Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Yeoman in the 'Stan: Chapter IV

Our fourth report from out Battle Yeoman in Afghanistan. A new business idea, perhaps - Kevlar on a Rope?

In all seriousness though, this does remind us of one thing. There is no rear area - and we have Sailors of all ratings putting themselves on the front lines so the rest of us can raise our families in peace.


The rest of the post is his.


In boot camp, our RDCs always kept us from taking "Hollywood Showers." We'd get, at most, five minutes; in and out. Last night, I took my sweet time in the shower.

What must have been 10 minutes into my shower, the rocket alarm went off. There is nothing more perplexing than being in your birthday suit when you're supposed to lay flat on the deck and cover your head. As soon as I heard it, I crouched in the shower covering my ears and looking down. Not even 15 seconds later all I heard was a incredibly loud popping sound, like a paper bag makes. Then water spraying before I got to the cut off valve feeding the water heater, I could see this because the shower curtain blew in. I knew the rocket landed damn close.

My old DCC would be proud: My first instinct was to secure the flooding. But, I did not have my plugging kit and the break was before the valve. I stayed down in the shower until I heard someone else come into the head. All that was running through my head was that this actually happened. In the KAF lottery I got 4 out of 5 numbers right. Once I knew someone else had come into the head, I stepped out of the shower, grabbed my towel, cloths, shower kit and walked out of the head, bewildered looks on all the faces as I walked by a towel to my berthing.

There was a quarter inch of water on the deck and rising. We had a rupture on the 2 inch potable water main before the valve. We still had power. All personnel were evacuated from the affected space at this time. No casualties reported. In relation to my position: Hit alfa, starboard side forward. I was ~15 feet from impact.

High dusting in an environment that has sand analogous to moon dust is basically a moot point. The over pressure created from the rocket kicked up all the dust and set off fire alarms. With that amount of dust kicked up, it has a palpable smell to it: Kind of like chalk. I walked through the p-way to my room and got dressed. Nothing yet had really settled in. It turns out that there, even here the morning after, is nothing to settle in.

Perhaps there hasn't been enough time yet, I don't know. I feel kind of strange, though. I am not shaken, distraught or the like. I just wish I got to shoot back. The one thing that did occur to me last night is that I am Schrödinger's cat. Almost all of us out here in Afghanistan are.

The box is the strategy chosen by our leaders. The radiation is the efforts of our enemy. Once this war is over is when we open the box and find out if the cat is alive or dead. I've read a lot online concerning the critiques of the strategy we have chosen out here. I can see and understand the efficacy of our strategy. But, I don't like the analogy I am now able to make. I am too proactive to like being confined as I am. I want to shoot back. I want to help plan the effort to secure all the locations they fire these rockets from. I want to help pour the concrete that makes the T-barriers that protect our berthings. Please, I've proven myself under fire (for the most part) can I do more, now?

Once the reaction teams made it to the scene, EOD made sure there was no UXO in the area. I was standing there looking at where the rocket impacted, someone mentioned to them I was in the shower. The EOD OIC said to me, "You're a lucky guy." I repeat: An EOD guy said to a YN he was a lucky guy...

Damn. Find a guy who won the Powerball, and have something happen to you that will make him tell you you're a lucky guy; that's the level this sentiment is on.

I need to know how I am more than a possibly alive, possibly dead cat in a box. I need to be reassured of that. I am looking to my leaders in their deeds--not words, to do that for me. For once in my life, I can look my leaders in the eye and tell them they owe something to me. And that's all that I want, is to be shown that I am more than that cat in a box.

17 comments:

DeltaBravo said...

The fact you're able to contemplate quantum physics mere minutes after almost being blown to smithereens counts for a lot in this world.  You are not a victim of fate and with a mind like that, never will be.  Unlike the cat in the box, you have input into your status.  Stay safe.  Godspeed.  I'll pray for you, Yeoman.  Thanks for sharing this.

harp1034 said...

Here Kitty,Kitty, Kitty! Years from now you can tell your grandchildren about this. In the meanwhile consider yourself a lucky bastard and continue to do your duty.

ewok40k said...

there is one sure thing about Schroedingers Cat: it is very angry and ready to scratch anyone who will let him out of the box :P

MR T's Haircut said...

And you thought all you were gonna do is write awards and Evals...

Kristen said...

What a great report!  Good luck and God bless.

Mary Alpha said...

May God bless this yeoman and all who serve with him.

xformed said...

MTH's mind isn't going...I saw that, too....and now you know showering can be a deadly endeavour, too.

Glad to hear you're fine.

AW1 Tim said...

  yeah, me too. Considering your luck, you might have played more with your money in Vegas...  :)

AW1 Tim said...

  heh... Navy guy's first thoughts are damage control, stop the flooding.

  You'll do all right, shipmate. When you get back, I'll be happy to buy a few rounds.

bc said...

...may that day come, where it is revealed to you that you are indeed, much more than that cat in a box.

雅馨 said...

原來這世上能跟你共同領略一個笑話的人竟如此難得 ............................................................

Byron said...

Hang in there, YN, and remember folks like these are your sanity lifeline to the World. You'll get through this, and there'll be life after the Sandbox. You'll get back to your ship (which I know for a fact is being worked on by some very experienced, very dedicated people) and all will be right with the world.

BTW, You ever going to put a chit in for OCS? I happen to think you'd make a pretty damn good officer.

MR T's Haircut said...

If it were not such a waste of a perfectly good enlisted man! (Forrest Gump's Drill SGT)

Desert Sailor said...

The "wonders" of IDF. Between that lotto and "happy fire" sure makes one wonder eh?  Great report YN2, keep em coming and keep your head down!!  Love the DC AAR too!!

Krishna said...

The IDF came close but never that close and I was always worried it would and if it did get me, I'd never know would I.  I'm so glad you were spared my friend.  I need to see you change the world for the better.  No lottery winning for you.

sid said...

You're the future of the USN YN....

sid said...

Forgot to mention that you are the latest in a long lineage of dusty booted Squids...

Be Safe.