Having spent the last month and a half, awaiting the familiar tap on one's shoulder... that
unspoken sign of "Go!" The comms guy forever with his headset on, awaiting that coded signal from men with stars, having first received it from those creating politics in the bedroom. Six long
weeks of waiting and not a single time, even flinching. Trained sights, eager fingers, slow
breaths, waiting and watching.
That night, as the desert darkness took even the light of our souls, a quiet voice trickled into the
bunker from without. Not a voice familiar to one soul, within. Foreign tongue, desperately close.
All breathing stopped. The roar of tanks heard in the distance, growing ever closer. The voice becoming easier, joined by another. Small beams of light, breaking into our darkness, as
congregating enemy forces all but surrounded our only refuge. Closer they came, blocking sight,
blocking sound, blocking light. Dangerously close!
Hours drifted by, total silence from the highly trained, incredibly fearful personnel within. Hours
seemed days. How much longer? How can they not smell our waste?
Clutching 9mm and a "treat" from the "candymen" awaiting our certain unveiling. More hours
pass. Tension of knife-cutting thickness, building in waves in each man.
Sudden movement, as night becomes day. Enemy forces called away. Breaths audible to all, as
each one gasps for a full breath of morning air. Voices becoming fainter, thundering tanks all
but causing our demise, far from home, wondering if we'll all be the next listed as "Lost in
As day slowly turns back to night, the comms guy starts to let out uncontrolled cries of joy. Word UP! We are out of this hellhole. Coordinates passed, covernames exchanged, codes redefined.
Our time has come and gone.
As we are lifted skyward, we silently let out that breath of soulful release. In unison, as has been
the case for far too long, we all find a smile that comes from the deepest part of our human
souls. Though our mission over and no "steps" taken, a success, nonetheless. As all souls
onboard, no one lost.
Remembering times when the missions were completed. Listed as successes, yet losses to the
team. Mission accomplished, man down. Oxymorons fill the mind, in military rhetoric. This mission, over, not to be repeated. A marked man lives to fight another day... six grateful
souls, return to family and friends. Not MUCH the worse for wear.
Two more weeks, getting the stench of human feces to leave our olfactory nerves alone. Two
more weeks, to shed all the sand from every nook and cranny of body, clothes and equipment.
Two more weeks, to get the fear of near discovery out of our conscience, yet, storing it carefully
as lessons learned, for future missions. Two more weeks, to cradle loved ones in our arms, hold
them so closely, nearly breaking them. Two more weeks, to sort out the family finances, fix the
brakes on the 4X4, see a soccer game or two. Two more weeks, debriefings at every level... Two
more weeks... again, we are gone.
Out to nowhere, to do nothing, to utter not a sound. To gaze upon a lucky soul, to bond with five
other lonely ones. Mission begets mission. Success begets success. Life goes on, self-reflection and soul searching become a regular routine.
Question not your raison d'Ítre, for we are all here for the same reason. To survive, long enough
to propagate the continuance of the human species. To go to any higher level is to force one to
believe we each have a divine reasoning. We are not gods, but men. We shed blood red and
warm. We honor those gone before, and those who'll undoubtedly tread where we once tread.
Softly, the bugle blows... echoing in the night. Gently the lips of the bugler, control each and
every note. The music of the night to a weary soldier. Taps signals the end of one more day, or
the end of one more life. Each day a life, in and of itself. Each day passing, as each life will, in
time. Survive, living each day as a lifetime. Fill it as completely as you can.
Desert sands, still linger in boots unworn. Passing days, still bring back smells long since gone
from flaring nostrils. Torturous feelings of hunched over frames, fill the dreams of six young
Lust for the light, leave the darkness well behind. Forget it not, but know the light doth come.
This page created: 19 February, 2000. All content copyrighted, 1999, 2000.