The Veteran

September 23, 2012
By PrOcedure BRONZE, Orlando, Florida
PrOcedure BRONZE, Orlando, Florida
2 articles 0 photos 0 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination are omnipotent. the slogan 'press on' has and always will solve the problems of the human race."

-Calvin Coolidge

“My Grace is sufficient for you.” Those were the words Tyler Groveman had grown up with, but now strayed so far from. The man considered himself an atheist, his wife considered herself Christian. She was always nagging him, always trying to lead him to Christ. He sighed heavily; this was what seemed to be his 50th covert operation for the government of The United States of America. In the dense jungle marshes of North Vietnam Tyler and his 001 Bravo Division awaited in ambush, they were like vipers’ in the grass. The veteran’s mind was not on the mission, however, all he could think about was his wife, he wondered if she was ok and how she was doing. He had been away from her for 6 months, and the pain of leaving her for his duty to his country was worse than any wound he had ever suffered.
At that moment one of the men, Drake Peters, signaled that the enemy was approaching. Peters had been a long time friend of Ty; they literally went through boot camp together and wouldn’t have made it out without each other. Drake was his other half, and a bit of a rival, “‘but hey what’s wrong with a little friendly competition?’” recalling a remark that he had made to Drake after he had lost a race through an obstacle course.
The men steadied their breathing more now; they could hear the Viet Cong speaking in their native tongue. Tyler’s heart was beating as hard as a speaker that was being used in a rock concert, and he didn’t like the feeling one bit. But he had to shake it off, as well as the ghosts that had been crawling along his body, giving him goose bumps in 110 degree weather. The heat and humidity were so intense that he could almost swear he was in a sauna.
The moment of truth had arrived, the Vietnamese approached and passed right through the ambush. It was perfect, and although they could not see the enemy from the bushes, they believed there was no possible way that the plan could fail. Drake gave them the signal to strike, and they sprung out upon the enemy like a leopard upon a gazelle. They went in with weapons hot, but it was not until they saw who the people were that they hesitated. The enemy had sent mere 10 year old children to the fighting and the battalion was completely unprepared.
This slight hesitation gave the Viet Cong a chance to react by pulling out their pistols; although a few were shot and killed most of them managed to at least fire a shot. Most of the gunfire that was coming from the enemy was rather clumsy, as it had obviously appeared they had not been in the military too long. In Tyler’s case however, the boy pulled the pin on a frag grenade rather than the one on his gun. The agent’s instincts told him to leave the boy and run, but his heart spoke to him differently. The soldier dislodged the frag and pushed the boy out of the way as he himself tried vainly to dive and avoid the blast.
Searing pain like that of 1000 fires ignited up to his waistline. He dared not look because he feared the worse, but curiosity got the better of him. His legs had been completely blown off up to his waistline, the tissue in his legs looked like setting jelly or raw salmon and the more he stared the more it racked him with pain, but he couldn’t look away. His attention finally shifted from his legs to the boy, who, recovering only stared at Tyler with a blank, cold expression. Tyler had realized the battle was still going on even through the blasts, he noticed everyone but he was fine. Well, they looked fine anyways.
Not more than thirty feet away Drake was struggling with another soldier, not allowing him to draw his pistol. The Vietnamese man finally looked to draw his pistol, even getting it out of the holster, when Peters smashed the man’s hand against a tree. This made him drop the gun, at which point Drake head butted the man knocking him down the steep cliff they were on into a puddle of muddy water. Drake picked up the .357 magnum revolver and shot two bullets in the man’s chest. It was at this time that they heard a helicopter nearby and Tyler smiled for joy.
Two other squad mates Thomas Dennings and Jeffry Undermire helped Tyler up and swung his arms around their shoulders. Only one man of their five man operations team was killed in the attack, but the 10+ Viet Cong soldiers had either fled, been taken captive or had been killed. However, Groveman had wondered where that boy who injured him went, but he shrugged it off thinking it nothing. That was until he looked back and saw the boy standing behind his best friend with a pistol to his head. “DRAKE! BEHIND YOU!” Tyler screamed, but before his friend could move a muscle he had been gunned down executioner style, joining the other man in the muddy pool.
“We have to go back,” the crippled soldier exclaimed as tears rolled down his muddy chicks and iron chin. “There’s no time Groveman! We have to get the landing zone for evac; the Congs are swarming at our flanks and forward positions!” Thomas said. The medics tended to his wounds, and when they arrived in Seoul through the Armistice Line, Tyler was taken to a hospital. There they gave him prosthetics legs and a wheelchair. That same night lying in the hospital bed, he got a call from his wife, May Groveman. They conversed for about three hours, talking about everything from Vietnamese food to when he would be returning to the states. Not even thirty seconds after he got off the phone he burst into tears.
“How will I tell her,” he thought to himself “She’ll be so ashamed of me she’ll never look at me the same.” Two weeks after this thought occurred he was back in the states, Phoenix Arizona to be exact. He got off the plain to see his wife waiting patiently. She saw him in the chair, and putting her hands over her mouth, she leaned in to hug her husband. She couldn’t control herself; her shirt was wet with tears. He spoke up, knowing she couldn’t, “That three hour conversation was held at the hospital, I didn’t want to tell you because I was ashamed.” She spoke up as well, saying “That three hour conversation that I called you for was tell you that you’re going to be a father, I just didn’t have the courage to say it.” At that moment words popped into his head “My grace is sufficient for you.” He felt his spirit breakdown right there and realizing that to get through this time, they needed to look to something higher, they spoke with their tongues and confessed with their lips that they needed to have a relationship with God.

The author's comments:
This piece was a writing assignment I completed in my senior year of high school.

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