Friday, July 27, 2007

When bad things happen

I hate my job. Many people doing many jobs can say they hate their jobs, but I truly hate my job. I sit behind a desk and wait for something bad to happen to my friends, to my brothers. I hear an alert that tells me one of the guys on the road wants to talk to me. Each time I pull up a message I pray it is not bad news; sometimes, like last night, it is. All the information, intelligence and planning in the world sometimes is not enough when these guys are on the road doing what they do. That hurts more than I can say.

I know the guys on the guns will never understand how much I care for them. I know my dedication and envy of them will mostly go unnoticed. There are only a handful of men that I know understand. My friends and co-workers, Eric and Danny are the only guys I know that get it. We express over and over how hard it is to sit back and wait for something bad to happen and not be able to do anything to prevent it. Every time the alert comes, we are hopeful it isn't bad news. When bad news does come, when one of our fellow soldiers, our friends is hurt, we leap into action. We do what we must do to handle the situation as best we can. We can't "freak out", we can't pause and reflect and we can't engage our enemy with gunfire to express our frustrations. We are forced to choke it aside, bottle it up and continue the mission.

My friend, Danny, expressed it best. He said we do let it out, we do release it, but it is often at inappropriate moments. I think back to times when I cry for no reason or get extremely angry when times don't justify it. I don't believe I want to hurt anyone, but I hurt inside; inside my head and in my heart. As a soldier we are trained to be hard targets, to always look strong, act strong, be strong. Hell, even the Army motto is Army Strong.

I often find it impossible to talk about my inside because no one understands why I hurt when my friends are the ones getting banged up and all I do is sit in an air conditioned office and "play on a computer". I have it "so easy" I often hear. "You're not the one getting shot at and blown up. Why are you complaining?" None of the guys on the guns understand what it is like to hear of the death and destruction of my brothers, over and over while I sit in my air conditioned office and play on a computer. None of them know how helpless I feel as a soldier, as a brother, when I sit in my office and do my job while they are under fire or gathering up what's left of their trucks that were just blown up. None of them realize that I am getting shot at and blown up beside them, beside them all.

I hurt and I get infuriated and I want to get out there, yet I swallow it down and type away at a stupid computer. The truth of the matter is an uneasy fact for me, as my friend also pointed out. Danny asked, "Well, hell, if I do get out there will I be helping or hurting them? For me to be out there means I am taking an experienced set of eyes off the road." He is right in a way. As much as I want to believe I would be able to go out there and shoot up all the bad guys and protect my brothers, the truth is I wouldn't.

I have asked my boss on several occasions recently to go out. Since the loss of Sergeant Massey, I have wanted to go on the road and kill bad guys. Eric refused to let me go out, then he went; the bastard. He was concerned because I am going on vacation in a couple days and he didn't want anything to prevent me from going home to see my family. It is just so hard to accept bad things happening to my brothers while I sit back and play on a computer.