- Posted February 10, 2013 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
The war through your eyes: Iraq 10 years on
My career: rinse wash repeat
Nothing prepares you to go to war better than pretending to go to war. I spent 3 years pretending to go to war. Granted I was in communications so war for me was making sure everyone could communicate with each other and if that did not happen I would probably spend a couple of days on latrine duty scrubbing down toilets, sinks, and showers. I did my fair share of latrine duty which I have to admit instilled character and humility. Eating at the dining facility however was worse than latrine duty will ever be. One year had come and gone serving in Camp Casey South Korea. It was a blur of soju (Korean liquor) juicy girls (Filipino women brought in by human trafficking) and of course pretending to go to war with North Korea. Looking back on my wild and reckless nights, I could of gotten into some serious trouble but hindsight is 20/20 and youth is so carelessly blind. It felt good to be back in the States' all for some 30 days of R&R in my native Miami, Fl.,but then I arrived in Fort Hood Texas a.ka middle of nowhere Texas. Not exactly where a city boy would like to end up. I soldiered on did my job, got some pats on the back and kept out of trouble somewhat. I really thought I was going to go through my military career with out ever deploying. I thought I was missing out on something. I wanted to deploy. The more soldiers I met that did deploy made me feel as if I wasn't a true soldier if I didn't end up there. I felt as if it was a right of passage. I had to experience what it was like to take direct/indirect fire, be in a convoy when an IED explodes, maybe take someone's life. All this was running through my mind as I smoked my life away outside of the motorpool waiting to be released for the day.
My unit finally received orders to go to Iraq, as corrections officers. My unit launched rockets that could take an entire grid square, so now we had to retrain our approach to war. Changing our mentality of what war was hard. People don't like change. There was not one person that liked the idea of having to guard the bad guys, everyone wanted to shoot at the bad guys. We trained, we ate shitty food, we shitted it out, we repeated for two weeks. Finally... Kuwait where we trained, ate shitty food, shitted it out, and repeated for two more weeks, this time in unbearable hot and dry desert weather. Fuck. Sorry I just realized how repetitive this all might sound like but thats the military life in a nut shell. We finally get to Iraq, it only took a half an hour helicopter ride to get to Camp Bucca where we were greeted warm heartedly by the unit we were replacing. They loved us. They wanted to teach us the ropes so they could get the fuck out of their because they were tired of repeating the same 12 hour routine for 12 months. Life back then was predictable. Life right now is highly unpredictable. Like whether or not I will find a job after I graduate from college. I was one of the lucky ones that was reassigned from guarding the viciously predictable detainees. I was transferred to do my original job which was to make sure people were able to communicate which meant hooking up the mouse to the computer so people could click on things and hooking up cable to soldiers living areas so they can pretend to watch TV while what they are really doing is masturbating. I even managed to go on a couple of convoys to drop off broken equipment to another base up north which was really disappointing. No fire fights or IEDs just some kids running to the side of the convoy howling for some candy and a couple of camels. I made it out alive with a few paper cuts but luckily no serious loss of blood. The truth is I feel stupidly lucky that I did not end up hurt or killed. I am left wondering if I should be thankful and if yes to who. I am left with guilt that it should have been me that should have been blown up instead of a fellow soldier on a list of killed in action. Where I am now after I served? I just feel like some punk college kid trying to find a job, but I feel like am much more than that, but I feel as if I do not deserve much more than that.