The World of The Gunny

The Wasted World of Gunnery Sergeant DeShane
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 Post subject: War Wounds: A Warriors Occupational Hazard
PostPosted: 18 Oct 2008 18:02 
Warrant Officer 1
Warrant Officer 1
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Joined: 25 May 2005 15:34
Posts: 984
Location: In the Stan
NOTE: Well Thorgrimm, you asked for it and here it is... I know I have been dragging ass on my Account in the land of the Middle East, but I am sure this account will do nice... So here it is...

To whom it may concern,

As you know, well the majority of you know (thanks dad for putting the word out), I, and four others in my unit were waylaid by an IED (improvised Explosive Device)... These such devices are usually left to the imagination of the enemy... in our case it was a two litre bottle filled with home made explosives and ball beerings, plus it had shrapnel (shards of glass, metal, wood etc) to use as secondary missles. In short, hadji don't play nice. To start off, the day this all occurred was on the 15th of October (our pay day). I was tasked with my Sergeant, SSG Jones to group with our second platoon element to get back to the Barracks, since our main mission (believe it or not) was to move stuff from our old barracks to a new locale. Basically me being with Second Platoon was share luck. Early in the morning I was ready for the next job, full kit on, rifle in hand, sipping on some gatorade and just waiting. What would follow next was a thunderous explosion and gunfire. When that happens all the alarm bells go off. I was told get ready we got a mission. As any soldier, I am ready for it. After all, we are in Baghdad and on our last hundred days, we knew full well the enemy would fight us tooth and nail to take back this area which at one time made Sadr City look like Disney land.

So we rolled out, reached the scene. I of course, being the lowest enlisted on the ground, everyone above me was either a sergeant or Staff Sergeant. The first explosion had been a rigged mortar... something the enemy is very famous for putting together. After some thought, we later learned disgruntled elements of the Suns of iraq (a make shift and friendly militia group) may have done this to spark tension with thier rival counter parts the National Police. To make a long story short, I helped round up suspects, separate them and keep an eye on them. After all, you just can't take your eyes off guys when a bomb goes off. After some debate and about ten minutes go by, our Interpret, a big fella by the name of Oliver started to push me away from the scene. A second later, theres dust everywhere and a thunderclap brings me to my knees and Oliver to the ground. Though most of my memories from this aren't so clear I do remember having fogged up vision for a while and when my vision focused, I noticed my right arm of my uniform had holes in it, like around the forearm and near the elbow, and than that trademark red began to form. First thoughts in my mind were, "Don't look now, but I don't think that looks good."

I remember Oliver crying out he couldn't walk or stand up. I looked to him and saw his face was cut up and his leg was nearly in tatters. I would later learn his leg was saved...

I stood up, looking for my weapon when Sergeant Allen, one of those caught in the blast handed me back my M4 and asked if I was alright.

I must have said something because he gave me a pat on the shoulder and told me to hurry out of here if I could under my own power. I remember feeling the side of my head and seeing blood on my finger tips... Yup, this wasn't a good day... but I held on... I promised myself I wouldn't go into shock. There was after all the hail of gunfire, and I followed it... Might be some bad men to lay low... that was the motivation. Had to stay in the fight... and then I paused, and for a moment I was back at our first fire fight where I was holding that dying boy whose name is now lost to me. The boy who was brave despite his neck being torn and a bullet in his belly. Why I thought of him, i can't say... I hadn't thought of him in months. When the memory faded, I marched on as much as I could. Mind you, my arm didn't throb... not yet. it was a fresh wound and I must have been pumping with adrenaline. When i reached outside, who would be there but SSG Platt... oddly enough a deja vu moment had helped me to cover like he did back at JRTC when I slashed my shin. When I got there another soldier, a Massachusettes resident by the name of Clubine kept me down and made sure I didn't run off to find SSG Jones, whom had now come to mind and I had began to shout for him thinking I left him behind... Thinking back now, I know I didn't leave him behind, but it felt like it. After I got stabilized... we rushed to the Green Zone Hospital... every soldier acting on pure instinct and their training. You couldn't be more proud of your men when you see them act smoothly like that.

I remember the driver making sure I was conscious the whole time, asking me how I was or about my family... He kept me awake, away from the easy embrace of shock.

When we reached the cache, I was stripped off my body armor and moved to the EM ward. I was lucky..,. Oliver had absorbed most of the blast that would have probably cut my face and legs to ribbons... The docs worked on me, and I suppose in my way of dealing with it gave a few jokes and just stayed with it... Its a thing to look at that hole in my elbow... It didn't run despite there being a nice jagged piece of metal in it... I was lucky. No tendons severed beyond repair and no vessels punctured. I was lucky. Some shrapnel in my arm had to be left... In time the body will shed it... but its one of those things you live with. I suppose no Infantryman doesn't go through a war unscaved. Some get the mental and physical of it... I have gotten both. But it didn't make me fearful of my choice to be in the military or to even extend... if anything it made it clear that I was where I have to be. Some of you will probably shake your head and say I am probably suffering some concussion. This isn't vengeance or pay back I speak of. It means that we're hurting those bad guys out here and they don't know how to react or feel. So I suppose in one form we are winning. at least for our sector. And like I told the chaplain and the docs, "I got a few more fights in me". And I do. I will heal and I will continue to march on... This is war and getting wounded is an Occupational Hazard. Or at least that is how I rationalize it. I have survived and I will march on. A lot has changed in me... and will continue to change... as you see more and look deeper, you can see there is a lot to be done. I will rest, I will heal and I will take my meds.

Some will ask if this stuff will haunt me. So far, I haven't seen the Boy again or had a re-occurring dreams of it. Will it come at me later, perhaps. Only time will tell.

Its a fact of war... Now, I am apart of those many soldiers who took one for the team... Word has it, me and those who got wounded will be receiving purple hearts... For men like SGT Allen and SSG Jones, this isn't a first time.

SSG Jones has been in the military for 18 years and hopes to retire in the next two. He's a native man of Tennesse, and has that classic Southern Accent, but he is by far one of the finest soldiers I have served along and a great leader. He was also a Marine once... so his wealth of knowledge is invaluable. He took bits of shrapnel to left arm, leg and some trauma to the head.

SGT Allen is our resident Sniper and Ranger, a hardened veteran of Afghanistan and Iraq, and being shot at and blown up isn't a first time thing...

SSG Guenther is also our resident Ranger... He's been in a minute and suffered some trauma to the head since he has was the closests to the blast.

Oliver the Terp is an Iraqi resident who volunteered to help US forces root out Iraq Insurgents, having seen the terror they bring upon his family and people. He survived and all limps intact, though he will be off his left for a bit.

And that's my story and I am sticking to it...

Like I said, this is war... and getting hurt is one of those occupational hazards.

Well that's a rap...

SPC Rama Toulon


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