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Young Eyes This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

Waiting.
That’s always the hardest part of every fight.
From back in high school,
When I had to walk around all day, knowing what was coming after school,
And now just two years later,
Sitting in my tank, ready to blow those Republican Guard tankers to kingdom come.

We were supposed to be the first ones in, right across the border into Kuwait.
Now I wait.
Generals and their egos, I guess Stormin’ Norman had to be the first one over the line
With that Hail Mary through Iraq.
I only get to go in for “cleanup” of those units holding out near the oil fields.

My squad commander finally got word that we’re going over the line.
“Tomorrow morning, oh-dark-30, wear your hazmat suits,” he said.
Are the Iraqi’s really going to gas us?
Of course not, but Uncle Sam spent millions of dollars training me to be the best, brightest fighting machine in the world…
So just in case, I’ll suit up with my mask and heavy clothing in a 110 degree sandstorm.

Finally on the road,
One hand on my gas mask, the other on a 105mm world of hurt that can punch through two feet of the world’s strongest steel from over a mile away.
I’m ready to take out any T-55 dumb enough to stick his head out of the sand,
Like an ostrich playing hide and seek.


Unfortunately, the only tanks I can see are the burning hulks that litter the road.
The marines came up this way with army helicopter support on day one,
Shooting every Iraqi that I came from thousands of miles away and
Trained for years to take on.
Dumb marines.

I sat there, grumbling over my unfortunate luck
When my tank commander called for me to see something out the hatch.
I clambered up and squeezed past him so that I could get up into the opening.
(Now I see why I was picked up for armor. I’m 5’ 7” and 130 pounds.)
Fully expecting to see another burnt out hulk of a BMP or a T-72, instead, what I saw is seared in my eyes. Forever.

It was certainly something burning,
But not a single chassis, nor a few,
But it seemed as if god’s hand had struck in a furious blow and ignited the whole world in front of me.
Black smoke stretched across the horizon with little geysers adding to the sea of burn oil above me.

We drove closer to one of the flaming, black jets to examine what happened.
It was like Yellowstone had taken a darker turn,
As thousands of gallons of crude shot into the sky,
Igniting a raging inferno of proportions Dante couldn’t have imagined.
Saddam had blown the oil wells.

It was my own personal hell,
Watching the clear air become a poisoned black cloud
That stretched over all of Kuwait and into my soul.





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