Thursday, June 26, 2008

PFC Andre Craig Jr remembered

one year ago today, PFC Andre Craig Jr was killed by an EFP (Explosively Formed Projectile) while being a gunner for Bravo 2-7, the second to last vehicle in our convoy, headed back to the main FOB. It was not a raid, a supply mission, or even a patrol. It was simply "going home". No matter what the circumstances this man's death was a tragity, no matter how you slice it.

Iraq had become a firestorm of controversy. Some folks say that we should get out, that we went because of a lie, or just plain that war is wrong. I have watched (from Baghdad) the war protests that seemed all too familiar, and I watched from afar as this good man (somehow) became a small political rally cry. His parents took his last conversation, the day before he died the wrong way. WillieBo was there and told me that he was explaining having to pull security on the COP 24/7, which his family took somehow to mean that he was going on a 24 hour patrol, and that somehow we were going to go on another 24 hour patrol. Apparently there was an investigation and it was published in the local paper. LT Hammel showed it to me, and it hurt.

I don't care how you feel about the war. I have a lot of feelings about it myself, but that doesn't preclude people from supporting the troops. I have no problem with a person speaking out against the war, but I always hate how every single war protest seems to make it seem like the soldiers aren't doing it right or that it is somehow the grunt's fault. The truth is that it's so complex that there is no one person at fault and the political leadership is just as much to blame as the folks with a shit load of brass on their collars.

Being a part of the "surge" and seeing at the same time live, how people were reacting to the war it hurt. Worse, the day Craig died, there was a 45 min peace on Paris Hilton's woes and all he got was a "two seprat incidents in and around Baghdad" type of report. It was infuriating.

But something I regret to this day was telling Craig to "hurry up and die" while he was playing Company of Heroes. He and WillieBo had a 4 hour game, and I'd played it all of once. I think that's the last thing i said TO Craig. All I have to do is close my eyes and I can see Fig holding on to him telling him he's going to be ok, or the labored way he was breathing. I can still "hear" the clicking sound comming from the Aid station as the 1/504 medics tried to do CPR to save him. Was it worth it? I don't know. Ask me in 20 years.

I will say this, I would trade 10,000 Jaysh al-Mahdi "fighters" for just one Andre Craig Jr. If this war is all about oil i hope we pillage the shit out of that piss-ant country. I hope those smug hippie liberal douche bags feel superior when they fill their gay ass car up. I hope every time someone pumps a gallon of gas, they hear that awful wet snoring sound as he tried to breath.

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