Episode 1: A Veteran’s View

5 Minutes of War


I can still taste the smoke in my mouth, like a cigar that never goes out. Between that and the dryness in my mouth, it’s hard to breath. I am trying not to focus on the feeling of dehydration, looking through my turret towards my area of responsibility. I can hear two of the other trucks still firing at fighters around us, as I stare down my aisle.

“Keith, can you grab me two more .50 cal cans, I have only a belt left up here?”

I’m not sure if I am seeing things or not, I swear that is a person peeking around the side of the building.


“Brian, I think that person is turkey peeking around that building on the left.”

Either that, or it’s something blowing in the wind. Can’t be sure, but I also can’t take any chances. I start to sight in my .50 cal, turning my turret slightly to the left to ensure I can lay down a good group.

“Watch it close, as soon as you see a weapon come around that building, light it up”

I still can’t tell what it is, but I swear it is a head peeking around and looking right into my eyes. Doesn’t he know we have literally been in a middle of a fire fight for the last two hours, and this is the worse time for him to be peeking around the corner.


“3 o’clock, three people with ak’s”

Turret to the right, pull down on the handles of the machine gun, and and press the butterfly with my thumbs. No time to sight in, I just need to get rounds down range.

Hold the gun steady, and get the entire belt of rounds in the area I want them. Carefully, as I am running low and need to ensure that this belt hits it’s mark.

“Keith, I need the two cans, I just finished this belt”


Nothing else coming from that direction, but crap, what about the turkey peeker. Rotate back to the left and find that building


The propelled grenade ricochets off the ground on the left and bounces up towards the sky. Damn, he was turkey peeking, and my belt is dry. Looks like the dismounted guys on the left are laying down some fire.

Finally, a set of hands passes up a can of .50 cal rounds. I have never reloaded a machine gun so fast. The guy with the RPG is gone, but can always come back.


“LCpl Sabins, grab this radio”

I do a quick sweep with my eyes in front of me, before I get ready to bend over and grab the handset. This has to start slowing down soon, we have been at this for a while.

Adjust my weapon so it remains aiming down range, and I bend my head over to grab the handset from the voice calling me. I can easily throw it inside my helmet, and stand back up to watch my area while listening.

Where is the handset, there, to the right. I reach my hand out to grab it.

I hear this sound like a gunshot going off right beside my head. Then nothing.

A few moments later, or longer, I am laying down inside the truck wondering what happened. Someone yelling my name, shouting things like “Sabins was shot by a sniper” and “Right through the kevlar”

This is war!

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