Jun 15, 2005

MOS 0331--Letter from a Marine

Written by my brother, whom I adore, love, and is my biggest hero:


The crosshairs of my 50-caliber sniper rifle slowly move up and down the temple of my target 450 yards away. Before I wipe the sweat from my brow with an old, dirty sock I check my watch--the time is 11:17 am. I have been sitting on hill 517 Echo for 2 days now, hot as hell, starving, and my mind is starting to wander. I check my scope, then adjust two clicks to the right to make up for windage. I place my finger on the trigger. A conglomeration of thoughts floods my head and I began my internal struggle: can I really kill this man?
I began to compose a letter in my head, the letter that will tell my family about my heroism:
“Dear sis,
Ha! I got one of those fucking ‘rag heads’ today. A 500 yd shot--his head exploded like a watermelon. All of this sniper training has paid off and your little brother is finally making these assholes pay for 9-11. I miss you guys a lot. Maybe I can bring you home an ear necklace…hahahaha. Tell everyone I love them and I’m making them proud.
Love ya, Shawn”

As I peer through the scope it hits me, does this guy I’m about to kill have a family? What kind of letter will his sister get? Does he have a wife? Kids? I don’t want to kill a family man. I want to kill a terrorist. How in the hell can I tell from 450 yards away? The truth is, I can’t tell, and my struggle begins to deepen.

I sit there, methodically drawing figure-eights on my victim’s temple with my crosshairs. I can feel the rosary in my breast pocket pushing into my chest, and it immediately brings thoughts of religion into my dilemma. How can I, a church going Christian, kill a man? A man that I have no idea has committed a wrong? Will I burn in hell for all of eternity, or is this the exception to the rule? I pray fervently for my salvation, and click off the safety on my rifle.
I correct for windage with one more click. I begin to think of what I will tell people when I get home. Will I tell them that I killed people? How will I explain to my children the difference between myself and a murderer? I don’t know if I can live with this for the rest of my life. The thought of killing coming easier after the first time scares me, and my sniper-mind begins to wonder: If I can kill a stranger, how easy would it be to kill someone at home? How pained will my mind be? I don’t know if I can live with myself if I go through with this.
I try to push the thoughts from my head as I peer down on my target. Death, dead, not living—this is the end for this man. His life and mine will be greatly changed. I check my watch one more time—11:18. I wonder, "Will the next time be easier?" I pull the trigger.

15 comments:

steelcowboy said...

Wow... all I can say is Wow...
thanks for sharing...

Anonymous said...

Go get 'em Shawn!
--Nikki

stewbie2 said...

I realize this is a little...harsh. But my brother has always written true to his emotions.

stewbie2 said...

Oh yes, and he's safe at home with his family.

steelcowboy said...

Back home is GOOD! Glad he is home..

ariadneK, Ph.D. said...

Damn, that's pretty sad to read. It does seem like he vaguely touched on a truth: a terrorist is in the eye of the beholder...what we see as "heroes" from our own country are nothing more than terrorists themselves to the other land, and vice-versa. :-(

stewbie2 said...

I like how his "letter home" gives the particular view of how the majority of Americans believe "grunts" think...and it's stuffed between a couple paragraphs of true emotional turmoil.

ariadneK, Ph.D. said...

ABSOULTELY...and that's what made it so amazing. The sheer depth of thought that took place in that single minute between taking the individual in his sight and then killing him: so many thought (and even more than what he was able to write!) went through his mind at that time that the single minute must have seemed like an eternity...

ariadneK, Ph.D. said...

BTW though, the whole link between Iraq and the Afghani 9-11 thing was tenuously proven at best, so it's sad that the troops in Iraq...as I have heard from friends stationed there...are STILL being told that there "is a link"; it's just sad to me that the lives of so many promising young people are being screwed over by a bunch of old men sitting in the WHite House and Congress who never have to spend a day in the line of fire, OR send their children into it...

(ariadneK will step off of her soap-box now)... ;-)

ariadneK, Ph.D. said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Storm Trooper said...

The mystical link was never even remotely proven. Of course, I don't live in nutsville, USA, like anybody who might believe that. What we have is the beginning of a systematic push towards neo-fscism in the United States using a new, more sophisticated form of media manipulation. Just wait...

MammaG said...

That was really well written. Does he know now that none of those people were involved with 9/11? It's disturbing how many people still believe that - especially the soldiers!

Gimpy said...

WOW! That's the best word I can use right now to describe my feelings after reading your brothers letter. I actually felt like I was there, thinking what he was thinking. Although I do not know what my actual thoughts would be in that situation, I can say that I probably would have shared the same ones as him. Amazing!!

Storm Trooper said...

Amazing? As in depressing? Or cruel?

void said...

Steph: I don't know how I missed this post, but it was exceptional - thanx for share. Been there done that - Tell bro "Semper Fi and Welcome home for me" .. Thank you!