THE LETTER FROM HOME
Newly promoted Gunnery Sergeant Michael Scott sat
quietly on his small and very uncomfortable bed. Scott was
twenty seven and recently put in charge of a small unit. It
was only a four man team, he included, but it was one step
higher on his career ladder. He'd been in Baghdad just over a
month now and he missed home dreadfully. His wife, Alice,
would be busy making preparations for the couple's fifth year
anniversary. Scott was prepared to return home in a few days,
with just two more patrols left.
Scott was called in for a short meeting with General
Lucius Norman, the bases commanding officer. Scott entered
the General's small office and waited for Norman to
"Have a seat, Sergeant," offered Norman, nodding to the
chair in front of his small, paper covered desk.
"Thank you, sir," replied Scott politely, taking the
seat and sitting up straight.
Norman twisted a pen around in his fingers as he
thought deeply about what to say. Scott waited patiently,
almost bored waiting for the General to start
"I don't know why the government finds it necessary for
us to be here; where nothing is happening. But I need the
best on our patrols. You and your team are going out to Verb
road tomorrow to check it out, drive around, do all the
bullshit you're paid to do. I know you aren't going to find a
single fucking thing, but it isn't my choice," Norman
"Yes sir, we'll leave at first light," Scott replied
with a smile and then he left the office.
Scott had never liked General Norman. He was an old guy
who couldn't fire a gun worth a shit and got what he wanted
by making fools out of the younger guys in the corps. Scott
had to resist the urge to punch Norman right in his face
every single time he saw him. But none of that mattered;
Scott had his duty to do.
The next day, Scott was preparing to head out with the
three members of his team. Corporal Tim DeBernardo was the
team's driver and medic. At twenty four, he was quite
experienced out in the field, not that anything was actually
going on out here. The .50 calibre gunner was Lance Corporal
Austin Wales. Twenty six, dark and fearsome, Wales was not
the marine with whom to fuck. The last and newest member of
the team was fresh out of basic training, Private First Class
Jimmy Ripley. Ripley was twenty two and eager to get out in
the world to prove himself to the others.
Scott knew each member of his team well and trusted
them with his life. As Scott greeted the trio outside of an
armoured Humvee, the group cheered and howled as the Sergeant
arrived, as was their custom for some odd and unknown
"G'morning, Sarge," greeted Wales cheerfully. "Another
beautiful day in the Corps, isn't it?"
"Just stunning, Corporal, just stunning. You all ready
to move out?" asked Scott.
DeBernardo cocked his M16 and smiled, wiggling his
tongue like a large dog…or Gene Simmons. Wales and Ripley
laughed at the marine and did the same with their weapons,
M249 and M4 respectively. Scott grabbed his own M4 and
climbed into the Humvee. DeBernardo hopped into the driver's
seat while Ripley and Wales got in the back, Wales climbing
up into the gunner position on top of the Humvee, manning the
large fifty calibre machine gun.
"Let's roll!" yelled DeBernardo happily as he jammed
his foot down on the accelerator.
The group of four arrived in the early morning at Verb
road, a long stretch of dirt road in between two tall rock
faces. The perfect spot for a surprise attack…
DeBernardo cruised down the road at a steady 35mph,
constantly scanning the road ahead of him for anything. Scott
looked back and saw Ripley sitting quietly in the back seat,
staring out the window.
"How's the wife?" Scott asked to DeBernardo.
"She's great. She's about six months pregnant now and
due in May," DeBernardo said happily with a smile.
"What about yours, Ripley? Girlfriend?" Scott asked to
"Got three at the moment, Sarge," Ripley replied
"You wish, Private!" yelled out Wales from the top of
The whole group laughed. DeBernardo turned to Scott.
"How's your wife?"
"Great, our fifth year anniversary coming up in a few
weeks," Scott replied, letting a large smile creep across his
Unfortunately the smile didn't last long as the front
windshield suddenly cracked and a spray of red painted the
inside of the Humvee red. The fifty calibre started firing
loudly as Wales jammed his fingers down on the trigger. The
Humvee smashed into one of the rock faces, slamming the
marines around inside the car. Scott didn't know what the
hell was going on. He looked over to DeBernardo and gasped in
DeBernardo had been shot in the head! His whole head
had virtually exploded from the inside by a sniper shot - the
young marines brains literally splattered across the
windshield! Grabbing his M4, Scott turned to his door, but it
was jammed against the rock face.
"Wales, status!" screamed Scott up to Wales, who was
still firing with the machine gun.
"Multiple targets, approximately two dozen equipped
with small arms!" replied Wales over the machine gun
Ripley snatched up his own M4 and flicked off the
safety. He climbed over to the other door, past Wales' legs
and opened the door, standing behind it to use it as a
shield. Scott climbed into the back seat to follow, carefully
pushing the dead body of DeBernardo to the side. As he
stepped outside, Scott saw the targets that Wales had told
him about. There were armed men, most probably militia,
making their way towards the Humvee, both down the road and
on top of the rock faces. Taking aim, Scott successfully
downed one of the approaching militia. His celebration was
cut short when Wales' chest suddenly exploded in a disgusting
spray of red. The Lance Corporal convulsed violently as his
blood spurted out of his body. The lifeless marine finally
slopped down back into the Humvee.
It was now just Scott and Ripley against 16 armed
"Move to the rock face! Better cover and it won't
explode!" ordered Scott as the front of the Humvee erupted in
bullets, the bonnet starting to smoke under the merciless
fire. The armour on the vehicle was actually doing very
little. Ripley ran to the rock face on the other side of the
road, covered by Scott's fire. Scott started to make his way
over as Ripley now covered him. A stray bullet hit Scott in
the leg as he arrived on the rock face. Sucking up the pain,
Scott returned fire and killed the militia soldier that had
"How're we getting out of here?" screamed Ripley
"Any way we can!" Scott replied. "Move back down the
street! I'll cover you!"
Ripley turned to run. Time slowed down as Ripley faced
Scott. Ripley's head suddenly exploded from the back as the
unseen sniper claimed his second kill. Ripley's blood and
brain matter splattered all over Scott's face and chest.
Startled, he fell backwards and lost grip of his M4. Seconds
later he was surrounded by militia and was soon met with the
butt of a rifle. The world turned black.
Waking up several hours later, Scott found that he was
standing. His wrists were searing with pain. He looked up and
saw his arms were above his head, a metal pin piercing both
wrists, pinning him to a large wooden stake in the ground.
Blood was seeping down his arms and from his broken nose. It
was now the middle of the day and Scott was being held
prisoner somewhere in Baghdad.
A man in uniform, a militia fighter and most probably a
militia leader, stood in front of him. In his hands was a
glistening silver gun, commonly known as a Desert Eagle. On
closer inspection, Scott realised that it was actually his
pistol. The man looked up and smiled at Scott. Taking aim at
his head, the man pulled the trigger and Gunnery Sergeant
Michael Scott was dead.
Several Hours Earlier…
Twenty one year old Private Tommy McLean worked in the
bases postal service. A boring job he admitted, but it kept
him from going into combat, after all, he only enlisted in
the Corps for money. Sorting mail, he came across a letter
addressed to someone he actually knew, a new Gunnery Sergeant
by the name of Michael Scott. Grabbing the letter, McLean
went to where Scott stayed but found empty quarters. A fellow
marine told him that Scott had just left on a patrol and
would be back around midday. McLean nodded and left the
letter on Scott's bed, ready to be read when Scott returned
from his patrol.
Several Days Ago…
Twenty six year old Alice Scott finished the letter.
She'd been so happy; she couldn't wait to tell Michael.
Unfortunately for her, all the phone lines to the base in
Baghdad had been down for quite awhile so she had to send the
news the old fashioned way, by letter. She picked up the
piece of paper and read the letter to herself.
Hey, Baby. I hope you're doing well
over there. I'm missing you terribly. I cannot wait to see
you. It's been too long. I know it's only been a month, but a
week is too long! I don't think I ever told you that I was so
proud of you. Getting out there and defending our country. I
know you said there isn't actually any fighting or anything,
but it is still dangerous. You are very brave to do that, and
it is one of the thousands of reasons why I love
I have to keep this letter short because I have an
appointment. Nothing serious - don't worry. It's good news.
It's actually a check up. Michael, I'm so happy. I wish I
could tell you this over the phone, or in person, but this is
the best I've got at the moment. I'm pregnant.
I'll see you when you get back - so start thinking of names!
I love you so much and always will,