As I write this a National Geographic special is on TV in the background. It’s about the Iraq War and try as I have in the last 12 years to settle my time overseas in my head, it still provokes me… most of the time to tears.
Today, I’d like to take a moment and remember a friend of mine who was in my unit.
As we were preparing to go home in Kuwait, a couple of my buddies came to me one day. They told me they were worried about him and wanted to talk about what we could do to help him.
You see, he had been ill since before we left Iraq, but for some reason or another it had been ignored or neglected and now he was looking worse. He had a nasty cough and was lethargic. He wasn’t eating and was beginning to look very frail and ashen. In short, it seemed as if he was beginning to deteriorate before our eyes. Nobody knew what was wrong with him only that with each passing day, he looked worse and worse.
After a talk, we decided to try and fly him out of Kuwait and back to the states before us, thinking that perhaps he could get the medical attention he needed that he couldn’t get in Kuwait.
After repeated attempts, we were told there were no flights that could accommodate him. It was… well, horribly frustrating to be so helpless. Actually, that doesn’t do it justice.
It breaks your heart.
We couldn’t do a damn thing for this guy, this fellow soldier, this friend of ours who had been with us since the beginning.
So, we waited.
He died a couple of days after we finally got a flight home and were back in the states. I’ve been told he had a tumor but to be honest, I really don’t know much more.
But on this day, I’d like to remember him. When I look back on it I can’t help but wonder if we had been successful that he might just be alive today.
I will never know.
For you, my old good friend who went through that hellhole of a deployment with me.
You will always be with me.