Saturday, April 09, 2005

Unbeing dead isn't being alive.

There are roughly 500,000 people in the Army. I went through Basic Training with about 28 of them. So far, in my military career, I have surprisingly ran into 3 of them. Two were stationed at the same base, different units, in Germany. Today I ran into my Battle-Buddy from Basic. See, in Basic, you are paired with another recruit for several different reason. Over the weeks, you develop a strong relationship with that person because of what you both go through. My Battle-Buddy, Hancock, went on to be an officer in the Tennessee National Guard. Imagine my surprise as I see him making an ice cream cone in Iraq.

He was shocked to see me too, and we spent the next hour catching up. He had a better story than I had. I am envious. Understand my experiences here so far and what his experiences have been. This is a story that was not televised.

2LT Robert Hancock just got done with schooling to come to Iraq 2 months ago. He became Battle Team Commander and trains the Iraqi Army. His first mission, just a few days ago, was to go out and sweep for weapons caches near Balad Ruz. This was around the time we had our on base 'scare'. They reached their sweep point and were ambushed by an unusually large number of insurgents. Hancock was in charge and called his gunner to lay suppressive fire while his other team members pulled a flanking maneuver. Special Forces and the Iraqi Army joined in. The Iraqi Army fought for 15 minutes and expended roughly 12,000 rounds before retreating. They lost 12. Hancock's team and the SF continued to fight while calling in air support. At one point, he needed to call in the MedEvac helicopters but the landing zone was still hot. He brought them in successfully anyway. A mortar hit a few meters behind the one bird, next to Hancock, but failed to go off.

After losing 1 of ours in 30 hours of fighting, the insurgents were wiped out; blown to bits by our heavy fire, Apaches, and bombers. Hancock also was involved in clearing the battlefield. He found several layers of fall-back; areas the insurgents had set up to regroup and rearm to continue fighting. In his words, "They were there to fight until they saw Allah." Hancock and his team helped them with the introductions. The mission revealed many many caches of weapons and explosives and a possible training grounds. He stated that all the training we did together at Basic was what he relied on in battle; the calling in reports, suppressive fire, etc.

You may ask why am I envious. Easy. While this was going on, I was sitting here unbeing dead.

(without using Google this time, $0.11 to the one who gets the author of the quote.)


Blogger Crystal said...

i have just discovered your is really interesting to hear what you have to say. i have the utmost respect for you. i have a couple of friends who have done tours in iraq. i dont know what it is like to wait the way you are waiting, but i am glad that you weren't in that fight, im sorry you dont feel alive, but atleast you aren't dead.

Blogger Dorman said...

Thank you for your comment. It is hard to explain to people the mindset that many of us go through. I am not infantry, obviously, but I am sure that at some point in their training they go through the experience of desolation, having to reconcile their lives, feeling disconnected. It is so important to each of us that we know there are people supporting us as a whole and individually. Our circle of friends and family become even more important. Sometimes even more than the family and friends can reciprocate. This blog is just one outlet for me to keep me feeling 'available' to the real world. I am in no way a spokesperson or unique, just opinionated. Thank you again.



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