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Calculating Time

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November 7, 2004

The air in the briefing room felt heavy. We knew that this was what we were here to do, but It still hit me like a ton of bricks. I knew that we outnumbered the Iraqis three to one, but that won’t stop a bullet from killing. It all felt unreal, like a dream. My commanding officer’s voice sounded like a recording, like it wasn’t real, like it wasn’t directed toward me. I didn’t let it show, though. I couldn’t. This is what I signed up to do, this is my honor. When we were dismissed, I headed straight for my quarters and started to clean my M-16. I wish the army would make a gun that won’t jam up, like an AK-47. I knew that the US was too proud to order Russian AKs, though. I decided to clean it in the morning, too. The last thing I needed was for it to jam up, especially since I am an MRAP driver and the only time I would need my M16 would be if the enemy had enough firepower to take down five tons of machinery. The thought sent chills down my spine. Then it struck me, I needed to check on my MRAP! How could I have been so stupid as to not to think about this before. If something goes wrong on that thing, innocent people, innocent blood, could have been on my hands. Once I had gotten to the MRAP, I made a thorough inspection on the interior. I wasn’t much of a mechanic, so I didn’t mess with anything or open anything up, that was the co-drivers job. It didn’t really matter, as long as someone can make necessary repairs. For all I knew, it looked just fine, but I wanted to make sure so I asked my co-driver, Lance to take a look. When he finished his basic inspection, he said that from what he saw, everything looked alright, but he didn’t want to open anything up he didn’t have to, so he wouldn’t run the risk of getting sand in vital components. So, instead, we took a test drive. Well, sort of. We were in the middle of a base and we needed clearance to leave the area, which we didn’t have. So we started up the engine and started to check the electrical components. Lance was outside of the MRAP to see if the steering and other exterior components worked. First, I turned the steering wheel to the right, then, after getting a thumbs up in response, I turned it to the left. After the driver’s side was completed, I moved to the passenger’s side. That was where the machinegun mounted on the top of the MRAP was controlled. I rotated it three hundred and sixty degrees. When finished, Lance and I checked the lesser components. When I turned on the air vents, dust started to come out of the ducts. I immediately turned off the vents and Lance swore. He had forgotten to check the air filter. It turned out that it had a hole in it, God knows why. Once satisfied I went back to my quarters, exhausted. It wasn’t that I was tired, but the mental strain was intense.
November 8, 2004
There it was. Fallujah. I heard Lance say “were here” and the voices in the back had suddenly stopped. That didn’t help me much. It only added to the adrenalin. We were about to go into the belly of the beast, and we knew it. I didn’t even experience any enemies along the way, which worried me. Rebels from nearby villages have slowed us down a little, but failed to stop the onslaught. And, as if in response, an MRAP in front of me triggered an IED. The explosion jarred my teeth. Lance reacted by unlocking the doors. After that, I’m not quite sure what happened. It all happened so fast. I remember hearing the solders in the back grab their weapons and run out the back door. I grabbed my gun. I knew I wasn’t supposed to get out and was happy to oblige. Then I heard gunshots. My heart was racing. I finely got a little relief when I heard the firing stop and heard a soldier shout orders in English. When the doors opened, I saw the troops run in and grab a stretcher. They brought a moaning man into the back. I called for an emergency evacuation for the stranded soldiers. I told them the situation and gave them our coordinates. I waited the chopper was visible before continuing. All this just on the way to the battle! That’s when reality really started to kick in and I had a sudden feeling of dread. The city was close by then and I could see that the fighting has progressed. I soon caught up to the fighting and unlocked the back door. I heard someone yell and the soldiers ran out the back. I had to go to another part of the battlefield for supplies soon, so I turned the MRAP around and started to drive off. But I was stopped by a sudden boom and a sudden feeling of increased gravity. My vision was blurred but I could still see what had happened. The MRAP had hit an IED powerful enough to tip in on its side. Then I noticed that Lance was gone. I started to search and call his name. I then felt hands grabbing me and I started to flail. I noticed that they were American soldiers and relaxed. I relaxed until I saw him. He was laying there, limp, covered in glass. Lance! I would have ran to him if I wasn’t so tired. He must have flew out the window when the MRAP tipped over.
November 9, 2004
For the next couple of days I was stuck in the middle of the fighting. I helped dismantle booby-traps and conduct house to house searching. Cluster bombs rained down on the city. There were few American deaths. I was shocked to see white phosphorous. Melted corpses filled the streets. I felt a pang of pity for those warped and melted in the streets. Why did it have to come to this? It felt wrong, no matter how terrible those people were. Then I heard a whistling sound. I looked up and saw a blur, and realized where I had wandered. I had walked right into an area scheduled for an artillery strike. I ran toward the nearest building. As I ran into the building I tripped on a fallen chair. I heard my leg crack. A searing pain crawled up my leg. I collapsed and now here I lay, writing this note. I hear the building burn around me . If anyone finds this note, please give it to my family. I want them to know the truth, how I died.



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