Our Company had just been assigned to assist security efforts of Brigade engineer assets constructing a TI between two towns in our AO. At the time it was merely an approx. 70m x 70m square of hescos with an approx. 6m moat around with run ups in 3 corners and an ECP. Not much but it became home frequently. We worked in three shifts, one manning towers and ECP, one assisting just outside with the engineers, and one cleaning/resting.

It was my first shift, still early on in the (my first) deployment, and I was still wide-eyed excited about each and every “mission”. About an hour into my shift it became fairly obvious to us a large crowd of MAMs were approaching from the western town hoisting a platform of some kind. We watched with anticipation as the gaggle approached to within 25m of the ECP. Our WSL, my TL and a few of us with our terp approached asking what they wanted.

From within the crowd the men carrying the platform, which was now evidently a bed, emerged and threw the bed down. Sprawled out on the bed was half of a child who was no more than 5 or 6. His torso was halved, as if someone had taken a hacksaw from his left shoulder down to his groin. What stood out the most was what was left of his heart hanging out onto the bed. This was the first corpse I have ever seen.

What became of the matter was known to those above my paygrade. All I recall was the group was attempting to claim ISAF mortars has fallen upon the boy and our side claiming he stepped on one of their IEDs. That matters not as, despite what this lad may have grown into, he could grow no longer. It’s been nearly 10 years and like many others, the imagery remains just as vivid now as it did through the eyes of a 19-year-old.

– Anonymous US Soldier. C CO 1-23 INF, 3-2 SBCT. FOB Zangabad, Horn of Panjwai, Kandahar Province OEF ’12.

This story was documented by Battles and Beers. Every soldier has a story, and every story deserves to be told.

This story, and hundreds more like it are now available in my book, “What War Did To Us” on Amazon. Check the link on my page.