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.