Calamities of War

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: War and Military  |  House: Booksie Classic
Read please don't want to spoil the story.

Submitted: August 02, 2011

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Submitted: August 02, 2011

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July 13th, 2004. Afghanistan. 0100pm. PFC R. Alderny. 101st airborne: 506 regiment. B Company

I don’t remember when I was deployed here, a lot has happened sense I was. I never understood what it meant to be a true soldier and I probably never will…

When I get letters from home, my folks always ask me if I am ok and if anything has happened to me. I tell them not to worry about me; I have friends that have my back. I tell them that nothing traumatic has happened to me…but that’s not true at all. It was supposed to only take a few minutes, but it turned into a gruesome firefight.

July 9th, 2004. Afghanistan. 0200Am. PFC R. Alderny. US Army. 101st airborne: 506 regiment. B Company. Operation Mountain Avalanche

The Company commander told us to find a man who might have known where Osama Bin Laden was hiding. He was in a building that used to be an old fish market. “This is Operation Mountain Avalanche. This whole operation, if accomplished, will be the turning point of this war and could be our ticket home. Slow and easy guys, I don’t want any casualties, Hooah?” He told us. “Hooah!” we yelled.

 He put us into squads, Raptor-Actual, Rainbow bright, and Tallahassee 9ner. I was in Rainbow bright, a four man squad led by Sgt. Willington. “Alright guys,” Sarge debriefed us. “We’re going to stay back and cover Raptor and Tallahassee if things get too hot. Our code name is Shavo.” 

30 mikes later, we received a distress call. “Rainbow Bright, This is Raptor-Actual, do you copy?”

“This is Rainbow Bright, over”

“Rainbow Bright, We are pinned down by a sniper, uh, north of your position. Do you have a visual, over?”

“Raptor-Actual, this is Rainbow Bright. We do not have a visual over.”

“…Rainbow Bright you will find the sniper, we think his position is the old water tower, over”

“Rodger that.”

Sarge sighed and brushed his fingers through his hair. He turned and looked at all of us. “Get your gear, we’re moving out.” He told us. The squad was in silence. I guess we couldn’t believe what he was saying. “Raptor-Actual is pinned down by a sniper and can’t move.” We were still silence. I raised my hand. Sarge called on me. “Uh, do they know exactly where the sniper is?” Sarge hesitated. “That’s what we’re for.”  He turned around and grabbed his rifle. Sarge looked at us in the corner of his eye. “Let’s move out.”

July 9th, 2004. Afghanistan. 0400Am. PFC R. Alderny. US Army. 101st airborne: 506 regiment. B Company. Operation Mountain Avalanche. Rainbow Bright squad.

“Hey, Alderny.” PFC Farewell nudged at my shoulder to get my attention. “Hey, Alderny” he nudged at my shoulder again. “Jesus man, what?” He wrapped his arm around me. “Dude doesn’t this all seem a bit odd?” I looked at him, like I didn’t understand which I didn’t. “Us walking to help another squad out while they’re pinned down? This is exactly what happened in Gothic Serpent, man.”

“How would you know that? You weren’t even enlisted when that happened! Hell, you didn’t even graduate from high school yet.”

“Hear me out, will you? Can’t you see, man? We are waltzing straight into a trap!” I walked away from him. Farewell didn’t even pass social studies, why should I have listen to him?

Sarge told us to stop for a minute. “Ramirez, Come here.” (Specialist Ramirez, the squad radioman.) “Radio in Raptor-Actual.” “Yes sir,” he replied.  “Raptor-Actual, this is Rainbow Bright, do you copy?” Silence. “Raptor-Actual do you copy?” Silence. “I can’t get them Sargent.” Sarge snatched the radio out of his hand “Raptor-Actual, this is Rainbow Bright, Do-You-Copy?” He threw it to the ground. “Damn it!” he yelled. He looked at the radio he threw to the ground. “Ramirez picked that up, will ya?” We all chuckled. “Right. Let’s move out.”

We don’t know what happened to Raptor-Actual, but we were bound to find out.

July 9th, 2004. Afghanistan. 0457Am. PFC R. Alderny. US Army. 101st airborne: 506 regiment. B Company. Operation Mountain Avalanche. Rainbow Bright squad.

We found Raptor-Actual, or what was left of them. “Damn…” Sarge said in disgust. He took his helmet off and pressed it on his chest. He knelled down on one leg. He put his helmet back on and turned his head towards us. “If you want extra ammo, now’s the time…” I walked towards a man lying on the ground. I turned his body over to get what ammo he had left. When I turned him over, I wanted to throw up. Flies where crawling through his nose and out of his mouth. It was a disgusting site. “Alright guys,” Sarge said abruptly, “Our new mission is to hook back up with Tallahassee 9ner, if they’re still out there. Watch your corners, we’re not alone out here.” He turned to Ramirez. Ramirez smirked and said “Yes sir.” He grabbed his radio off his shoulder “Tallahassee 9ner, this is Rainbow Bright do you copy?” Silence. “Oh god...So we’re alone out here?” I exclaimed. The squad looked at me, like they saw the fear right in me. “So what do we do now Sir?” Ramirez asked. Sarge looked back at Ramirez. “Radio Tallahassee 9ner in once more, if they don’t, radio in HQ and see if they can get us out of here.”

“Aye sir.” Ramirez responded.

“Good, let’s sit here for a while; this is as close to R&R that you’re going to get.”

July 9th, 2004. Afghanistan. 0501Am. PFC R. Alderny. US Army. 101st airborne: 506 regiment. B Company. Operation Mountain Avalanche. Rainbow Bright squad.

---ainbow Bright do you---opy?” Ramirez jumped up and yelled “Sir, Its Tallahassee 9ner!” Sarge snatched the radio out of Ramirez’s hand. “This is Rainbow Bright, what’s your status, over?”

“It’s terrible---they’re every—ere! We can’t move! We have lots of men wounded including myself, over!”

“Where are you positioned?” Sarge asked. “Dammit--- We are positioned at the town cemetery! We are in dire need of reinforcements!” Sarge hesitated; he looked at all of us. “Roger that, we are Oscar-mikes to your position. Rainbow Bright out.” He handed the radio back to Ramirez. “We’re moving out,” Sarge said abruptly. “Where are we going, Sarge?” Farewell asked. “We are going to assist Tallahassee 9ner at the town cemetery.”

 

July 9th, 2004. Afghanistan. 0539Am. PFC R. Alderny. US Army. 101st airborne: 506 regiment. B Company. Operation Mountain Avalanche. Rainbow Bright squad.

 

After a half an hour walk, we reached the town Cemetery, and Tallahassee 9ner. Now, we were combat in effect. “Ramirez, Radio T9ner” “Yes sir,” Ramirez radioed T9ner. “Tallahassee 9ner, this is Rainbow Bright, over.”

“Tallahassee 9ner here, over.”

“We are across from your position requesting covering fire from the east, over.”

“Roger that.”

I took a deep breath, I was as nervous as hell. I had never gone into combat before. As never did anyone else in the squad. “Get ready, boys. Check your gear. On 3, we make a mad dash to T9ner, Hooah?” “Hooah…” we said quietly.

We were all nervous. Bullets flew in the air hitting the ground around us. RPG shots hit the ground, making the dirt and pieces of road fly in the air. The Sargent counted down. “One…Two…Three!”

We ran, into hell, itself.

Time seemed to slow down for me. All I could hear was my racing heart, and my panting breath. A barrage of bullets landed at our feet. It was an adrenaline rush, a type of fear I have never felt before. It felt like an eternity until we reached the cemetery. I quickly dove for cover. I saw something in the corner of my eye; I couldn’t make out what it was. I turned my head to the direction of the street we ran through. It was Farewell on the ground holding his knee screaming in pain. He was hit while we were running. “Dammit I’m hit!” he yelled. We couldn’t reach him, the Taliban were raining heavy fire on us. “Hold on Jeremy!” I yelled back. “RPG!” Sarge yelled abruptly. We all ducked for cover. When I looked up, my heart dropped. Where the Rocket shot landed, was where Farewell was laying. “Jeremy!” I yelled in agony of losing such a close friend. Sadness filled up inside me, and I started to cry. “Get up Private! Save your crying for later! He did his part in this war, now do yours!” Sarge pulled me up from the tombstone I was using for cover.  What he said to me, I will never forget. The sadness had swept away in my body. I never felt the pain of losing a friend, and I’d be damned if I lost anyone else. “Aim your weapon, Alderny!” I held up my rifle and looked down the iron sight. I pulled the trigger. “That’s it! Keep shooting!” Sarge yelled. Suddenly, Sarge hit the ground.

“Man down!” I yelled. The medic came running. He dove to the ground and crawled in prone towards me. “Where’s he hit?” he asked. “I’m not sure.” He took his helmet off and put his fingers on his neck. “He has no pulse. He’s dead.” That was another death in my squad.

“Shit, we need to pull back.” Lt. McGrath exclaimed. He’s Squad leader of T9ner. “We are outmanned and out gunned.”

“Why don’t we call in air support?” I suggested.

Lt. McGrath looked at me. “That would be nice, but we can’t. This whole operation was only supposed to take a few minutes, but it turned into a huge shit-storm. So to put it short, we can’t” Trapped and loosing men, luck wasn’t on our side, but we kept fighting. Ramirez radioed in base camp to see if they would send reinforcements. “Acknowledged, for now hold your position for as long as you can.”

Thirty mikes.

We’ve lost at least 4 men. We had enough ammo to last a few more hours.

Sixty mikes.

Low ammo, lots wounded. We weren’t sure how long we would hold out, but we were determined that reinforcements would arrive to help us.

Ninety mikes.

Everyone died, except me. I was the only one left out of the 3 squads. Reinforcements never came.  It was suicide to stay, so I ran. I didn’t know where I was running to, I just ran and ran. 

 

 

July 9th, 2004. Afghanistan. 0700Am. PFC R. Alderny. US Army. 101st airborne: 506 regiment. B Company.

I didn’t know how long I was running or where I was. After walking a few more hours, I came across a US army deployment. They were really surprised to see me. Some said I had the Thousand Mile Stare, something you only get when you’ve seen “beyond”. They asked how I survived. I told them I didn’t know myself.

July 13th, 2004. Afghanistan. 0100pm. PFC R. Alderny. 101st airborne: 506 regiment. B Company

  War. You will never understand unless you’ve seen or been in it. I lost a friend that day, and in a way no one will ever understand. It doesn’t matter if you played Call of Duty for days on end, no one will ever understand war. It isn’t a game and shouldn’t be treated as one.

The Calamities of war takes a toll on everyone. It’s going to be tough to break the news to Farewells parents. Sometimes I wonder why I even enlisted for. For our country? Why the hell are we even here for? If there’s a way to end this war, this isn’t this way.

What does it mean to be a true soldier?

We all fight for an answer to that…


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