Thursday, June 16, 2005

In the Sandbox... (Challenge)


Correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe that ArmySgt24 is the only one to enter the Sandbox that is currently deployed to the Sandbox... If you have yet to have met him, he works nights over there and pops into the Grotto mid-day our time --and is a riot to talk to! (Click for bigger pics of the FOB):

(Photos By armysgt24 and Prose By Michael @ A Day in Iraq)

"The two guys in the back seat are staring at nothing in particular as they lethargically sip on another highly caffeinated energy drink, wishing they could inject the liquid speed intravenously, and willing themselves not to succumb to the anguish of nodding off. My legs are falling asleep from the strap digging into the back of my leg, and my feet feel like they’re being stuck by hundreds of needles as I put my weight on them, trying to adjust my body to allow blood to flow down to my legs. Up in the turret with me are a couple of bottles of water, a can of Mountain Dew for when I begin to nod off, a pair of binoculars, package of dry Ramen for the lunch I know we’re going to miss, my camera, a GPS, and of course my gun. Every now and then I have to yell down to Sgt. W our grid coordinates since it won’t pick up the satellite signal from inside the humvee. I’m watching lubricant slowly drip from my gun onto the humvee as we continue to speed down the highway at 65mph. I wish I’d brought my book along to entertain me during this part of the trip. I’d been reading a novel about the civil war, but I’d left it back at the FOB. I guess I read about war, since I sometimes don’t feel like I’m part of one here. It’s got big bloody battles and god like Generals. I’m aware that we’re part of a war right here, but a very different one than that. I couldn’t help thinking how it was that our nation was ever at war with itself. How is it that men can be friends one day and enemies the next, standing on opposite sides of the battlefield with the intent to kill each other. What is it about man and war that has existed for all time and will continue as long as we exist. These absurd thoughts were running through my mind as we sped on our way.

There’s still a cause worth fighting for over here even if it rarely shows it’s ugly head anymore. Maybe they’ll rear their ugly head today, but it’s unlikely. So I’m thinking of civil wars, Generals, masked gunmen with RPG’s, IED’s buried along the road, suicide bombers, my family, and home when we begin to approach a small town on the way to our destination. I forget about the book and leave the epic battles for later, concentrating instead on everything in front of me, the houses, the cars, the people, the children, the dogs, the donkeys, the tractors, the trucks, and the sides of the road that lay smooth along the hard top, concealing the sudden destruction that may consume us all. But this is a friendly town, one we’ve been to before. It’s a Shia town with children waving at us as we pass. Crude houses stand on each side of the road, some made of clay, others of brick. Trash litters the ground that children run through trying to get a glimpse of us. Women with only their eyes uncovered are carrying huge bundles of vegetation on their back, likely the food that will nourish their animals for the future slaughter that will in turn nourish them. Men stroll through the streets without a care in the world, certainly not for the women with the weight of the world upon their backs. We don’t stop, nor do we slow down, we just speed through as if they don’t exist. They’re not on our agenda today. Today we have to go talk to a man about mortar tubes." -Michael
(Go read the rest of this awesome post)

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