Delta Oscar Whiskey

I’ve been on vacation for the past few weeks so I haven’t been around to write. I have had plenty of ideas and some things come to mind that I will get posted, though.

I had an Iraq dream last week. It was odd for a few reasons but one part kept sticking out. I was a platoon leader again and we were clearing a house that we had taken fire from. Upon entry, I had been shot in the chest by an insurgent in a track suit with a pistol. I fell back as he retreated into the house. My plate stopped the bullet so my guys helped me to my feet and we kicked in the door again. We cleared the house room by room.

I could feel the dry and cool air, the cool concrete and tile of the insides of the house, a stark contrast from the sun and heat outside. As the troops cleared and held each room I and a buddy (fellow PL of mine) had made our way to the top floor and it was all empty. In the dream I had this feeling where I knew the kid was in an attic crawl space (the insurgent was, like, early 20s). And then the ceiling had one of those pull-down ladders to an attic crawl space you’d only find in the U.S. but hey it’s a dream –

I had a feeling he was up there so my buddy and I drew our pistols and I slowly pulled the cable that began to pull the ladder-door down. We were slowly peering up and at first I didn’t see anything when a hand appeared with a Glock and fired one shot that went right between me and my PL buddy. We crouched out of the way and my buddy fired one shot back, but it was errant. I yanked down the ladder-door and stood straight up and though I had to crane my neck to see, I stretched over into this ceiling attic space and I fired three shots hitting the crouching kid directly in the chest.

We yanked him down by his arms and he fell onto the floor in pain, wincing. My thought in the dream was “fuck, now we have to treat this guy.” So one of my NCO’s was calling our Squadron on the radio to say we had cleared the building with one enemy WIA, while I knelt down and began to pack the kids bullet holes with gauze. The next part is fuzzy in my memory, but I was standing there and some of the guys were tending to the insurgent, pushing an IV etc. while I was relaying something to the Squadron on my MBITR radio. I think they were sending the QRF or something – they were giving me instructions (it’s funny because I can hear the same voice of the battle captain as clear in my head now, as I did in the dream, just like when I was in Iraq). The medic said to me ‘hey Sir the hajj is gone’ so I thought, well, fuck – Squadron will want to know that the enemy was now dead. My medic said ‘I’ll call in the D-O-W’ but I said I’d do it.

“Nah I’ll call this in before we move out” I said, and I tried to raise Squadron on my MBITR; “Rattlesnake Main this is Charger Blue One. Insurgent status now delta oscar whiskey, over.”

No response.

I kept trying on different channels but there was no response. I got my RTO to bring the man-pack with the ASIPS radio and whip antennae but the result was still the same. This is where the dream really took most place – I had this feeling that I needed to get an accurate status of the insurgent to Squadron but no one would come across on the radio. That was the underlying feeling in the dream. This kid died of wounds, but no one else knows because no one hears my transmission.

The feeling of that put me off the entire day, which I felt bad for because I was with my girl and on vacation (thankfully she’s really a trooper and understands my PTSD gets me acting funny every now and again, and that sometimes I am just not there). I don’t know why it was so important to make sure they knew the Hajj didn’t make it, and that we were ready to continue mission – but I couldn’t leave the room with the body and my guys until I made that radio call. And without acknowledgement I couldn’t move on.

It really put me off the entire day.

About anotherwarriorpoet

Mathew Bocian served as a Captain in the United States Army with the Stryker Brigade and was deployed to Mosul and Tal'Afar in 2004 - 2005, and to Baghdad for The Surge in 2007 - 2008. He left the Army in 2012 and now uses his poetry as a way to heal from the traumas of war, while attempting to express to readers the realities of war. He is the recipient of the Bronze Star and Purple Heart, and holds a master's from the Graduate School for Public and International Affairs at the University of Pittsburgh.
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6 Responses to Delta Oscar Whiskey

  1. It’s always so weird how dreams can be so real and so odd in places, and yet they still can really affect you. Sorry you had such a bad day while on vacation.

    My nightmares used to be far worse, but now some fifteen years out, they’ve dwindled to almost never happening. And when they do happen, they’re not nearly as bad. I guess time — and shit tons of self-examination — are about the only thing that will make them go away… : /

    Liked by 1 person

  2. robakers says:

    I agree with Stan about the dreams and how they come on without any triggers.

    Best wishes on the 4th.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. What I got from that is that you don’t feel like anyone is hearing you, even though you are reaching out the best you can. Maybe a metaphor for how you feel in real life right now?

    I am glad that your wife is very supportive, and I am glad that you are blogging. Always looking forward to your next post.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Andrew Davis says:

    It appears writing these thoughts out helps. I’m glad you have an outlet. On an observational note, I notice that you employ the same matter-of-fact-this-is-just-what-I-did-in-Iraq writing as other veterans. That single-mindedness for something so scary and unfathomable in my mind; war, is what makes your writing all the more present and intense. Thank you for sharing

    Liked by 1 person

    • I find it cathartic. I mostly started the site for myself (as stated I’d been scribbling things for about a decade but things were starting to come to the surface, and some things were starting to fade). I’ve been told by people that I write well so I am glad to see that folks are enjoying this blog in various ways shakes and fashions. So I’m glad that you’re taking something away from it as well.

      There’s a lot of things I have not posted yet because they are more dark and gritty (if you can imagine that) and I am still gauging reader response. But I appreciate your reading, and commenting.


  5. Andrew Davis says:

    I have taken a day long course in PTSD to better understand how war trauma differs from other trauma, as well as VA-approved methods of recovery. One of the methods employed is to tell the story, in your time, at your pace, so you don’t have to keep reliving it, or keep reliving it to your yourself. It appears, sharing such a singular event (or “sentinel occurrence” from my state psychiatric hospital training) would take a great deal of courage, faith and effort.
    I will continue to appreciate your journey in writing wherever it takes you!

    Liked by 1 person

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