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.”
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.