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1/25/2018 7:38:29 AM
Posted: 12/26/2005 8:49:11 AM EST
By Corporal Lawrence, C.

Well, I am still here in Iraq, and with regards to this war, I can say I have seen and done some amazing things.

I've seen both cowards and heroes both young and old.

Been both confident and terrified, both at the same time.

I've grown to love and hate people with a fierce passion.

I've given food to the starving, and water to the thirsty.

I've seen the pain and uncertainty in a man, woman, and child's face right before they died.

I've seen the terror in a man's face when my weapon was pointed at his head.

I've looked a man in the eyes right before I put a sandbag over his head.

I've tasted the burn of OC/pepper spray as I sprayed a man in the face.

I've learned Arabic from a 12 year old girl who was my friend.

I've waved hello back at so many passing cars, I felt like I was famous.

I've been on TV 4 times, then watched the media tell lies about us.

I've been in 3 papers, and was amazed at the inaccuracy of my story.

I've seen dozens of marriages fall apart on both ends.

I've seen Iraqis cry, they were so happy that we were here.

I've had Iraqis swear me up and down because I had to search them.

I've heard the launch of mortar rounds as they left the tube.

I've seen those same mortar rounds blow up around me and my friends.

I had a friend show me pictures of his kids, and get killed the very next day.

I've heard the pop-pop-pop of gunfire, and then the ping-ping-ping as it hit around me.

I've seen people afraid to pull the trigger, and not kill...and I've seen people kill when they shouldn't have pulled the trigger.

I've seen men in the cross hairs of the scope mounted on my rifle and.

I've pulled the trigger so they will never ever be seen again.

I've laid countless hours on my cot trying to sleep but couldn't, because the helicopters were to loud, explosions were to close, their was to much gunfire.

I've taken prisoners, guarded prisoners, and released prisoners.

I've lost weight because my stomach couldn't handle the food here.

I've knocked on people's doors, kicked down people's doors, and almost shot off someone's door.

I've sat on a rooftop for 53 days straight looking for bad guys, and learned what patience really is.

I've lost all sense of privacy, but grew closer than a brother with my squad and platoon.

I've cleaned my weapon more than I have cleaned my clothes, because it was more important.

I've learned to appreciate all the things I once took for granted.

I've never worked so hard and got paid so little in my life, but even still worked harder.

I've watched videos of Nick Berg getting his head sawed off his body while he screamed, and never wanted to kill so bad in my life.

I remember when a young kid that called us "sadiq-i" (friend) brought us food each day at a checkpoint, and remember when a suicide bomber killed him and 18 other people days later.

I remember a crazy lady telling me lies to waste my time for no reason.

I remember a pretty girl secretly waving hello to me so nobody would see, fearing ridicule.

I remember the screams of people when a restaurant exploded with innocent people inside.

I'll never forget the smell of burning flesh for as long as I live...ever.

I've seen Iraqi people fight alongside us one minute, then fight against us the next.

I've captured dozens of weapons, some of which were gold plated.

I've been in a car accident that would've killed me if I wasn't riding in an armored hummer.

I've smiled and scowled, laughed and yelled at different crowds of people.

I've seen a 13 year old prostitute bring money home to her father to live.

I've smelled the crisp air of a new morning, and the soot and stench of cordite the next morning.

I've been so hot, that I stopped sweating and my body started to shut down.

I've been so tired and worn out, but still couldn't sleep for days at a time.

I've seen people accidentally shoot their weapons and almost kill people, and I've seen people intentionally shoot their weapons and kill people.

I've never counted or carried so much ammunition in my life, and I've been around the world more than once or twice with the military.

I've sat back and enjoyed an ice cold Coke, and other times I've called on the radio begging for a resupply of water and food because we were starving literally.

I've seen guys "baby" their weapons, and I've seen guys treat them like hell, fully knowing it was the only thing that might save their lives.

I've said "I hate here" a thousand times, and heard it said a million more times.

I've seen a platoon leader curl up in the fetal position out of terror during a firefight, and a private in that same platoon fight like a savage for his life.

I've seen a medic choke-up and not be able to do his job, and an infantryman next to him bandage up a wounded child.

I've had kids throw rocks at me because I didn't have any chocolate candy to give them.

I almost shot a 14 year old kid that pulled a gun on another kid, the toys look very real here.

I've seen kids play in a virtual minefield of explosives and ordinance like they were at Disneyland.

I've heard shots fired and hit the ground, ducked, jumped behind cover, and flat out ignored them I've seen "new guys" in units come here so scared they point their guns at everything they see.

I've been on missions so long, that I've come back to my FOB (base camp) with a full beard.

I've sat up late at night waiting for a friend to come back from a patrol that got hit, like a parent waits for their child who's been out all night.

I've made best of friends with a 17 year old kid, and a 47 year old man, and talked to both like we were old high school buddies.

I've cleaned my friend's blood off of his equipment, and turned it in because he was killed in an explosion hours before.

I've seen enough different people's body parts, that I could put them all together and make a completely new body with them.

I've laughed and joked with Australian soldiers, had conversations with British soldiers, and drank chi (tea) with Arab soldiers.

I've seen how well our bulletproof vest work, and they do stop bullets.

I've read the bible and figured I am in, or near the 'Garden of Eden'; but it hardly looks like paradise to me.

I've seen fisherman fishing, kids swimming, boats and dead bodies floating in the Tigris River.

I've asked myself dozens of times "Why am I here", but I know the answer, and I know if asked...I'd come back again no question.

I've missed my family and still do, and I regret not spending as much time with them as I should've before I left.

I've figured out who my real friends are back home, because they have taken the time to write me a letter or an e-mail.

I felt sold out by my chain of command because I made a decision to shoot, and sat through an 'inquisition' for making a judgment call that I would again.

I've gone on my 2 weeks of R&R and enjoyed the downtime, however was anxious to get back to this strange place.

I've been to far too many memorial services of our fallen brothers, and choked up everytime, even if silently so nobody could tell

I've seen an enemy sniper cause so much pandemonium, that without a shot being fired the sniper was winning a psychological victory over us.

I've traded 'war stories' with my best friend who worked in the private sector up north through countless e-mails.

I've been disgusted by the double standard that I have seen day in and day out.

I've lost a friend to an enemy sniper's bullet and felt helpless.

I've been given a urinalyses test because people were doing drugs over here.

I've seen the Iraqi people respect the military, and I've seen them totally disregard our presence and "walk all over us".

I've searched a car we stopped in sector and found an Oklahoma license plate in the trunk with '04 tag stickers on it.

I've felt my stomach knot and my heart skip a beat when a vehicle speeding by, cut his wheel and came directly at me...I was going to be blown-up for sure I thought.

I've been terribly sick, but continued to work and patrol through it...mission first.

I've gotten packages and letters from people I don't know, and a smile was brought to my face each time.

I've had my comfort zone tested and violated by these people time and time again.

I've had Iraqis throw fireworks at me on New Years, thinking it was funny that I couldn't tell it wasn't a gunshot.

I've come to the conclusion that some soldiers here will return home by the grace of God, and other soldiers will come home simply because the man to the left or right of him did their job.

I've seen lousy soldiers awarded medals for no reason at all, and other soldiers who rightfully deserved recognition for gallantry under fire passed over with not even a pat on the back.

I've seen the clear difference between competence and arrogance in my leadership.

Corporal Lawrence, C.


Link Posted: 12/26/2005 8:57:24 AM EST
Damn good.
Link Posted: 12/26/2005 8:57:25 AM EST

The last line is the best.
Link Posted: 12/26/2005 8:58:50 AM EST
Thanks, Z.
Link Posted: 12/26/2005 9:07:55 AM EST
Link Posted: 12/26/2005 9:10:45 AM EST
Man that is some powerful stuff. Thanks for the post.
Link Posted: 12/26/2005 9:14:26 AM EST
Link Posted: 12/26/2005 9:16:56 AM EST
Well said.
Link Posted: 12/26/2005 9:20:59 AM EST
The author posts on snipershide.com IIRC.
Link Posted: 12/26/2005 9:32:01 AM EST
Thank ya for the post.
Link Posted: 12/26/2005 9:43:08 AM EST
I just wanted to add...

When you are able to actually talk with the Iraqi people (ones that support us anyway), you learn alot about them.
I had a conversation with a 20y/o one day who was going to college in Baghdad. We made small talk for a bit and then we talked about him, his life and life in general. I asked him if he voted since he still had a little purple on his finger. Said yes and I replied, "Thats good." and smiled.
He said it was also but that, it didnt really matter as the person/people who are elected cant really do much for them (they live in slums in Baghdad that would make Detroit and some parts of New York/NJ look like the Ritz Carlton). They wont be able to get them water and electricity and when they are in power, they will be corrupt as well.

It really hits you to as what we are doing here and how bad Saddam was and how much better their country *could* be. And the good we are doing there.

And incidentally, that day, was the best day I've had since we got here. It was really a neat experience talking to him with none of his buddies within hearing distance so he could tell me what he really felt without having to worry about them.
Link Posted: 12/26/2005 9:56:14 AM EST
Link Posted: 12/26/2005 10:04:57 AM EST

I've asked myself dozens of times "Why am I here", but I know the answer, and I know if asked...I'd come back again no question.

THAT is why I respect our soldiers so much.
Link Posted: 12/26/2005 10:08:44 AM EST
Excellent post.

Nothing like a heart warming & humbling present one day late and right on time.
Link Posted: 12/26/2005 10:09:30 AM EST
Great post.
Link Posted: 12/26/2005 10:16:52 AM EST

Originally Posted By Dusty_C:

I've asked myself dozens of times "Why am I here", but I know the answer, and I know if asked...I'd come back again no question.

THAT is why I respect our soldiers so much.

Link Posted: 12/26/2005 10:26:17 AM EST
[Last Edit: 12/26/2005 10:28:58 AM EST by Inatree]
Powerful stuff
Be sure to tell the kid author we enjoyed it.

Edited to remove the word "kid". No one can call him that anymore.
Link Posted: 12/26/2005 10:28:09 AM EST
[Last Edit: 12/26/2005 10:33:24 AM EST by Itchy]

Link Posted: 12/26/2005 10:34:44 AM EST
........can't speak.

Link Posted: 12/26/2005 10:50:56 AM EST
Link Posted: 12/26/2005 12:15:53 PM EST

Link Posted: 12/26/2005 12:30:11 PM EST

God Bless all members of our Armed Forces in harms way.
Link Posted: 12/26/2005 12:31:43 PM EST
Link Posted: 12/26/2005 12:41:10 PM EST
First post that ever made me tear up on AR-15.com
Link Posted: 12/26/2005 12:47:21 PM EST
Awesome post.
Link Posted: 12/26/2005 12:49:02 PM EST
Wow. Carry on Cpl.
Link Posted: 12/26/2005 12:50:13 PM EST
[Last Edit: 12/26/2005 2:53:37 PM EST by M4Real]

Originally Posted By ZW17:
By Corporal Lawrence, C.

I've searched a car we stopped in sector and found an Oklahoma license plate in the trunk with '04 tag stickers on it.

Wiskey Tango Foxtrot?!?!
Link Posted: 12/26/2005 12:58:36 PM EST

Originally Posted By Firelotus:


Link Posted: 12/26/2005 1:33:26 PM EST
Last night I watched Bob Hope on the military channel doing his old USO Christmas shows and got tears in my eyes watching the faces of the GIs...they were mostly just kids. I was one of them one time, and it reminded me of the lonely holidays, wanting to be home with family. Last night I realized watching those guys, they were with their "family" of buddies. Between Bob Hope and your letter, you both reminded me of the incredible debt we owe to all the GIs all over the world tonight, away from your loved ones. You reminded me of the incredible catch 22 of being a GI. It is truly the worst of times, but it is also the best of times.

We are so proud of you guys, and admire what you are doing. Stay safe. Come home soon. Thank you so much.
Link Posted: 12/26/2005 3:00:49 PM EST
Great post.
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