2nd God and Country

For God and country, and the Corps…

With these justifications in mind, I wipe the sweat off my brow and once again set the crosshairs of my targeting laser. Here kitty-kitty, time to die. One more enemy barracks doomed by my hand.

The squelch of my radio lets me know the target has been acquired. Death is coming, The grim reaper is coming to play. He is coming in hot, riding on the vapour trails of an F-117.

My heart must be stone. The jet passes overhead. I dampen my emotions, keeping the targeting laser steady. I was trained for this. I am the finger of a wrathful god. With the touch of a laser, I set into motion the deaths of 40 men. My hands must not shake. My aim must be true. Semper Fi, time to bring the pain.

The desert explodes with blood and fire. The AGM-84E Slam missile turns yet another building into a smoking ruin. Semper Fi bro, just another day in the corps.

We gather our gear and move on to our next designated observation spot. No one sees us pass, we are one with the terrain. For 45 days we have been lurking behind enemy lines and they have yet to find a trace of us.

Business as usual in the Marine Corps. Nothing to see here. Best not get our attention. Uncle Sam is a spiteful creature and we, his USMC Force Recon forward observers, stalk this desert to express his displeasure with wrath and fire.

I never knew it all would come to this. It started so innocently. So much death…

Staff Sergent Gooch, my recruiter, has taken me to see the Marine Corps rifle drill team. Damn, I am so impressed. This is what a Marine is to me. Dress blues, flashing medals, marching with perfect precision. Rifles, with bayonets attached, fly through the air, and are caught with nary a flinch.

The desire to be one of the few, the proud, fills me with dreams for the future. Dress blues will look so good on me, so sharp, I will do my country proud. I want to belong to something bigger than me; I want to serve.

My recruiter comes to my house two weeks later and drives me to a base close to home. This trip we get to fire M-16’s on the firing range! I am elated as we are all given a training course on how to operate this new toy.

Hell yes! The time has come, 20 rounds tear down range at my target. Every bullet hits center mass. I have never fired a rifle before, the Sergent in charge of the firing line praises me as a natural.

Enlisting was inevitable, I was not deterred by my parents’ disapproval. Sign here, in black ink, signed in triplicate, this set the future in motion.

Off to Paris Island, land of the sand flea and alligators. This is boot camp. 15 weeks of blood sweat and tears. We entered as boys; we left as Marines. 80 recruits started, only 44 graduated. We stood proud on that day; unaware a storm was coming.

Home on leave for the 4th of July, carrying the American flag in the town parade. I was so damned proud of my dress blues and honored to carry my country’s colors. The day passes in a blur, I will never see another day such as this.

 

I hate this desert.

 

Sand, so much damned sand, it permeates my every pore. God I need a shower, but water is for survival out here. Oorah, suck it up, showers are for the weak.

We have arrived at our new observation post. The Awacs plane, the eye in the sky, is tracking enemy maneuvers. All we have to do is wait and they will find us new targets. Hurry up and wait, that is the true credo of the USMC. FUBAR bro, FUBAR.

Another night wasted trying to sleep in the desert, it’s so damned cold at night. Not as cold as my heart has become but close. I have become the bringer of death; my eyes have seen so much death. When I close my eyes, all I can see is blood and thunder.

How many targets have I held the laser steady on now? How many men have died? I want to go home and forget it all. Today, I don’t want to be a Marine anymore. For God and country. I wonder, don’t the enemy have a god and country too?

They say everyone has a bullet out there with their name on it.

I lase another target. Bringing death from above once again.

I wonder if today is the day my bullet will finally find me.

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