Adventure Suspense Christian

I didn’t see this coming but here we are.

Slowly, I rise from the pile of metal, shards of glass and the heat that was so intense my face melted to the bone. But, up I struggle to rise, with knees so broken, I screamed with the effort to adjust my stance as best I could. One hand was blown off, the other shredded around my weapon.

“Wow,” is the only word I voiced as I looked around the busted hillside. In one brief moment, all hell broke loose. Vaguely, I remember landing with full force upon an IED, never doubting or questioning my choice. It was do or die for all of us in this unforeseen change of events. Now, suddenly, I’m fully upright, and stand in awe at the mess of what just happened. My body is intact and I’m in full camo gear, no injuries, looking out onto a destroyed landscape filled with clouds of smoking, burnt wood and an added horrifying smell of charred flesh. What on God’s green earth just happened?

We had an intense plan. The C130 Hercules was to target an open field with our troops on the ground within the exterior sidelines exactly where the enemy was visually on target. Something went wrong. There was a false reading and the information was off. We were made and ambushed before we had a chance to solidify our strategy and make our mark. The SAGM was heavily camouflaged in the heavy brush and the C130 took a hit and landed heavy. We scattered to keep the enemy guessing our pattern. All of us knew in the event of this ever happening what to do, where to go, how to stay and keep in touch.

Close by an abandoned building an IED blasted apart as two of my buddies took a fatal hit. With intense rage I followed, purposely zig zagging the area to take the brunt of the next catastrophic unknown pitfall. And before the next band of brothers behind me saw their end, I fell purposely on top of the next one. No regrets. And it became just another moment in time. I signed up for this unpopular war and didn’t look back. It was my turn for God and country.

Flash back to a month ago and here we were sitting pretty on this huge behemoth of a cargo jet headed to the DMZ and onward to Cambodia. Operation Menu was a covert tactical campaign in a somewhat confusing time between the war powers in Southeast Asia and the USA. We were just the boys, young men, prepped up and ready to go forward with Operation Menu. “OK! I’m in, so make it a burger, a side of fries, chocolate shake, and, oh, yeah, a fully loaded UZI to go with that.” Over the noise din of the huge aircraft, voices of our band of merry men started to sing a fitting Beatle’s tune. “Yesterday, all our troubles seemed so far away!” Not.

We failed. The mission failed. The ground and air forces moved on into the continuation of another operation with this one projecting into another country. The ones unharmed were sent home. Each was handed an empty bag and aided the transport of their fallen brothers into transfer cases. They were laid within, never to see the light of day again. I was one of them.

Heading back to the USA on the same type of jet we left on, I am standing to the side, not understanding why. Am I dead or not? I try to converse with one of my soldier buddies and he does not seem to hear me. I decide to just stay in place. I look at my hands. They are there, fully intact. My face feels fine and my uniform is unmarked from anything I was witness to and the catastrophe I most certainly endured. I’m at a loss and the tears fall.

We arrive at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland. The escort is a humbling gesture for everyone and I want to put an arm around my buddy who stood by me. With quietness and reverent appreciation, I leave the interior and walk down the gangplank to see many people waiting by the gate. Family members of all my buddies are there. I walk by them but there is no acknowledgement. It is then that I realize I am not here but over there in a transfer case. Stepping down, I am mystified by the change in the air. Clouds appear in the distance and within the mass I spy a set of stairs. Suddenly, I turn and see my mom and dad. Then my sister appears and runs over to my transfer case, sobbing and crying very loud. She is gently brought back to my parents and I cannot help but struggle to stay in place.

I understand now, that it is time to go, and with a heartfelt sigh, approach the stairs within the clouds. I sense my calling and as I start to go up there is a bearded gentle man is in the distance waving to me. Suddenly, my family and others who have just arrived are beside themselves with anger and shouts and wish to approach their soldier brother, son or father. There is a pause in the military procedure to address this. I see the bearded gentle man put his hands up cautioning me to stop and motions for me to turn around. I do as I am asked and walk back to where my buddies families are in distress. I need to say goodbye if only to stand nearby. I can only watch as the situation increases. There are more who arrive to the devastating news of who survived and who did not.

I turn back, as I need to go. My time has come and I approach the stairs once again to go up. The same friendly gentle man comes to greet me, but stops again and puts his hands up. He motions for me to turn around. I see that my parents have knelt at my transfer case and have wrapped their hands around it. My sister yells to the heavens, “Why did you take my brother! I don’t want him to go!” I am torn and bow my head. The moment passes and I turn. The clouds are full, a glow is brightly coming down and I step into the light to go upward. I am halfway to my goal when once again a cry comes to me loudly, from the crowd. My younger brother is here and is distraught. He pushes past the others, walking madly about, screaming at the way his brother was taken from them.

I cannot know how they feel and I’m at a loss on how to help. My heavenly father approaches, and guides me to the gate, but before I cross over, he smiles and with open arms sends a dove to make a statement and to ensure the people that there is hope and to promise that one day each one will meet again.

April 16, 2021 00:25

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