

This was the lesson Afghanistan had to teach me last time, and has been the lesson I've been learning ever since. Saying it, experiencing it again like this, I feel that I truly understand what it means to take things as they come, and to live in the moment.

Having said that, of course, I am also aware of how precarious and fleeting that experience is.

Memorial Day. A day on which I went on patrol, and got some stuff done, and had BBQ for dinner, and slipped out of the office to write this post before prepping for the next day's mission. A pretty good day.



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