Staff Sergeant Jones, whom goes by the alias Strider, or StriderA, has died due to a fatal gunshot wound to the chest on Thursday, Aug 30. Luckily, since we used blanks and an advance version of laser tag, death was only a temporary affair… but I’ll get to that in a moment.
So yea, Eagle Flag sucked. Instead of a M-4 they gave me a M-16, which is heavier and not as maneuverable. Whatever. The point of the exercise was to setup a bare-base in the middle of nowhere. Basically, our job is to go to a remote piece of land, and set it up so air operations can begin. There were two camps we were in charge of. One with the airfield, and one where the tent-city was to go. As a vehicle operator, our job was to move everything that came in on the planes to the other camp. This meant we were way too busy. 16-20 hour days busy. Since I’m one of the higher ranking people, I was able to choose my job, so I got to be the gunner on a guntruck that escorted the vehicles between the camps. It was hot, but it was at least somewhat relaxed.
Around the third day, things started to slow down some. So, I decided to do a simple humanitarian mission of driving a truck of food and water to a local village. This was a part of the security forces exercise to test how they protect convoys, and deploy in cities, etc. This would be the mission that got me killed. I jumped out of my truck and started heading to the back to get the food and water when the gunshots sounded. There were a few people around, but the one I saw was on the second floor of a building right next to my truck. I took cover and started shooting back. Now, they say life isn’t fair, but these guys took it to an extreme. The laser tag system, called Miles 2000, consists of a vest and a halo that goes on your helmet. Since our ‘bad guys’ weren’t wearing a helmet, they had only their vest to determine if they were to be shot or not. The guy who I was firing at was behind a wall so only his weapon and head showed. I put a whole clip into the guy before he turned and took me out. Good thing our terrorists don’t have a ‘god mode’ to play with or we’d be screwed. So, my gear starts buzzing and the LCD screen says “Killed.” I said “shit” and start playing dead. They throw me into the back of my truck, the other guy drives it out, and I figured it was over with. I was very wrong. When I got back to the tent, they actually made me go through the same events a real dead guy would go through. First they sent me to the morgue. Then I watched as they processed a dummy as if he was me. Toe tag. Packed him down with ice and got him ready for air trans back to the U.S. for identification and burial. They did let me keep my death certificate though. (Signed by actual medical doctors and all. 🙂 All in all, it was a whole day of me just sitting in the morgue waiting for air trans to come take my body away. After that happened, I went back as a ‘new person’ to replace the dead one. (They kept telling me that they don’t simulate anything for the exercise, which is the reason I couldn’t leave the morgue. I don’t think they understood that they were simulating me being dead, so their concept didn’t work… oh well, it was a nice break after the first two days.) It was kinda eery to think that if it was a real mission, I would have really died. Scary…
The rest of week was just moving stuff around camp and doing basic base security. We were attacked multiple times, but never close enough for it to really matter. The fake rockets and grenades they use reminded me of Iraq, but it didn’t phase me too much. The last day I was there we finally got the shower tents up and running… it’s amazing how refreshing a shower can be after a week of sweating and rolling around in the dirt. Even if it is in a tent.
So, finally, I’m back home, and am starting to turn my attention back to the future. My birthday is on Wednesday, which is also the day school starts back up for me. When this semester ends, I’ll be getting out of the military and have a lot of job searching and planning to complete before that happens. I was told earlier today that my work is going to 12 hour shifts as well, which doesn’t help. Oh well… gotta do what you gotta do.
So anyway, that’s my update, since I know a couple people still read this. It’s late so I’m going to get to bed. Wish me luck. 🙂