March 21, 2004
We woke early yesterday to sit around and wait until the afternoon to leave. We had a church service and a briefing, but nothing seemed to calm our anxious nerves.
At 1430, the convoy of 128 vehicles and 350+ Marines rolled out. Our destination was NAVStar, the Kuwaiti / Iraqi border. We knew that we were still in safe territory so we just enjoyed the ride. At 1630, we arrived at NAVStar and began our rest period.
Today at 0000, revelie was sounded. We were to be ready to leave by 0200. We left at 0230, cold and nervous. It was dark and I couldn’t see squat. I thought I saw a man running. That was the first time my heart stopped and my adrenaline pumped since we’ve been in the country. It was nothing, though.
The first leg was very cold and long. Once the sun came up, it was nice even with all the gear on. It was amazing. As the sun came up, we made a much needed pit stop on the side of the road. Imagine a hundred Marines getting out of their vehicles, moving to the side of the road and commencing to relieve themselves. The best part was that the light from the sun coming up was just right, and as I looked down the road, I saw dozens and dozens of sparkling fountains coming from undetailed figures. It was glorious! What a sight.
I waved at a lot of the Iraqi people and stayed alert the whole time. Once the sun came up, I was ready to engage the enemy, but he never came.
We arrived at Scandia Firm Base at about 1400 and stopped for the night. Nerves are really on edge now. The word is that we have about 80 miles more until we get to Mech Camp. We will begin going through towns now. There is a 12 kilometer stretch where every convoy has been getting hit—hit with mortars, small arms fire, and RPGs. Everyone is in focus mode now.
Mike and Justin are scared. I can tell. Hell, I am, too. We are in the lion’s den. Mike’s attitude isn’t as lax and funny. He’s smoking cigarettes one after the other and wouldn’t even go to the chow hall—he thought he would lose his focus—so he ate an MRE. Justin seems calm but jumpy, trying to keep his spirits high, but he’s on edge.
As for me, I have mixed emotions. This life on earth is only a test before eternity, but what if I do die tomorrow? I haven’t served the Lord like I should have yet. There’s more I want and need to do for him. This also gives me a faith in the Lord that he will have bigger and better plans for me after seven months. But I also don’t want to be injured. That sounds almost selfish, but I call it human. I love Tristen—and I’m pissed off that he lost his leg—but I don’t want to end up like him. Forgive me, Lord.
Tomorrow I will see combat. Am I ready? We’ll find out. Praise God for his justice and protection. I’m scared, but I ignore that by imagining the fight and well, believing that I’m a badass, which I couldn’t be without God. May it be for God’s glory, tomorrow.
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