15th January 1998,
Location: US Base Afghanistan.
Today made it 4 months, 4 weeks and 6 hours since we got off the helicopter and landed in this desert. I was more of a newbie who just got off the parade squad and was handed a rifle and some piece of encouragements. I remembered that final night before departure and the fun I had with Sean my best friend and adopted army elder brother. Well, I am Nate or rather 1042 for those who cared to ask a newbie.
Sean: Hey newbie! He calls me that when he is either drunk or wants to get me mad. Well, tonight he was a bit tipsy from the words he spoke.
Nate: Sean, can’t wait to get out there on the field and make my country proud. I replied, ignoring his ‘newbie’ taunts.
Sean: You still a kid in the game. I will advise you not to jump in front of a bullet because of this your zeal. He said laughing as we packed our bags into the waiting room which we nicknamed Hell passport office.
As we hopped into the waiting military trucks to the cheers of the other soldiers, I felt a sought of fulfilment. Sean led us in a military styled version Psalm 23. We all recited it with more vigour and enthusiasm. As we journeyed further into the war zone, gunshot sounds, RPG’s and grenades rented the air. I already had cold feet, and deep down in my mind, I wished it was all over. I remember my lovely family back home as I watched Sean dishing out orders. I had met him during my first day at the cafeteria and we just connected since we were from the same city. I remember attending his wedding just two weeks ago to his childhood crush.
The sound from an RPG brought me back from my daydreaming escapade. As I opened my eyes, I was shocked to see Sean standing in front of me with his badge reading Sargent Sean. N -012.
Sean: Hey newbie! Do you think we are here to reminisce on the Cinderella story? He asked with his red eyes bulging into my soul. I felt ashamed and manage to reply.
Nate: No sir.
We fought all day long against the opposition troop. I couldn’t really feel my arms due to all the gun handling and shootings. We retired to sleep while the other batch took over at the war front. Sean and his friends entertained us with stories from their past war experiences before we all fell asleep. The early morning whistling from our troop commander woke us up from our slumber. Sean and I quickly rinsed our face as we headed out with the others to receive the instruction for the day. That day, we were to attack the hideouts of the terrorist in the main city. Sean...