A CONVERSATION WITH...
That being said, there’s also the downtime. Sometimes there’s a lot of lulls in action where it’ll be like two weeks of nothing. And then you start getting complacent. But you start getting anxious as well, because you’re used to a high pace and enemy activity and now there’s nothing. All that builds up. To be in combat is to be on an emotional rollercoaster. You’re up and down so much it gets to the point where you’re so desensitized to feelings by the time you get done, it’s once again, going back into that zombie mode. I’ll tell you a little story. The last day of our deployment in Husaybah, we got relieved by an incoming unit. And they gave us the option to drive through the city, which would take us about 30-40 minutes to get to the main camp, Al Asad, and fly out. Or to go through the desert, which would take us two to three hours to get to the main camp. But the likelihood of us getting hit going through the desert is much less than us getting hit on the main streets. So everyone unanimously voted to go through the desert. We didn’t care how long we were going to stay in the desert, because we knew if we chose the city some of us might not come home. And on our last day, it would have been a tragedy. That was the quietest ride I think I’ve ever had with anyone. Everyone’s pale-faced, stone-faced and staring at each other waiting for the inevitable. We thought we were going to get hit. That’s how often we got hit. It was pretty emotionally tiring. That’s what combat is.
you have to suck up and push deep-down inside the pit of your stomach and hang on to it because you have to do it. There’s no not doing it. And the “pucker factor” was at an all-time high every time you left the wire. Because you never knew if you were coming back or not. That’s how crazy it was. We had guys getting killed and injured every week. It was ridiculous. We had mortar fire in our small base two times a week at least, three times. Sometimes it was just a little bit more excessive. it gets to the point where you’re so desensitized to feelings by the time you get done, it’s once again, going back into that zombie mode. To be in combat is to be on an emotional rollercoaster. You’re up and down so much
Hank Blaustein | © 2017 Grant’s Interest Rate Observer. Used by permission. www.GrantsPub.com
90 | December 2017
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