I’ve been listening to this song for a couple of weeks now; sadly it resembles my life. Let me back track a little bit, though. You know, to allow you to understand things a little more clearly.
In 2005 I was deployed to Iraq for the first time in my life. Yeah, I was a tank mechanic at the time, but working on tanks in the combat zone was far and few between. For the first six months, I endured guard duty. I can’t recall how long the shifts were, but it was boring, hot and miserable, mixed with sporadic times of excitement and being afraid. I remember one afternoon, while I was sitting in my lonely little guard shack far away from civilization, I could hear the faint whisper of what turned out to be a mortar shell. It landed about 20 feet from my position and I had just removed my helmet to indulge in a little bit of lunch. I had just pulled the MRE main meal from the heater and tore the tip open with my teeth when the explosion rocked the guard shack. The concussion was so strong it knocked my helmet off the shelf, my MRE went flying and I nearly fell out of my chair. I wish my story was cooler-you know, jumping up and grabbing two M240 machine guns and blazing down an entire village of terrorists…
…but that shit only happens in the movies. I suppose I could have exited my guard shack and popped off a few rounds; but the Army has always trained me to always have a target in sight before discharging my rifle. Besides, we had a couple of civilians working around our guard shack on miniscule projects that had to be saved. No, no one was injured. But they were running around like complete fucking retards not sure what to do. I hollered over the radio to give exact coordinates of where the mortar shell landed and the possible trajectory. That’s about all my job entailed.
I think that was my real first taste of combat- and it wasn’t much. Meanwhile, my brothers in the scout, mortar and infantry units were out in sector taking shit from all sides, more than likely. And here I was, sitting in a guard shack trying to eat an MRE. Well, we all choose our paths, I suppose. I joined the Army in 2000 when nothing was going on in my life (or the country for that matter). I had gotten into a huge fight with my parents at the ripe ol’ age of 19, thought I knew it all, had it all figured out, wrecked my Dad’s truck, told both my parents to go to hell, and joined the Army the next day. Two weeks later I was in the “suck” at Fort Jackson, South Carolina learning how to be a soldier and then off to Fort Knox to learn my Army trade-M1A1 tank systems maintainer. Originally, I was supposed to be working on the turret as a 45E but when I got to Kentucky, the drill sergeants welcomed us with push-ups and a new job title. 63A. The Army had combined both tank jobs into one. Same pay, more work, right?
Anyway. After the mortar attack, I wasn’t like, hurt or anything, but something definitely clicked in my head. I went into survival mode. I went into combat mode. These motherfuckers were trying to fucking kill me and I didn’t like it. And it wasn’t like they walked up like badasses and shot at me. They shot rockets from hundreds of feet away like cowards. It sucked. It happened routinely. Nearly every-fucking-day we were getting some kind of indirect fire from these assholes. Its like, I couldn’t sleep because I was always worried about my buddies getting their asses shot off. I couldn’t sleep because I was always worried about incoming rocket attacks. I couldn’t turn it off. I’d lie down in my bunk, close my eyes and just listen to darkness. But I wasn’t sleeping. I wasn’t resting. I was waiting. I’d get a few hours of sleep, eventually, because I was so tired…and then I’d go sit in that hot, dirty guard shack some more.
What does all this have to do with the song I posted earlier? A lot, I suppose. My love life has suffered greatly because of my deployment to Iraq. I don’t do well alone. It’s nice to have someone, a significant person, you know…that you can count on. That gives a shit about you at the end of the day. It just seems that when I get involved with someone, I’m still waiting for that incoming rocket attack.