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.


February 10, 2011

Name: Etta2010
Stationed in: Afghanistan

This posting is as much an admission of guilt as it is an apology for the actions that led to the behavior that earned the guilt. To whit -- I never would have thought that I'd spend over a month and a half in combat and not write anything down about it. Heaven knows I've experienced enough of the breadth of combat in the past 45 days to generate some interesting comments and commentary. At the end of it all, though, here I am, sitting in front of a computer in a crowded MWR, incapable of writing anything interesting.

I mean, assuming that the things that I write are ever interesting.

The fact is, while everything was happening I was so deeply involved in it all -- so engaged -- that in retrospect I suppose it was inevitable that I'd get back, from days in the field, and just be -- feel -- totally washed out. More exhausted, less motivated, than at any point in the prior deployment. There have been many occasions on which I felt angry, or frustrated, or steeped in some other similarly negative emotion, but I can remember no other time when I felt nothing. It's gone on for a good four days now -- ever since getting back from the last of three long, overlong extended missions.

This is new ground for me. Not motivated, not inspired, just trying to get through it all to the end. Tired of getting shot at.

Guess that means it's high time I found a new career!


Been there, done that has finally settled in. Just don't push the envelope now to see if you can still feel something. Don't know what you have experienced nor done, but take the time to understand who you are now. What has changed in the last 45 days to cause this void. You are standing at the edge of a very deep and dark hole staring into the blackness. There is no light at the other end only an emptiness. Don't let it suck you in. Speak to someone you trust. Allow yourself the unselfish act of trying to right your life before the void is all you know. There is life left if you search for it.
Platitudes, I know, but valid.

Sir, you've been through Hell and it is not over yet. Thank you for being honest. We stateside folks need to know what you and your fellow soldiers are going through. What you wrote speaks volumes of the hell you have experienced. I like Roy is right. Sounds like he is a soldier. I'm not. Still, take care of yourself sir, for the sake of your sanity, your soul and those who love you. Be safe and again, thanks.

My apologies. I usually only read Doonesbury. But this post grabbed my eye.
If you ever get back to the land of books, try out The Things They Carried, a great book about grunts in Vietnam,but probably relevant anywhere grunts are/have been/ will be.
A suggestion: write no matter what, even a few lines. It will help get you through.
AND you can see from the above comments, that your writing affects other people, probably also few more who felt they had no right to add, comment, or whatever.
Go safe and come home safe.

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