I’m OP-4. I have been given an M240 belt-fed machine gun that will fire 600-800 7.62mm rounds per minute. I have over
1000 rounds next to me in boxes that I have readied for easy loading. Next to that is an M16A2 converted from an A1, serial number 2282028, stock number 23. My goal is easy: kill
everyone not wearing a turban.
I have been positioned by my superiors on a balcony just outside a set of metal double doors, about fifteen feet off of the
ground. In front of me, leaning against the steel pole railing, is an old door that will give me concealment, if not much cover. Intel says that there will be four different platoons
making their way through the city, all of them looking for the helicopter pilot we took hostage yesterday. I have a clear view of the main street running through town, but I don’t think that
the incoming platoons will be stupid enough to come right up the middle. No, I think that it’s much more likely that they will try to flank us, either on the left side as you come into the
city, my side, or on the right side, which is mostly unprotected. We only have so many big guns to defend our city and I qualified as a Sharpshooter, so the M240 is mine.
I see my superior officer point to the head of the street and twirl his finger in the air. Lock and load.
I check to make sure that the machine gun is not on safe and draw a bead on the place where I think the first platoon will try to
flank our headquarters. I’ve got to give them some credit. They’re so quiet that I don’t hear them before I see them. There are a couple of townspeople wandering the streets and I’m
grateful. They will take the attention off of me until I start firing. After that, the chow-chow-chow of the machine gun will draw plenty of fire to me. I see the team leader for
the first squad peek his head around the corner, just where I thought he would be. They’re trying to flank the building, but it’s their bad luck that they chose my side. I don’t shoot the
lead man; that would send the others back under cover. I wait until the entire squad has exposed themselves. They have to cover about 30 meters, plenty of room for me to kill them all
before they can get past. As soon as the last man is 5 meters from cover, I open up the M240 on them. I know that they are all wearing interceptive body armor that will stop a 5.56mm M16
round, but I’m not using 5.56mm rounds. I’m using 7.62mm rounds, the same as an AK-47. The body armor is rendered useless with this size projectile. I kill five of the seven members
of the first squad. The other two break for cover, leaving their battle buddies to die. One goes back to the cover they came from, but one of them makes it across the expanse of sand to
the base of the building, where I can’t see him.He has a few surprises in store for him if he decides to try to make it through headquarters to me.
When the other platoons send their men in, they all come the same way. Some are smart and split their forces in two, one attacking
from each flank. Others are not as tactically sound. I don’t keep a precise count of how many I kill, but the number is in the twenties. As for me, I get killed all four
times. Each platoon manages to break through the resistance and kill me before reaching the hostage pilot.
It’s only a training exercise, but it feels real to us. The Drill Sergeants tell me to kill any and all soldiers that I see
and I follow orders. When the exercise is over, I come down from my perch to see my battle buddies that I have lived, bled, and cried with for the past nine weeks. They look at the robe I
am wearing and the turban that I have wrapped around my head and begin to laugh.
“I killed you,” one of them says and points at me.
I smile, but I’m thinking of a time when the bullets in the M240 won’t be blanks. A time when the chow-chow-chow of
the machine gun will mean real injuries and death. A time when we’re not just playing war, but living it.
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