Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Hits Home Hard!!!

Today as I was laying asleep in my tent someone came in yelling for me to get up. I sat straight up in bed to see two individuals walking towards my bed. I had seen these two guys around the base before, but never really spoken with them. After I wake up enough to talk to them they tell me that Kevin is at the gate wanting to see me, so I threw on some clothes really quick and head out the door.

A little background: Most every base has a market that is run by Iraqi's. Most of them sell just basic electronic goods, dvds, and whatever we might need that we can't get at the PX (post exchange). Early in the deployment a good friend introduced me to one of these shop owners named Kevin. Kevin, who had a watch stand, spoke very good english and was very popular among the soldiers. Over the course of the deployment we have become good friends. I found myself spending time everyday in the "haji market", as we called it talking him. We would talk about religion, our family, Iraqi culture, and most of all America. I learned so much from talking to him all of those days, and in doing so learned that he wasn't all that different from me.

One morning I awoke to the sound of a huge blast. I woke right up and ran to the bunker sitting right outside of my tent. Throughout this deployment we have received several attacks on the base, and I shrugged this one off as another one. Later on that day I learned that a tractor, which was used on the base by local nationals to haul trash, had been lined with explosives and driven right to the gate here at our base. At the gate, along with soldiers and Iraqis, was Kevin. A fellow soldier later on in the day who know of my relationship with Kevin informed me that he was involved in the blast. When something like that happens you always assume that the worst has happened. A fellow soldier a couple of days later found out that he had survived, but not without being banged up pretty bad. Since we cannot leave the base at all I had written off the chance of ever seeing him again. Which brings me back to the story....

After not seeing him or knowing how he was for over two months now I was more than anxious to see him. Before I was totally dressed, to military standard, I was out the door. I stopped at my friends tent, who introduced me to him, so he could see him as well. Upon arriving to the gate I felt a huge load come off of my shoulders, but at the same time a heavier load being put on my heart. Seeing him in the condition he was in was the first time during this whole deployment made me realize how lucky I have been. Kevins injuries consisted of a broken arm, two broken legs, a removed kidney, and a removed spleen. The month prior to the blast Kevin had been working for the military as an interpreter, and he was here to pick up his check. Upon seeing Kevin I was extremely happy, but it pained me to see him sitting there in such pain. Not being able to walk yet he was sitting in a folding chair that doubles as his wheelchair. Wherever he had to go two people had to pick the chair up and move him because he cannot afford a proper wheelchair. We asked him if he needed anything, and his reply was that our friendship was all that he needed. My friend and I, David Macdonell, went to the PX and fixed him up with soap, shampoo, and toothpaste...the normal stuff. We exchanged emails and then he was on his way. It was probably the last time that I will get to see my Iraqi friend.

I said all of that to basically say that I am very lucky. Over the year my company hasn't had one war related incident. When this happened with Kevin it really hit home for me, and then upon seeing him in his condition it hit even harder. With all the mortars flying into this base this past year myself as well as my fellow soldiers could have easily been injured. I am now easily spooked and will probably be for years to come, but if that is all that I come away with from Iraq I will consider myself blessed.


At 9:33 AM, Anonymous Everyman said...

Will, I just wanted to say thank you for all of the sacrifices you and your fellow soldiers have made to protect our freedoms. Your post points out how war effects everyone on either side. I am truly saddened to hear that your friend was injured but thankfully he is alive. Again thank you for everything you're doing over there. You are one of the true heroes of America.

At 4:01 PM, Blogger rightfielder said...

You and your men are true American heroes. Everyday I go to work and come home and hug my family, living in safety and security- because you and your men are in the Sand Box defending my freedoms.
Thank you.

At 5:03 PM, Anonymous Jessica Duncan said...

Wow! Hearing stories like those really make you thankful for our freedom and for You and the other soldiers continuing to fight to keep us free! Thank you so much! Can't wait to see you again :)

At 8:37 AM, Blogger USMCPOP said...


Thank you for what you and your fellow soldiers are doing! I know what you are facing over there. Early this year, my son LCpl. Karl Linn and three fellow Marines from the 4th CEB were killed at Haqlaniyah. I still support those in the field and the families of other fallen heroes that I have encountered. I hope to read of your safe return soon. Semper Fi.

At 9:29 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am so thankful to you and all the other military there in Iraq who are putting your lives on the line on a daily basis to insure that my Grandson can grow up in a peaceful and secure home in Texas. Were it not for you and others like you he might very well be afraid of radicals blowing themselves up in his school or in a car next to him. Thank you for your bravery and dedication and may God bless you and keep you safe till you come home.

At 4:21 PM, Blogger Poor Justin said...

California Conservative is sending people your way. I'm one of them. You can 'ditto' me on everyone else's comments. Thanks for your efforts and sacrifices, keep doing the right thing. The time will come when you can go back to Iraq as a civilian to visit your friend, flying on American Airlines (or whatever airline survives this), staying at a Holiday Inn. Democracy brings peace, and peace brings prosperity. Kevin and men like him will be able to provide their families with a future, an education, and a say in their country's policies, all thanks to men like you.

Good on ya, you make us all proud.

At 8:02 AM, Blogger The Ugly American said...

Wow, I am at a loss for words. Thank you for the story. Most of all Thank You for your service. Godspeed to you and your brothers.

Please keep posting.

Rick Calvert

At 2:46 PM, Anonymous Big Dog said...

This retired First Sergeant is proud to know that men like you are serving this country. I pray for you folks each night and thank God for people like you.

I wish you good health and good luck. And keep your head down.
Big Dog

At 12:53 PM, Blogger intelmom said...

Will, Here is a quick note today to join these others in saying THANK YOU and your fellow freedon fighters there with you. Just found your blog spot and look forward to reading you regularly for the TRUTH straight out of Iraq. It's really a shame what politicians and liberal media are doing to tear down our country from the inside out. You fight things on your end and we home patriots will do our best to put a stop to all the lies being disseminated back here. Stay safe and God bless all you men and women while you are away from home.

At 12:16 PM, Blogger Freedomnow said...

I wish I had an address that I could send a real wheelchair to Kevin.

That is so sad...

At 11:26 PM, Blogger Freedomnow said...

It looks like Kevin is being taken care of. The blog, "Military Vote", has a post stating that our military personnel have banded together to help Kevin and they have raised $500 for a wheelchair!



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