Clear Thoughts Essay Research Paper Clear thoughts

Clear Thoughts Essay, Research Paper

Clear thoughts

As I reflect upon my experience in the Persian Gulf War I can recall

the fighting all too clear. The time was 2110 hours on 16 January

1991. The ground war had been underway for five days and I was

mentally exhausted. My platoon had been assigned the duty of

clearing bunkers. During the last portion of our briefing we were given

explicit instructions to ensure that we all made it back alive. We were

also instructed to take prisoners if we could, if not, do what you

were trained to do, ?kill?. Those orders will always remind me of the

reason I am alive today.

Within minutes of receiving our order we were headed to what was

going to be a turning point in my life, front line combat. After walking

almost an hour a member of my team detected movement about one

hundred meters straight ahead. I halted my squad, grabbed the radio

from Pvt. Tucker and warned the remainder of my platoon. I

whispered into the handset, ? Rock six, Rock six, this is, rock two

Charlie, we have positive contact?. Without hesitation, the

commander ordered us to engage. Sparing no hesitation on my part, I

directed two members of my squad to wait at the right side of the

bunker, the other three men were to follow me. We dropped into the

prone position onto the cold, wet, Saudi Arabian sand and began to

crawl toward the left side of the bunker. While crawling, I realized

that we could be killed within seconds; it was my job as squad leader

to insure that wouldn?t happen. Was it fear, excitement, or perhaps a

mere lapse in concentration? I wasn?t certain if I could, or even had

the time to weigh the feelings I was having. I halted my men,

regained my focus and re-clarify the importance of our mission. Upon

completion of our final plan of attack we continued to crawl toward

our objective.

As we approached the bunker, I realized that it was not only a

bunker, but a trench line as well. I crawled back and radioed the

commander of my findings. He began to repeat his last order, ?Rock

two Charlie, engage your objective?, when a new order was given.

That order was to send one man inside to investigate. At that very

minute, my world stood still. I had to make a decision. Which one of

my warrior brothers was going to be the unlucky man? The decision

was simple, I?ll send myself. Without notifying the commander, I slid

into the trench as silent as I could possibly be. Once inside the

trench, I looked to my right and then to my left. No one was there,

at least not in the trench. I began to move toward the bunker when

an Iraqi soldier, like a ghost appearing out of a fog, stepped out of

the bunker. I knew that our orders were to take prisoners?, but the

decision was his; would he die today, or would he surrender? With

one look at the American flag sewn on the left sleeve of my uniform,

he laid down his rifle. I motioned for him to walk towards me and to

climb out of the trench. With his hands above his head he proceeded

up the side of the trench, only to be detained by my men.

My mission wasn?t over yet; I still had to clear the bunker and survey

the remainder of the trench. I began to move toward the bunker at a

slow and steady pace. As I approached the entrance of the bunker, I

noticed a soldier lighting a cigarette. Taking full advantage of the

light provided by the match, I could make out three figures standing

in the darkness, there were no weapons in sight. Without delay I said

a short prayer and committed to the task at hand. I ran inside

shouting some words that I understood to be their native language.

But the men simply stood there looking at me with tears in their eyes.

In disbelief I shoved one of the men against the wall of the bunker.

The other men ran up to the wall and stood next to their friend. Their

surrender was in parallel to the hundreds that had surrendered the

night before. While inside the bunker, I visually inventoried the

contents. I was surprised to find twenty-four large wooden boxes

containing enough explosive material to level two city blocks. After

my brief inspection of the bunker I thought to myself about the

pathetic condition of our so-called enemy and how eager they were

to lay down their arms and surrender.

Later that night, I sat and pondered the evening?s chain of events. I

recalled the brief lapse in concentration that had saved our lives. If I

would have ordered the destruction of the bunker, or had I chosen

another man to enter the trench, the entire platoon could have been

vaporized by twelve tons of explosives stored inside.

I am so grateful to have remembered the advise of my grandfather.

Gramps always said, ?Son, take your time with the difficult tasks

because when you rush you act with haste, so slow down and think

things through?. This time his advice really paid off!


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