“I never served in combat, but a lot of my senior Marines did. I joined a battalion of fresh boots who had never seen combat, and a drop of Marines from a different battalion that was being disbanded joined us.
They were all combat veterans fresh off of a deployment from Afghanistan. I was lucky enough to be one of their roommates. We all looked up to them. They were tough, knowledgeable, but also kind of mean and sad. Frankly, I was jealous. They got to experience the litmus test of combat.
My roommate was a nice enough guy, but he had anger issues. He would come back to the room late at night super drunk and just fu*k with me. He’d throw some of my stuff around, call me names, and I felt like he just tried to scare me. I grew to hate him.
One night, he came back especially drunk. He stumbled into the room and pissed in his pants. He was just obliterated. I helped him into bed. He could barely keep his eyes open. I sat down in a chair next to his bed because I was afraid he might have alcohol poisoning and I was going to keep an eye on him.
He started moaning and crying. He kept saying a name. ‘Chris. Chris. Chris.’ He wept, in his drunken stupor. I didn’t know why he was saying that name. I slipped out of the room onto the catwalk and saw some Marines down at the smoke pit. It was late, and they were all drunk. Some of them were the veterans I mentioned.
I explained what was going on and asked who Chris was. They told me he was killed on their last deployment and that it hit everyone pretty hard. In that moment, I ceased to hate my roommate. Instead, I felt sorry for him. I respected him, but I could tell this would affect him his whole life. After that, nothing he did bothered me.”
– Anonymous US Marine. 2nd Marine Division. 2014.
This story was documented by Battles and Beers (TM) Every soldier has a story, and every story deserves to be told.