This was written at the advise of a doctor I had while transitioning out of the military, they said that the act of writing this and sharing it would make the nightmare stop… They lied… I still have this dream from time to time…
It’s a warm bright day; I am on patrol in southern Baghdad with my team.
I am on point, with my team fanned out in a normal formation. As we approach an intersection I clear the crossroad and signal the all clear, we cross the intersection and are heading into a more confined area where the roads are no longer paved. There’s not as much room to maneuver in but the buildings here are single level making it a little easier to monitor and clear.
A shot rings out, and I hear a loud thud to my right followed by a scream in pain. The flank elements of my team fall into cover positions to provide security. I hear someone yelling that they’ve been hit and they are down, but when I look to where the voice is coming from there’s no one there. I see blood on the ground and hear the calls for help, but cannot see anyone there. More shots ring out and there is the familiar sound of impacts around me (sounds almost like insane loud popcorn popping). I rush to cover to my right still looking for my casualty. My team begins to engage the enemy firing on us; I yell orders to the rest of the team to secure our position while trying to call for a med-evac on the radio. I start firing on the building we are taking fire from, all the while moving from position to position trying to find my casualty, I still hear him but no matter where I look I can’t find him. The enemy fire ends, and I begin searching more intensely, trying to find my missing wounded soldier. Strykers arrive to provide over watch security for us and I get the whole team searching, we clear every house and building in the vicinity and there’s no sign of the wounded soldier, just the blood where he had been standing, and the sound of his voice seemingly coming from nowhere and everywhere at the same time. Looking at the ground where he had been standing I can tell that he is seriously wounded from the amount of blood on the ground. No matter where I look I can never find him….
This is where I wake up.
At times in the dream the soldier is someone I know, at other times I know who they are in the dream but they aren’t a real person that I know. Sometimes the dream takes place in Baghdad, others the bread basket….