Tears in our eyes,
It was hard listening to everyone’s collective cries.
And that the deployment would quickly pass by, we loaded onto buses to head to the armory one last time.
I got issued a 9mm pistol.
Fortified with weapons & ammunition, we headed to the beach to stand by and wait for our ride.
Hours flew by.
It was freezing cold outside.
The LCACs finally arrived!
Humping packs, sea bags, and weapons through miles of sand made us all sweaty & breathless.
We piled into an enclosed metal box
With a leaking roof
To travel to the ship
The choppy waves made me silently pray, “Please, God, don’t let us flip.”
Like Sardines in a can, we sat
Immobilized by bodies & gear
Until we pulled into the ship’s hold to unload.
We had to walk through water
And our combat boots squeaked with every step afterward.
Up multiple ramps, we climbed to the upper decks, then made our way through narrow passageways and over hatches to troop berthing or our respective workstations to settle in, unpack, and prepare for departure.
We were all tired and homesick and over the bullshit before the fleet got underway.
-Thus concluded February 18, 2004, and day one of the 22nd MEU’s deployment to Afghanistan
Lori Butierriesis a full-time caregiver to two children with disabilities. She uses her life experiences and the medical knowledge she gained from serving as a Hospital Corpsman in the United States Navy to help others facing similar hardships. Lori is an author for The Havok Journal, an official columnist for AwareNow Magazine, and a contributor to The Mighty. Likewise, other news sites like MSN and Yahoo! News have also republished select articles Lori has written.
Lori’s writing extends to children’s literature. Her debut picture book, GIFT FROM GOD, was self-published at the beginning of 2021 and placed as a finalist in two categories in the 2021 Next Generation Indie Book Awards. Lori’s long-term goals are to use her writing to educate others about, advocate for, and dismantle negative stereotypes regarding disability, mental health, and the military/veteran community.
As the Voice of the Veteran Community, The Havok Journal seeks to publish a variety of perspectives on a number of sensitive subjects. Unless specifically noted otherwise, nothing we publish is an official point of view of The Havok Journal or any part of the U.S. government.
© 2023 The Havok Journal