Friday, April 16, 2010

Did I ever see a Taliban fighter.......

As soon as you heard the alarm, you dived onto the floor, as you were laying there, face down in the dust, you knew you were out in the open, no blast walls to cover you, no bunker near by, your heart started to beat faster, if you had any emotions at that moment, you would have been close to tears with fear. A loud explosion in the distance, you breathed a sigh of relief, it wasn't your turn this time, but you knew someone else wasn't so lucky.

The man who was sat in the isle seat had clearly been through this before, you asked him, he said he was on his fourth tour, an infantry soldier, married, with a two year old baby girl.  Even now you remember his face, because you knew then that he was going to do something that you will never have the courage to do, the bravery to do. You tried to sleep, but after a few minutes you realised it wasn't happening, you were sure it was due to the can of red bull you had drank just before getting on the plane.

You had been feeling sick most of the journey, you didn't know whether this was due to the fact that you hate flying, or that you were scared of the unknown, eventually you managed to settle down with an autobiography, written by the second most beautiful woman in the world.

The lad who was sat next to you looked about the same age as you, he clearly hadn't done this before because he looked as white as a bed sheet, like he was going to be sick all over the floor at any moment, and he was shaking as he tried to put his helmet chin strap on. He was laughing as he was trying, but not like he was finding it amusing. You told him to calm down, and take deep breaths, he told you he had only been in the job for twelve months, and didn't expect to be heading out to Helmand so soon. You are immune to having any feelings, but if you weren't, you would have been scared for him.

As you sat in the pitch dark, the plane descended, and you suddenly realised you were in the window seat and therefore, foolishly you thought, were most likely to be hit by surface to air small arms fire, you turned to the young lad next to you, tapped him on the arm, and said to him in disbelief:

'What the fuck are we doing here?'

'What for? Did I ever see a Zulu walk down a City road? No! So what am I doing here?'

Private Henry Hook, Zulu.

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