1st Lieutenant Cooper

I watched as the Staff Sergeant loaded into the Humvee and left. Now it was only Captain Mattsfield and I. Mattsfield had a smile on his face as he gazed down range.

"Well Lieutenant, what do you think? He's a pretty good shot, eh?" I growled under my breath. The kid had taken standard shots in perfect weather conditions, with no one firing back at him. So yes if he were in a Civie competition shoot he was top marks. But this was my Marine Scout Sniper team and young Carrington had alot more to prove than just being a crack shot. 

"He's average, sir." I shot back watching a squadron of UH-60's soar overhead. The Captain looked back to me, perturbed that I wasn't sold whole sale on his chosen spotter. He spun on his heals and looked me in the eyes. 

"At attention Lieutenant." He barked, I snapped quickly to a perfect salute. He watched me waiting for me to flinch but I gave him no opportunity. "He will be your spotter, Cooper. Whether you like him or not, that's your issue. I also have your deployment orders in hand, prep your gear. You and Carrington are going to Iraq, together!" With that the Captain spun around and walked back to the Officers HQ. Things were just getting better and better. 

 Back at the barracks I sat against my rack. My custom rifle laid out piece by piece before me. As I assembled the rifle I thought back to my previous spotter. He was a silent guy who really had no attachments here in the states.  After a successful mission in Afghanistan we were chatting over chow in the Mess. No one at the base ever heard the artillery shells that were lobbed towards us. Within 10 minutes the Mess and many of the barracks had been nearly leveled. The only thing I could remember was waking up next to a stump of a body and later finding out that it was my spotter. From then on I promised myself that I would never take on a spotter. Now here I was at the ironic crossroads of having one forced upon me. 

With my rifle fully assembled, I placed it back in it's case. A small knock came at my door. 

"Come in," I replied. The door opened as I turned around. A young Gunnery Sergeant stood in the doorway. She held out a manila folder that was sealed with red tape. I retrieved it and gave the Gunney a message. 

"I need you to take a message to Staff Sergeant Carrington. Tell him to meet me in the briefing room at 1730 hours." She nodded and left, shutting my door behind her. The manila folder still sat in my hand as I opened it and read our mission statement and other assignments. The Staff Sergeant would need a full brief on the details and I wasn't in the mood for talking. 

The End

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