“As a rifleman you’re trained to kill. From your first moments at boot camp you eat sleep and breathe ‘kill kill kill’. You’re almost brain washed in such a way that you just feel more than a desire, but a need to kill the enemies of the United States.
I got my opportunity in Afghanistan when I was 19. I remember it clear as day. We were patrolling when we got caught in an ambush. My squad leader directed my fire team to maneuver on a compound with enemy Talibs inside of it.
I could hear our machine guns suppressing the walls and any crevice that a rifle could poke out of. We came to a gap in the wall and there he was. I was about 30 meters from the gap when he appeared. I saw his rifle, then I saw his face. Immediately I raised my rifle and fired into him.
The Marine to my left fired as well, and when our enemy fell, it wasn’t like the movies. He gave out a little yelp and sort of just…collapsed into himself and hit the ground. I ran past his body as we entered the compound and saw his eyes were still open, staring up at me.
After we had cleared the compound of Talibs I and another Marine went back to the body of the man we had shot. I looked into the dead boys eyes again and something in me just broke. I said I had to go take a piss and I went behind a wall and wept. I wept for that guys mother. I wept for me. And I wept for the both of us being forced into that position.
The Marine Corps teaches you to take lives, but it doesn’t teach you how to live with it afterwards. War is a racket and the worst thing we have ever invented.”
– Anonymous US Marine. 1st Battalion 6th Marines. Marjah Afghanistan, 2010.
This interview was conducted by Battles and Beers (TM) The Marine who submitted this story requested to remain anonymous. We will respect his wishes. As we always say here at Battles and Beers: Every soldier has a story, and every story deserves to be told.