"I am part of the US Military. Yes, this much has been established. I gladly throw myself into combat, knowing that I do it for the love of the men that throw themselves into it for me."

"Could you shoot a man?", and in response: "If he shot at me!? I'd disappear, then sneak up behind him, stab him in the shoulder to let him know I'm there, then slice his throat and make his friends watch." This, in front of nearly 4,000 solemn individuals.

I'm a warrior. It's the life I've chosen. I don't suppose, I'm sure of it.

"A soldier has the benefit of looking his enemy in the eye." - Gladiator

I didn't join the military because I wanted this lifestyle. I did because I needed to kickstart my life, and the government agreed to give me money and foundation in exchange for possibly risking my life. Fair enough.

Now, the day I've known was coming is nearing. Soldiers from Korea are beginning to deploy to Iraq. The thing is, my particular unit is a division support unit. A single company supports an entire division, instead of being attached to a Battalion or Brigade Combat Team. So the Second Brigade Combat Team from the Second Infantry Division is now deploying to Fallujah. The division support unit, the Second Military Police Company, will be leading the charge. 21 MPs with 2 support soldiers will be spearheading the charge... And providing security for the MSR (Main Supply Route) leading into Fallujah.

The medic, a brickhead named Penhale, will be the platoon medic. The minute I was told Penhale was the designated medic, I couldn't believe it. The first week, while the platoon was out cleaning weapons, training, and packing, Penhale was nowhere to be found. You check his room, he's sleeping.. Or smoking. Penhale was tasked to teach a class on combat first aid. The mechanic, a close friend of mine named Long, stands up.

"Hold up, hold up. You're telling me..." and proceeds to pick the medic appart. A mechanic is standing there, saying, "No. This is how you secure a sucking chest wound. No, this is how you apply a field dressing. NO, this is how you evaluate a casualty." The Senior NCO, Staff Sergeant Williamson, throws his hands up, screams something along the lines of "What the Fuck!", and walks out. The platoon is walking outside the TMC (Medical Company, like a Hospital) , after getting their shots. There is a huge-fucking-hole in the ground, which the platoon proceeds to walk around. Penhale falls right in. Had that been a landmine, the whole platoon would be dead. And a landmine is tiny, this was a MANHOLE. While teaching this first aid class, Penhale would say, "If you aren't getting shot at, you can do this, you can do that." Once again, the mechanic stands up.. "Penhale... All I've heard you say is, 'If you aren't getting shot at...' What the fuck are you going to do when WE ARE getting shot at!!!"

The platoon has nicknamed the medic DeAth.

The NBC training is being read to them out of the book. Once again, the mechanic stands up, and says, "Look, Smith (me) just gave me this class. This is what he told us to do." He tells me what they are being told, and all I can do is be disgusted. They are being taught from a book. The book teaches you how to survive by the numbers. I teach YOU how to survive.

The Platoon Leader, 1st Lieutenant Hadley, is scared. She knows the NBC training is substandard. She knows they need to take me with them when they deploy, they know I'm a killer. They know Penhale is going to get them killed. He can't walk without falling in a hole, how the fuck will he save lives under fire? The morale has hit the floor. They are scared. They are being sent into combat with a dirtbag medic, no NBC expert on hand (me), into a heavy combat zone, with 21 soldiers and 2 support.

40% casualties predicted in the first group. I am told to be ready to roll, under the table of course. The soldiers just left for leave, for 12 days in the states, with their families. Long almost got into a fight with DeAth. Penhale has fallen in love with a filipino hooker, and originally opted to go see her in the Phillipines when he went on leave. That went over real well with the platoon.

"You're telling me you just told your whole family to fuck off over a hooker! Are you fucking serious! You're going to go see a hooker that doesn't know you, instead of going to see your family. The leave is for your family, not you. If you don't even give a fuck about your family, what the fuck are you going to do when we start dying in the desert!"

DeAth changed his mind now. It's amazing someone had to tell him he should go see his family, instead of a hooker that came to Korea to marry a G.I. in the first place.

This is the preparation they are giving my friends, as they roll into the desert, where many won't return.