Night Stalkers landed Blackhawks then Little Birds on the tarmac at Baghdad International Airport (BIAP) during the early “Shock and Awe” phase of the Iraqi invasion. First their skids touched down, then our boots made contact moments later. They dropped us off then hurried to circle above. We established a foothold on Omaha Beach during a melee of Navy Hellfire missiles while pearls of Iraqi tracers scarred the night sky.
Our initial night in our new home left me silent. A speechless author and a quiet professional. Waves of explosions shook the Earth below my feet while the distant overpressure captured my still breath.
A platoon of Rangers stood silent in the threshold of the massive airplane hangar entrance to watch the Starry Night sky. I drifted through thoughts and felt isolated over my insignificance. My night vision amplified the brilliant flash of distant detonations the same way Hubble gathers photons from far-away galaxies. Heat from this Martian landscape filled my lungs while the dust baptized me anew.
My armor became weightless. My heart pulsed in cadence with the “Shock” and my breath synced with the “Awe.” I stood steadfast with wonder over the horror before my eyes. I realize a version of me never returned home after we survived that first night. Forever fractured from a single perspective to drift among a sea of infinite possibilities.
A co 2/75 Rangers. 1-3 Badmuthers. Baghdad, Iraq. 2003.
Scott “Longboard” Chapman served in 2nd Battalion 75th Ranger Regiment from 2001-2005. He deployed to Iraq during the 2003 invasion and then to the Afghan theatre 4 times. After the military, Scott worked in the executive protection space and then as an OGA security contractor. Providing security support to the Intelligence community where he deployed 17 times; mostly to the Forward Operating Bases (FOB). He provided security support for Intelligence personnel and operations. Scott continues to work in the contract security area.
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.