Today, on the 100th day of our deployment, the true cost of war hit home. While I did not know the Soldier who died personally, it is still a loss that is felt, especially from the relative safety of our compound. It goes to show that there is still a human cost to this war, and though our piece of it is insignificant, we are all affected somehow by the loss of a fellow Soldier. It really puts all the other insignificant worries or concerns in perspective.
My day started out pretty poorly; I overslept and missed breakfast and arrived late to work. Upon reaching work, I was having difficulty logging on the workstation to do my usual browsing of Wikipedia and checking of e-mails, and annoyed that I had to sit in the supply room and listen to Grandma watch “Nip/Tuck” episodes that she has a hard time understanding. I snuck away to the Trans office to kill some time, watched some “Black Hawk Down” and Gangster kill some Guitar Hero. After returning to the supply room, the computer was still not letting me log on, so I called the Help Desk for assistance and confirmed that the network was down. No big deal really. It just meant that I had to find something else to do for the remainder of the shift.
I had some feelings about why we were cut off from the outside world, though this was the first time it had happened while we were here. But the Army usually only cuts communication when there has been a casualty and they have yet to notify next of kin. This turned out to be the case, and the Soldier will be departing tonight for his return to the states. Unfortunately I will not be on shift when this occurs, but it is still something that is felt.
I am unaware of the circumstances surrounding the casualty, or where the Soldier came from or what he did. I have a name and a rank and that is all. Again, though the Soldier is someone I don’t know personally and probably never met, he is a casualty nonetheless. In a war in which we have long since ceased “major combat operations,” it is a real-life reminder of the true cost of war. His family was notified sometime over the past 24 hours that their son/father/brother/husband is coming home, but not in the way that all family members hope for. If I believed in a god, I would pray to them to comfort the family in their time of grief, and to ease their pain as much as possible.
Until next time…