In the 9 years our army has been at war, I’ve been incredibly lucky. I’ve known people who have been killed but it hasn’t been one of mine. My husband has lost soldiers, my soldiers have lost friends and spouses but my soldiers and my friends have been spared. Even the shootings at Fort Hood, where my home was violated by that son of a bitch, felt strangely detached because I wasn’t there.
Monday, a good friend of mine collapsed and was sent to the CSH. I’d just been reading the brigade newsletter, looking over the faces of the men and women we lost this year and my husband called to tell me about our mutual friend. The grief was instant and overwhelming and we knew nothing other than he was in the CSH.
Thank God he’s fine. But I was reading the Stars and Stripes tonight and I just found out one of my former troops died in Afghanistan this week. I remember this soldier and the team we were part of like I’d just seen him yesterday. The night we’d stayed up in the Node Center and he’d sworn there was a DC power cable to the management shelter (there wasn’t). The night we sent him looking for chem. Light batteries. Or the day of September 11 when we couldn’t find him and he’d just bought civilian cloths the day prior and we’d all thought he was part of whatever was going on.
He was a crazy kid who’d wanted nothing more than to be a combat arms soldier but instead he was a signal soldier. Looks like he got his wish and made it to the infantry. He never owned any civies until a year after he’d been in the regular army. He’d sit in his room and write music, content to just be on his own. There was the time he put a CD in the node center’s work station and crashed the whole system. I smoked the living shit out of him that day.
It’s weird because these are the things I remember about my team that Dale was a part of. He was a good kid and a good sport and God did we laugh back then. My node center wasn’t the best or the fastest but we were close knit. We’ve all gone out separate ways since then but I remember my PL then.
The war hit home today and even though it’s been half a decade or more since I’ve seen any of my old team, I remember them well. And Dale’s death has hit me harder than I thought the loss of a soldier I haven’t seen in years would.
This fucking sucks. I hate the war. I hate this place. I want everyone to come home. And I’m tired of reading the names in the bottom of a newspaper somewhere knowing that somewhere, someone is mourning.
Tonight, that someone is me.