Stationed in Ramadi, Iraq, Corporal Micahart was enjoying his life as a soldier . He got paid, was fed, and sometimes he got to shoot people. But when a fellow squad looses a man the war becomes personal. It's now up to Micahart and his squad to track down the terrorists and bring them to justice. Unfortunately for them the terrorists have other ideas in mind and it will take every piece of training they know to survive.
“War’s a bitch, Wear a helmet.” – Sergeant Daniel Walsh
In this city, we learned to love the mud and sand plastered to our bodies. We wake up to the blazing sun that constantly burns our skin to rough leather, as our body temperatures rest comfortably at one hundred n’ two. We waver on the edge of heat exhaustion. Our stomachs heave and our shits come spastically. We are filthy inside and out and the local collection of bacteria doesn’t help with the bouts of dysentery. With what constitutes a toilet here would make any civilian cry. Did I forget to mention, we get blown up, shot at, and crammed into places not fit for human occupation.
Welcome to life as a grunt. It’s our job; it’s rough, hard, it sucks, but most of all it’s the best job in the world. CNN may make us infamous, but the truth is civvies don’t know shit. We do this job for three reasons. First is we’re protecting Jody and Sue’s freedoms back home. The second is because we know that if we can live through the worst of times, we’ll thrive in the best of times. Lastly, we are America’s warriors, the special 911 service that is called when the country needs us. We are Marines, we don’t need ties or business suits, just our M16A4’s, our 40 mike-mike’s (M203 40mm grenade launcher), and the enemy’s backyard as our playground.
2200 hrs, March 18, 2012
Combat Outpost (COP): Hotel
Ramadi, Iraq (66 miles west of Bagdad)
The cold night air stung against my face as I hurried through the dirt streets of the military base. I grumbled, desert camies were barely keeping me warm in the frigid desert night. My destination, my squads dull tan tent on the other side of the base, where a warm rack was ready to welcome me.
“Corporal!” I froze, knowing that the voice didn’t bode well. “Corporal!” The man yelled again. I spun on my heels and snapped to attention.
“Yes, Master Gunnery Sgt.” I replied looking past the imposing man and into the distance. He strutted up to me with his false air of authority. He towered over me, his hazel eyes burning into me as If I might disappear before him.
“What the hell are you doing out?” He questioned harshly. Shit, if he finds out I'm dead! I didn’t dare to breathe as I replied.
“I was helping PFC Manitoba, sir. He wanted help at the Chow hall, sir.” The Sergeant Major’s steely eyes looked me up and down, suspicious. We both knew I was lying through my teeth but after tonight, it wouldn't matter. With a dismissive wave, the man let me go.
“Get to your rack and don't let me catch you out after watch. Might as well NJP your ass the next time!” He said gruffly, turning away. Without any courtesy he skulked away into the entrails of the base. I stood for a moment glaring at the back of his head.
“Thank you Master Gunnery Sgt. Dick!” I snarled under my breath, hurrying to my tent. The funny thing about the Sergeant Major was his last name, which was Richard, Dick just became a nickname. Though he made a habit of living up to the often humorous moniker.
When I finally reached the tent most of the squad was asleep, PFC Lakes was snoring in his rack. Corporal Thane fidgeted, he was the only one awake. As usual he was ingrained in some novel that he had ordered from the states. I quietly walked over to him and looked down at the book.
“What-cha reading this time Thane?” I asked inquisitively. Thane's glassy green eyes met mine. He must have been up reading the entire night.
“About Mobsters from the twenty’s and thirty’s.” He said slightly surprised. “Where have you been Micahart?” I kicked a tuft of sand that made up the floor and grinned sheepishly. He's not going to believe this.
“Up at eagle point, with Staff Sergeant Luttrel. ” Thane’s eyes widened, he instantly shut his book and directed all attention to me.
“The sniper’s perch? You spent a night with Luttrel's squad?” He blabbed. I put my hand over his mouth and looked around the large tent. My squad mates still lie sleeping and snoring. Last thing I needed was for unwanted ears to hear Thane's gawking.
“Half a night,” I corrected. “Staff Sergeant asked if I wanted to join for a bit of target practice.” I grinned as I saw Thanes jaw drop, I honestly thought his eyes couldn’t get any bigger.
“ d’you shoot someone?” he asked, hanging on my every word. I turned and walked over to my rack. “Micahart?” he pleaded. Releasing a breath, I laid on my rack, my body ached from all the day's work.
“No,” I lied. I could see the anticipation on Thane's face replaced with disappointment. Reluctantly, he picked up his book and gave me one last glance. Almost hoping one begging look would change my mind. I shook my head and he returned to his book, grumbling under his breath.
“Liar,” a voice next to me whispered. It was my squad leader, Sergeant Walsh. I smiled slightly, propping my hands behind my head creating a makeshift pillow.
“If I told him the truth,Master Gunnery Sgt. would find out. He thinks I was helping with chow. Old dog almost NJP'd me tonight just for walking back here.” Walsh rolled his eyes and laid back down on his cot. A long silence returned to the air, only broken again by Walsh.
“How many?” he asked in an emotionless tone. I thought back to the firefight. Bullets zinging past my head and the smell of cordite in the air. The bark of rifles mixed with the sharp staccato of sniper fire, shouts for ammo ringing loud. I shook the all too fresh memory from my head.
“Enough to keep everyone here safe.” I replied and rolled onto my side, pulling a thin blanket over me.
“Uh-Huh, need to talk about it?” Walsh asked. I gave him a glance, and looked back to the top of the tent. Sometimes you could find all the answers staring up at the top of the tent. This time I felt content.
“I’ll be fine.” I shut my eyes and laid there, sleep overcoming my tired body.