by Brooke de Guzman '19
“See anyone up ahead?” I asked my First Class Private as we were approaching our destination.
“No sir!” he yelled back at me.
The never-ending desert stretched out for miles. My comrades and I were ordered to scope out this area to what looked like an abandoned village by the enemy. Apparently, there had been civilians who were shot and left to die. Our mission was to help out as many people as we could and to aid them with medication, food, and water. In the military issued Jeep, we were in, we made our way closer to the mediocre area.
“Do you see anything now First Private?!”, I yelled.
“Not that I've seen sir!” he barked back at me.
We kept on driving forward, the anticipation of what could be ahead of us driving us mad. “Suspicious movement happening ahead Sergeant!”, my Corporal hollered at me.
I took out my own binoculars. I squinted my eyes into the vision that the metal and plastic piece would allow me to view. Three black figures who were about 25 feet ahead of our vehicle were pacing back and forth, yelling at one another in another language.
“Easy! you're going too fast! Slow down First Private!`` I demanded my comrade.
This was one of his first serious jobs, and I could see the fear in the young man's face. He doesn't seem to hear me at first. I demand him again to slow down, but it's too late.
The once perfect conditioned Jeep, was now being flown up into the air with my men and me still on board. Everything at that moment seemed to go in slow motion. Suddenly my hearing was interrupted by an airy sound that almost deafened me. I looked around, parts of the Jeep had been blown off, including my First Private. The once strong, brave, young man was now nothing. He was now a memory to remember, and a soldier to be thankful for. I focused my eyes on my corporal. He was clenching his cross necklace in his fists with what seemed to be with all of his might. His helmet was blown off, and his eyes were shut tight. It looked like he was mouthing something, maybe a prayer. I glanced around once more until my shock was forcefully corrupted with the impact of my body being slammed onto the side of the Jeep. The turning, and hell had eventually stopped but little did I know, what the hell was just about to begin.
I didn't want to get up. I wanted to stay right there on the ground, half of me still in the busted Jeep. I gathered all my strength and crawled my way out of the rubbish. The stinging ring still lingered heavily in my ears, and I felt dizzy as I brought myself to my feet. My vision had become temporarily impaired, and I struggled as I tried to find my weapon.
I felt something wet dripping on the side of my helmet. I took my hand and wiped the area. Blood. My eardrums have been damaged by the explosive impact my comrades and I had just experienced. My other comrades! I had to find them immediately. I remember seeing my corporal in the Jeep before we had crashed onto the ground.
“Corporal Anderson! Where are you?” I screamed, everyone ounce in my being hoping
I'd see any sign of him, any sign of anyone.
Nothing. I was beginning to worry. My vision had finally been restored, and my hearing
was slowly, but surely getting better. I got onto my stomach and started army crawling back towards the Jeep. I saw my first private once again, or what was left of him. I closed my eyes and cursed under my breath.
“Why did this have to happen kid?” I asked myself as I stared at the young, gone soldier.
I bent over, closed his eyes, and took the dog tags off from around his neck. I knew that his family back home would want them. It's what we always do when we lose someone. I've been in the military for about five years, but death is something you don't get used to. No matter how many times I've seen it, smelt it in the air, and have tried to save the soldiers before it was too late.
Although I wish to have stayed there mourning that man's tragic death, I knew I had to try and find my other men before it was too late for them too. I made my way out of the Jeep, but not before I grabbed a few materials like would come in handy. I saw a helmet on the desert ground. I grabbed it, in case, and limped my way around all the destruction.
“Is anyone else alive?” I said out loud to myself, starting to doubt any existence for another life.
I walked around slowly, making sure not to miss anything. I found a backpack full of gear with water, food, clothing, ammo, and a few guns. I put my arms around the straps and claimed it my own.
“HELP!” A voice in the distance cried out.
“I’m on my way! Don't move wherever you are!” I shouted back to the air. I started running all around the area in hopes to find this voice.
“Please Sergeant!” I heard another cry.
I ran towards the direction of the cries. Finally, I saw the sight before me. Anderson was lying on the ground with a sharp piece of metal stuck in his thigh. I got onto my knees and placed my hand around the sharp object that was sticking out.
“Sarg, just do it, I know it's going to hurt, but just do it,” he said in a low breath.
I grasp the metal tightly and held Anderson’s hand with my other. I pulled the metal out, and Anderson let out a loud yell. I quickly covered his mouth, so the enemy didn't have a chance to hear it.
“Let’s go, I'll get you out of here,'' I said to him as I lifted the wounded soldier to his feet. I put one of his arms around my neck and shoulder, and we slowly walked back to the damaged vehicle in hopes of finding a radio.
In the blistering desert sun, we searched the area continuously. Anderson sat nearby on the ground, his leg becoming almost useless with the bleeding womb. As I was about to give up, I heard something I couldn't believe. Hidden in rubbish and dirt, a voice came through an almost broken walkie talkie.
“Hello, this is Sergeant Stone, and I'm reporting a wounded soldier, and totaled vehicle. The enemy seems to have thought all of us are dead, but two of us made it out alive. Calling for backup and help immediately.”
We waited for what seemed like hours. The hot sun now was slowly starting to fade, and I knew the temperature would be going down with it. I looked at Anderson. He had his eyes closed, his face scattered with cuts and dirt. He had one hand on his womb, and another on his gun. I was starting to fear for him. I couldn't let another one of my men die. As my eyes got heavy and I felt myself starting to drift off, I saw something in the distance. Headlights. I woke up Anderson, his eyes bolted open, he was ready for anything. We hid in the rubbish of what was left of the Jeep, any protection is what we needed. As the vehicle got closer, I noticed it was an American Army vehicle. I then knew at that moment, we had been saved. Anderson must have known too because he looked at me and smiled. He then glanced up to the sky and kissed the rosary around his neck. This day seemed to have lasted forever, but we made it through, and we soon would be ready for another mission.