D60AB127-0373-4B56-8D5E785C8F1DC3ADAn Army Sergeant married with two children deploys for the first time December 2005. His wife and children shed tears of sadness while the sergeant waves good bye and mounts the plane headed to Kuwait where he will prepare with his unit to deploy to Iraq. The first two weeks in Kuwait were very hard for both the sergeant and his family. That feeling of your chest caving in while missing your family dearly and the same for the family. Sergeant calls his family just days before rolling out to Iraq without giving his family specifics to not have them worry.

Family: Two weeks pass and no phone call from the sergeant which has his family extremely worried. His wife calls the rear detachment commander to find out what’s going on and he assures her that all is ok. Another week passes and still no phone call from the sergeant. Day in and day out the wife weeps, laying in her bed feeling hopeless and looks her kids in the eyes with a firm face to tell them everything is just fine.

Sergeant: The sergeant and his unit roll into Iraq. Heart pounding, adrenaline rushing, hyped up on Rip Its and ready to engage. Everyone is on high alert as they begin to roll into Baghdad and know that something is bound to happen. Soldiers know and always have that gut feeling right before something is about to go down. Right before climbing an over-pass, they notice dead silence in that area. No population or traffic flow. Immediately they stop the convoy and take a glance around to see if they notice anytihng. Nothing is seen but they all still have that gut feeling. Convoy Commander orders the convoy to keep moving but proceed with caution. First vehicle passes and makes it through the over-pass but the second vehicle was not so lucky. IED blasts through the vehicle and immediately ambushed with bullets flying in from every direction.

The sergeant was in the first vehicle which passed without harm but his best friend was in the second truck. Sergeant exits the vehicle and begins to return fire as he makes his way towards the second vehicle to recover the soldiers in that vehicle with no luck. They have all passed away and the vehicle is now buring to ashes. Three of his buddies in that vehicle including his best friend and it took everything he had to keep it together in order to get his men out of there alive. Two weeks pass and the family of one of the three soldiers that has passed has not been notified because the command cannot get a hold of them. Immediately the unit is in BLACK status which means no communication means back home.

After three long weeks the sergeant is finally able to call home and his wife is relieved that he is ok. She learns about the death of his best friend and other buddies in that vehicle and mourns with the sergeant as she knew them as well. 10 months pass and the sergeant is ready to head back home to his family. Everyone is excited to get the hell out of country and on that plane back home. All is well and all the soldiers come home to a welcoming ceremony. The sergeant rejoins with his family and are the happiest they’ve ever been in their lives. It’s the best feeling anyone can feel when coming home after a year long deployment and being around dudes for a year along with being in a filthy country.

The unit is granted three weeks of leave to be with their family and friends. Sergeant and family enjoy their time together but he begins to mourn again over loseing his best friend and other buddies. His wife is clueless as to what’s going on because he hides his emotions very well. She did notice that he was different but felt it was normal for a soldier to come back this way. Thought that maybe he’ll snap out of it, he never does. He continues to go to work and back home as normal with no signs of depression but does have anger issues. All the men in the unit were the same so it was normal. No buddies to talk to anymore, mourning over his best friend and so he shuts down socially. No one saw the signs because no one really knew him that well to know he was different other than his wife. The soldiers in his unit just thought he was being his usual asshole self especially the new guys. Even the sergeant felt it was normal for him to be this way. His wife can no longer take this kind of behavior from him so she divorces him, takes the kids and all the things they had together.

The sergeant now alone, has more time to think, gets depressed and all the memories running through his mind over and over again. How could he have changed the situation to be different from how it happened? Should it had been him in that vehicle and not his buddies? I’m a loser, my wife left me and I’m useless now. There’s no purpose for me in this world anymore; I can’t take this pain any longer.

The sergeant reaches in the closet, pulls out his handgun and sits in his empty living room floor.With a bottle of Jack Daniels and a pack of cigarettes ¾ of the way done he carries on to put the handgun to his head.

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