Monday, March 08, 2010

The Easiest Pull, eh Sergeant?

A fellow veteran I knew and worked with has Gone West. It was not a good ending: guns and booze.

Always a bad mix, Sergeant, even for the 'stable'. But when it was The Time, aesthetics be damned, damn you all, something along those lines was it, Sergeant? HST had the bad taste to do it while talking to his Missus on the 'phone, a final manipulation. You were alone and in that one step up from a hootch you lived in, not a better place. Hell is other people or oneself sometimes, Sergeant.

I knew something was up when last I saw you, standing in the break room doorway just looking, no words where we usually had some.Every man has his limit, and I could tell, could smell,you had reached yours. You grilled me on heart attacks before; you were a medic once, you knew this stuff. You sat and conversed like a reasonable man, but reason not the need , eh, Sergeant? That was before the final slip to bottom , a bottom I have no knowledge of, what snakes were there? Like those in Panama, Sergeant? Panama: another time and place.You had a mission, Sergeant, is that what held you together? I know the feeling. Damn you. Bless you; too late, innit Sergeant? RIP.


Barrett Bonden said...

I believe we have a cultural difference, here. "Pull" for you, for me "squeeze" (though you needn't take the word of an ex-radio kit repairer who, after the UK equivalent of boot camp, was rarely required to take up a weapon of individual destruction). In recent years it has been recognised that shooting the heads off people is not a natural activity; the headless one gets interred but the one left with a head supposedly intact is left to wander, like the Flying Dutchman. Some soldiers now get counselled, although how they react to an organisation that previously preached "Gung ho" and is now saying "There, there." I have no idea. You observed, recorded and reflected on this tragedy and that's some kind of memorial. But there are many others who will slip through the cracks of an uncaring society and be forced to embrace total oblivion. Isn't it odd that our valedictory remark towards the dead is in a language that has itself died.

Relucent Reader said...

Thank you, BB.
I chose 'pull' rather than the more correct 'squeeze' to evoke the quickness, the desperation of such a deed.
Individuals on firing ranges on both sides of the Atlantic are reminded to squeeeeeeeze rather than pull, whether the round is 7.62 or 105mm. I have seen the latter heading into Canada because the trigger was pulled (not my crew, whew, all that paperwork)...
As to societies treatment of veterans, well, Kipling is still right.
Words fail me when people apply Rule .303 to themselves.
There are other facets to this event which I did not get into. Perhaps some other day: last night I was typing on gut,never good.
Today I am going to eat my sandwich outside in the sun, looking West. Light is good;the Night is long.

The Crow said...

I'm sorry you lost your friend this way, RR.

I knew a guy, a jarhead, at Charleston Naval Hospital, who tried to die every time he had weekend leave, usually at the hands of the local yokels. He had carried a wounded buddy back to safety in a firefight, only to discover that his friend had bled out during the short jog and died. Like a lot of fellas who had similar experiences (losing friends right next to him), he suffered survivors guilt and was full of rage at everyone and everything.

I learned his story when the MPs brought him into the ER when I had weekend duty one time. He had old wounds from previous battles, from 'Nam and from in and around Charleston.

Sounds like Sarge had had enough. I'm sorry for all those he left behind this way. Now they're wounded, too.