From the Soldier side: When you read a story written by somebody who writes really well, you can often gain a sense of what they are telling in their story. I have often read a book by one of my favorite writers who writes about military or police work, and I have said: “Yeah, I know exactly what this person is writing about.” They can describe people, places and events with such clarity that you think you are there. I am not that good. In this story about our mission on the US/ Mexican borders, there are some things that I don’t know if I’ll do them justice…or injustice.
The first Monday we arrived on the border, we were still trying to get organized. I guess in the interest of saving time, we staged our base camp very close to the border of Mexico. If it were a war zone, we would have been within easy small arms range of the enemy. Not a good location I thought. But, being close to where we were working did save some time.
Day 1. We were transported to the area we were going to build a base camp in Ford passenger vans. When we got to the base site, we found an odd assortment of Army Engineering equipment and vehicles. Some of it dated back to the 1950’s. For the most part, everything did run, but some items were going to take a lot of work from mechanics who knew what they were doing.
As soon as I got out of the nice, plush, air conditioned van, I was almost overcome by the stench. It smelled like a mix of human waste, toxic chemical waste and I’m not sure what else. I find it almost impossible to describe with my limited English vocabulary what the smell was like. I would never experience any smell like that again---until I went to Iraq. Shit was the one word I would use to describe it all. Bad Shit. Really, really bad, bad, bad Shit. The kind of smell that almost makes you want to gag and puke.
For those troops who’ve been to places like Iraq, you are now having bad memories. Sorry.
To be Cont.