I was in North Korea. I was in Haeju, and I was actually fighting in the streets - just like what had hapened in New York. Standing there with my Benelli M4, I couldn't help but ask myself: how many lives had I destroyed? How many people had watched their parents die because I had fought in this battle? Suddenly, a thought struck me. I was not a soldier. I was a murderer. I didn't deserve that uniform. I deserved an orange jumpsuit.
Enough. I had to get that out of my head; I had to focus on the fight. I blasted an enemy soldier who had been coming my way and was instantly racked with guilt: I'd struck a man who'd been holding his wife's hand with a glancing blow from the slug that had torn through the soldier's body. My world came crashing down. I had just destroyed someone's life.
I shot another soldier, but he kept coming, so I shot him twice in the head with my 1911. Then, I heard the bombs fall; it was time to pull out and let the bombers do their thing. When I was back on the ride home, I met with the rest of my squad. Judd and Churchmen had made it back. McGuire had been killed. Now, I had a call to make.
It wasn't SOP for commanding officers to contact family members to deliver the bad news. I made it my personal SOP.
"Mrs. Mcguire?" I asked when the woman at the other end picked up. "I knew your husband..."
A few minutes later, I had finished speaking to Alisha McGuire and was burdened by a tried mind and a heavy heart. As I stood there, reviewing the day's events, I had another disturbing thought: who would speak to my girlfriend if I died? Some stranger who probably hadn't ever seen me in passing? Who would console her? Who would hold her while she cried? When I was gone, who would protect her?