Sunday, May 30, 2004

Dreaming of Almost Shooting a Child Gunman, Waiting to Return to Iraq - Unfortunately

30 May, 2004 1400 Camp Wolverine, Kuwait

I’m sitting in a passenger terminal tent in Kuwait, at the Kuwait International Airport. We’re waiting for a flight back to Baghdad and then on to Najaf. We were in Kuwait for about 12 days doing our UAV training in the desert. LT Pinto is lying on the chairs sleeping next to me. We’re all exhausted and no one is looking forward to going back to Baghdad.
The days here have been pretty good, with the occasional bouts of depression from missing you. One of the first things I noticed when I got here, and as time passed, was the absence of mortar fire or gunfire. A few times I would be looking up at the stars and felt like yelling out loud. It wasn’t because I was angry, it was just an impulse to release pressure as I realized there was no threat of mortars landing or gunfire. It’s not that I was scared in Najaf, but here, peace in Kuwait was somewhat liberating. There were times when I would hear a loud noise and my skin would crawl or someone would roll over in their cot, and the creaking of the cot would sound like machinegun fire in the distance and I would wake up. I even found myself expecting mortar impacts at night, and suspicious of the silence. I even dreamt about Iraq several times. One dream had me in a convoy and gunfire erupted. We were going under an overpass and saw some old Iraqi men digging. We shot in their direction as they looked back at us with confused looks. As we continued under the overpass, I saw a kid with an AK-47 firing. He was only about 8 or 10 years old. I went to fire at him and pulled the trigger, only to hear a click. I was out of ammunition in my magazine. It was like a second chance, and I didn’t shoot again. For that I felt relieved. I then woke up. A lot of guys I spoke to were experiencing similar reactions. One of my friends here, Connor, woke up 2 nights ago in his cot holding his M-16 across his chest. He doesn’t know how it got there.


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