Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Just keep smiling

So June 29, 2005 was kind of a bad day. I remember the day pretty vividly, I was on ECP 1 in Fallujah, Iraq. I was at the furthest post west on the control point. It was on the side of the city. I saw everyone coming out of the city. We were standing 6 hour posts and it was hotter than two mice wrestling in a wool sock. Or hotter than a shower scene with my two favorite women in it, that being Sara Evans and Patty Loveless :) Anyway we had just gotten relieved and were going into our hooch which was even hotter because yours truly thought it was a good idea to mess with the AC and I blew the circuit. Yea that scored me some points on the friend list. Well just as soon as we get there I get told I'm going on a patrol. Sweet. Anyway I walk over to the COC to get the order from my squad leader and as soon as I step inside the building there was this enormous boom. I mean this son of bitch was loud. It knocked the computer off the desk, knocked stuff off the walls you name it, it did it. Well we immediately go to the trucks and mount up because the guy who replaced me says there was an explosion like 300 meters away. That's three football fields. Well we start heading towards the blast to be passed by a convoy screaming "Get Some!!!" and "Ooohrah!" all sorts of the moto shit you hear from POG's. We head towards the scene and dismount. There is a seven ton truck on its side and burning. We set up security along with another group and begin to assess the situation. There were Marines everywhere. There were Marines walking around in a daze and screaming. I saw an ear on the ground with a headphone melted to it. However, I was relaxed. Actually a little annoyed because it was getting dark and I needed to workout or i was going to go crazy. I watched my friend get somebody on a stretcher and I went to help him. Then all of the sudden a hand grabs me and says "help me" so i walked this Marine to the side and sit this person down. This Marine was covered in blood and dirt and charred stuff. Well I was smiling I guess... I don't remember really smiling. All I remember is not thinking much about this. Well after we got everything turned over to whoever we went back to the ECP and to the COC to discuss what had happened and to see if we still needed to patrol. Well I noticed we had a plethora of female Marines in our building. This is strange for many reasons, 1) there are only a couple that are there and they are only there for a few hours during the day, and 2) there were many. Well it didn't occur to me until my squad leader comes up and says, " the truck had all the WM's on it..." Still nothing. Even right now I don't feel anything usually I will breakdown and tear up a bit. Well I just remember seeing this young Marine squatting in a corner grasping her rifle and rocking back and forth. She was muttering something i couldn't make out. I removed the magazine from her weapon as she looked at me and said, " condition 3." I replied with a simple grunt. Well I didn't quite understand what she was saying until I walked off. She was saying, " he was smiling." That floored me. He got so close they could see what he was doing...

Well not even a year later I was at the Scout Sniper Basic course in San Diego. I had damn good weekend! I met up with some friends and went around SD and enjoyed being away. I met up with a smokin hot teacher from Palm Springs and her friends who weren't very friendly. Well i went back to Camp Pendleton and strolled over to the PX to get some stuff for the week when I was stopped by a girl. She had some scars on her face. She asked me if I had ever been to Fallujah. I answered her with a yes. She asked me about the day the convoy got hit outside of the ECP and I laughed and said yes. She was like "you helped me", I was speechless. I asked her if she was the one I took the magazine from she said no. She said, " I walked up to you, you were smiling. I can't forget that smile. You helped me..." I was floored. I started talking to her about that day a little bit. i asked her about coming home and how she was doing. Her and her husband were getting ready to leave because she was getting out. She asked me about everything and i told her. She never asked my name nor did I for hers.

I keep having the dream of her walking up to me. Except she isn't hurt. She just keeps telling me to smile. She tells me that everything will be ok. Just keep smiling and everything will be ok. It's weird. She isn't covered in blood and burnt shit. It's smokey and smelly. The smell of charred flesh never leaves you. Its a sour nasty smell.

I have been in some tight situations, both in the military and out. I went through Fallujah in 2004 and returned in 2005. I went back to Iraq in 2006 and worked with a lot of units that were constantly duking it out. None of those situations really ever get to me. June 29, 2005 will always be a day that I remember. I will always have that dream, I honestly don't ever want it to stop. It brings peace to me. I used to not be able to sleep until I heard the screams from Fallujah. The screams of the families who had lost sons and husbands and brothers. They would scream because the would go outside. They went outside because they new it was safe. If it was safe for them, it was safe for us.

I have found that I am an emotional being, I don't like to feel numb. I didn't want to think about these things because it invokes emotions I'm not wanting. I don't want to feel vulnerable, I don't want people to know that I am able to hurt. Who does? I have found over many "vision quests" that if I don't feel these things I can't feel the good. I can't feel the warmth of another, I can't feel the love for my fellow being. For me it starts with smiling. I love to smile. I love to laugh. I love to make others smile and laugh. I like having others around. Often times I think others think I do this for them. Well yes I do first and foremost, but in reality I do it for me too.

So just keep smiling it will be ok.

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