Wednesday, July 12, 2006

The Ram's Horn

"This is it boys, this is war."
99 Luft balloons by Nena

We heard the news on Israeli Army Radio before our commander found us. We were going back into Lebanon to rescue the two soldiers kidnapped by those monsters in Hezbollah. So when he did reach us in our APC, by the look in our eyes and our silence he knew we had heard.

He spread out on the floor of the APC the map with the projected mission course and got down to business. We all clustered around him in the confines of the APC as he started to talk.

"The mission of our company is to follow up the Merkavas and clean out the buildings as we push into our AOR in southern Lebanon. We are also tasked to carefully search those buildings for any signs of the missing soldiers. I know it sounds impossible to be thorough in killing those monsters and not kill the soldiers but we have to try." He looks at each of us, mild brown eyes in a hard face, examining if we are up to the task. When the silence stretches he merely nods and then leaves us. "If that is it, got others to brief. Expect to roll out at top of hour so make sure your APC is topped off and your gear is ready." With that he walks down the troop ramp to give the same briefing to others in our company.

I glance over at Moshe and Benny, "Some vacation from Gaza." All I get are grunts from them while Nathan nervously checks his medic bag as this is his first time going into combat with us. Our new medic is a reservist who was called up when we lost Avi on patrol, Avi had been killed while responding to a child in need only to find out the child was booby-trapped by its mother.

"Knock it off Dan and get your gear ready. Everyone out and check your weapons." So growls our platoon leader. Yakov is one of the Jews who fled Russia as a child with his parents and his Hebrew still has a Russian accent along with him having a very pessimistic attitude. So we all clamber out the troop hatch at the back of the APC to inspect our weapons one more time. After finishing with my M-16 I look around and see other platoons doing the same thing, troop ramps down and everything being bathed in a pale green glow from the interior lights.

Our APC's driver cranks up its diesel engine and lets it idle to warm up. The interior lights flicker as the beast switches over from battery power. I hear Yakov yelling at the TC and the TC yelling back. Then the APC lurches into movement amidst a clatter of loose metallic sounds and I see it going to the fueling point. I glance at my watch and see we still have about thirty minutes and then I realize what time it is. We are just a few hours from dawn, so we should be inside Lebanon before breakfast. I reach into a pocket and pull out a candy bar while silently praying Shalit and the two prisoners of Hezbollah are still alive.

--Author's note. Blogger knows how to spell Hezbollah but can not spell check Merkava. Am I the only one who thinks this is very strange?

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