Army Poncho Essay

I just wanted to be back behind the armor of the Humvee. I’m the outsider, but they don’t know that deaths like Gardner’s overwhelm me for days, months, sometimes years. It doesn’t matter if I didn’t know the person or didn’t even have much contact with him: just being there when it happened is enough.Another engineer was shouting at him, “Get off the sidewalk.” They were frightened of bombs buried beneath it. The gunner made the only sound, a ratchet-click of the spinning turret, while he searched for the man who triggered the bomb. With Gardner, though, I ended up being the guy who engaged him in his last conversation. A few hours later, I was having lunch at the huge chow hall on Camp Liberty.

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Minutes later, I understood: two soldiers sat behind the desk, one of them manning the telephone and the other the computer.

JSSs were popping up everywhere as part of President Bush’s so-called troop surge, which aims to stabilize the capital. Most people forget that the major part of war is tedium, fending off the oppressive boredom between life-threatening moments.

For hours each day, I walked from the roof to the parking lot and back, trying, without luck, to find a photograph, any photograph.

But the minute we rolled up to the street, a few engineers exited the heavily armored vehicles and started directing their bulldozers.

Some of the infantry guys watched the scene in disbelief; others were livid.


Comments Army Poncho Essay

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