The way I felt when I was deployed to Iraq was that I was pretty much invincible mixed with a lot of being afraid. But when you’re with your buddies it seems like no one can touch you. You know? Like, we got guns and trucks and bullets and grenades and all this shit that pretty much can send whatever country we occupy six feet down.
We really aren’t that invincible, though. Not in the slightest. I mean, you always hear about soldiers getting wasted in combat but until it’s one of your own, it really doesn’t hit home. I had been home from Iraq for about a year and I was back at Fort Riley. Our unit had disbanded and all my Army buddies that I was in combat with were either getting out of the Army, going to school for drill sergeant, recruiter or moving to a different Army post. Lots of changes were happening and happening fast. My deployment was finished but that didn’t mean it was finished for everyone else. I still had friends going back to Iraq in the upcoming months. I wanted to go back to Iraq with my buddies but the Army put me in a unit that was “fenced” in. Which meant I was stuck like chuck.
I also came to a crossroads in my career. I was trying to get promoted to staff sergeant and I needed all the promotion points I could muster up. Another deployment would delay my promotion by another year and my making E-6 was very important to me. I decided to enroll in college and dedicate my evenings to taking correspondence courses through the Army. Unfortunately, to become a staff sergeant in the United States Army as a tank mechanic, I’d need 750 promotion points. It’s do-able but nearly impossible.
My buddy Crow, who I had met at reception in 2004 when I first came to Fort Riley, was deploying to Iraq. I remembered the first story he had told me about his first deployment about how he got into a fire fight with some bad guys and his pants burned off. Or something to that effect. It was a goofy story but I enjoyed the entertainment. Needless to say, the sad part about being friends with Army guys during the time of war, is sometimes they get to go to war and they never come back.
“I hate war as only a soldier who has lived it can, only as one who has seen its brutality, its stupidity.” DWIGHT D. EISENHOWER