Brendon o'byrne's war diary

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Information about Brendon o'byrne's war diary

Published on March 9, 2014

Author: alvinchen977

Source: slideshare.net

KEEP OUT – DO NOT TOUCH

Dear Diary, Things have been going downhill lately. While I was fighting the Afghan War, my “younger sister, Courtney, had been badly burned in a house fire” (200). When her conditions had just finally took a turn for the better, I received news from a friend in the Army that something bad had happened to First Platoon on Rock Avalanche. He wouldn’t tell me the truth or meet my eyes. It took some digging around but I “finally found out that Rougle, Brennan, and Mendoza were dead” (200). They were such great men and now they are gone. Gone forever from my life. They told me that First Platoon was the first to be ambushed by the Taliban fighters. An enormous firefight had erupted and my men were caught in a wall of lead. While they were out their fighting for our country, I was resting by a hospital bed. I feel like I should’ve done something to save them, but after all, I couldn’t have left my sister to die could I? I’m not sure if I should go back but I have to. “Those are my boys. Those are the best friends I’ll ever have” (202). O’Byrne

Dear Diary, Today the Taliban tried to attack us again and we fended them off once again. That was all no surprise because we had eavesdropped on their radio communications and we had saw it coming for a while now. However, a few hours after the battle, the Scouts had radioed in and said that there was a single lone Afghan fighter without legs crawling around on the mountainside. They said that the man finally bled to death on the mountainside, searching for his legs. When we heard this, the whole of First Platoon had cheered wildly. I contributed my own cheers but something didn’t feel right in my body. My friend Steiner told me that, “the cheering comes from knowing that that’s someone we’ll never have to fight again…we were cheering because we just stopped someone from killing us. That person will no longer shoot at us anymore” (236). I suppose he is right and I should be happy that that is one less enemy to deal with. Still, it didn’t feel morally and ethically right to me to cheer for the death of somebody else. I feel like my body is lost in confusion. O’Byrne

Dear Diary, I don’t know if I should stay in the Army much longer. I would never admit this to anyone but the catch phrase before every patrol, “’Okay, who's going to die today?’” (271), really scares me. I mean nothing scares me, not even combat or fighting scares me. Hell, I pick a fight when I get bored. But for some reason, not knowing when and where you could die really frightens me. I’ve been in the Army ever since I got out of lockup for attacking my father. Only now, with so much death around me, I’ve realized how easily I could have died. “You think you are a badass until you’ve seen a fallen soldier laying there not breathing anymore and then it’s a different f***ing story” (277). The truth is, I don’t want to die right now. If I die, the last memory that my sister will have of me is by a hospital bed, weak and depressed. I could have easily quit the Army long ago but I don’t think I’m “ever going back to a civilian life” (277). It’s just unthinkable. And right now, I’m scared that the unthinkable will happen. O’Byrne

Dear Diary, Everything just gets worse and worse. I’m no longer the only one scared now. All of us in the First Platoon are seasoned war veterans but I guess the thing is, until you experience actual death inches away from you, you don’t realize how scared you actually are. Earlier today, my friend Steiner “had taken a round in the head and slumped to the ground with a hole in his helmet and blood running down his face” (298). Everybody, including me, thought he was dead, but after a while, he sat up and looked around. Turns out, “the bullet had penetrated his helmet to the innermost layer and then gone tumbling off in another direction” (298). We were all laughing while in combat, but I think we only laughed to cover how we were really feeling. After the battle Steiner had come up to me and said, “’What if the bullet-’ and I just stopped him right there, I didn’t even let him finish. I said ‘But it didn’t. It didn’t” (300). I had refused to let him go into something that military psychologists called ‘anxious rumination’. If he kept about how he was inches away from his death, he would have an entire lifetime of trauma. “I had promised my guys that they would all go home, that I would die before they would” (300). But when I saw Steiner get shot, I realized that some things are beyond my control. “That’s the worst thing ever: to be in charge of someone’s life. And then you lose them? I could not imagine that. I could not imagine that day” (300). All of this just keeps going on and I guess we should all be fortunate that we are still alive. “Lives measured in inches and seconds and deaths avoided by complete accident” (300). O’Byrne

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