“We were a klick away from the blast but god was it powerful. Everybody that wasn’t on post rushed over to the radio to hear the inevitable. And there it was. “…standby for 9-line.” Casualty was listed as routine but, you could hear in the voice of the Marine reporting…they lost a man.

My squad was tasked QRF. We moved quickly to a position about 200 meters from the blast site. My squad leader had me take my team to relieve a few Marines from the wounded squad. Another squad showed up from their platoon and a couple of their teams escorted the wounded squad back to their patrol base. They had just witnessed their squad leader get blown up and you could feel their desire to massacre the locals. Thank god they didn’t.

As we were waiting for EOD to show up, a couple other team leaders walked up to holding a roll of garbage bags and asked, painfully “would you mind helping?” They didn’t need to explain with what. Being in a leadership position means shielding your guys from as much of the ugliness as possible. I wasn’t about to subject them to that trauma. I’ll deal with the nightmares so they don’t have to. 4 of us got on line and began to police call. What we couldn’t pick up…we covered with dirt. He was the most respected and beloved squad leader in the company, and we were putting his pieces in garbage bags.

We left about 45 min later. Made it about 100 meters when I stopped. Laying in the grass was a side SAPI plate. Completely undamaged. Almost like it was dropped there. I picked it up and walked back to the blast site to hand it off. After we got back to patrol base, I volunteered to stand post on our roof to be alone with my thoughts and cry in peace. Our roof overlooked a mosque and the locals were gathering for evening prayer. The desire to open up with the 240 was unlike anything I have ever felt. I guess I still had some morality left. It’s ironic, not killing was more difficult than killing.”

– Anon Marine 2/8 Marjah, 2011.

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

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