“The first time I saw a dead body, I was 19 on my first deployment in Iraq 2005. It was like a dark scene out of a movie. A woman was holding a dead child with brains all over her garments. Her husband lay dead on the ground with half his brains scattered on the asphalt, half on his passenger window. We had to bag the bodies and toss them in the 7-ton like roadkill.
After I stacked the second body on top of the first, my buddy ‘Carl’ handed me his digital camera. ‘Governale, take a picture.’ he said. Considering both bodies were already in body bags, the request came across as nothing less than some serial killer sh*t. I declined, but Carl insisted. ‘Governale, take the f*cking picture.’ I pushed back. ‘Dude, I really don’t want to take a picture.’ ‘Stop being such a p*ssy! Hurry up, I’ve got security.’ I paused with a sigh. (Sound of body bag unzipping) ‘Carl. Hurry the f*ck up.’
The deceased man was missing an eye, yet his other eye was looking at me and he had his mouth open. I clenched my jaw and held the camera steady. As the camera made a beeping sound, the flash gleamed off his brains. Carl laughed. ‘Haha you’re going to burn in hell.’ Out loud, I said ‘Ohhh.’ As morbid as it sounds, that was the most dark, yet comical moment of my life. I handed him the camera and we finished the mission.
Upon our return to base, Marines from my section were gathered in a circle. Carl pulled out the camera and said ‘Want to see what sick f*ck Governale took a pic of?’ I started laughing, but Carl kept his bearing. He didn’t crack a smile, looked at me and nodded his head in disgust; as he passed the camera off to Marines. Members of my platoon were saying sh*t like, ‘Why the hell would you take a picture of a dead guy?’ I responded with, ‘Oookay I’m the weirdo.’ but everyone ganged up on me.
The infantry is a unique place, filled with dark humor; with individuals from all broken walks of life.”
-Justin Governale. US Marines. Iraq 2005.
Battles and Beers acquired this story from Justin himself. As we always say here, every soldier has a story, and every story deserves to be told.