Jun 22 2012

Unawareness

I try my best. I push myself to the limit. My limit. At least that’s what I like to tell myself.

Sometimes I just… lose it. The feeling. The concentration. Life as a whole. I lose it. As I just lost it.

I clear it for a second. But almost instantly my mind fills up again with all sorts of stuff. Stuff that doesn’t really matter. Stuff that is of the yesterday, and stuff that resides in the future. Unable to concentrate on the task at hand. Have I always been like this? Will this be the cause of my ultimate fate? Fate as it is, shows me a path that I’ve been quite unaware of. A path that will take me to my dreams. The path won’t be easy and it won’t give me a easy time. I will not find peace here.. But on the other hand, my dreams never really gave me that impression. Peace comes afterwards I tell myself. The prize of immortality.

My limit must be broken, my old habits destroyed and the concentration of now must be amplified and achieved. I know I can do it. I also know that I really can mess it all up. But I will prevail myself. Otherwise it will all be for nothing.

 

“Never compromise. Not even in the face of Armageddon. That’s always been the difference between us…” 
Walter Kovacs

May 22 2012

Limit Break – Murph

CrossFit, as it is called, has become a major popular thing to do in modern day sports. It’s said to be derived from military US Navy Seals training and alike. In any case, it can be summed up to and be explained as constantly varied, high intensity, functional movements. Each training program lasting for about 20-40 minutes tops. It’s a damn thrill if you do it for real with another partner. You’ll be breaking your own made-up physical and psychological limits in no-time.

Enough said.

I got a short story to tell. This is about a man who was known as Leuitenant Michael P. Murphy, usually nicknamed ‘Murph’.

He was a Navy SEAL Officer who served in the War in Afghanistan. He was sent on several different missions within the country against terrorists and Taliban leaders. During 2005, he and his SEAL team (consisting of four people, total) participated in what was called Operation Red Wings. During this operation, his team was assigned for surveillance and reconnaissance tasks in the mountains in the Kunar Province. There, a taliban group known as the “Mountain Tigers”, let by Ahmad Shah had taken residence to conduct illegal activities and plan terrorism. It was said that Osama Bin Laden also held a refuge there from time to time.

The mission was, in the end, a complete failure.

 Upon their arrival, a local goatherder stumbled upon their hideout. Knowing the risks, they debated wether to actually kill him should he alert the taliban of their presence. They voted within the group and the majority voted to let him go, taking the risk. A risk that had fatal consequences. Within the next hour, Murphy and his team were completely surrounded by over 150 insurgents. A fierce battle broke out. In the firefight at hand, Murphy himself risked his life to make radio contact with his superiors to call for an evacuation. He was hit by bullets several times during the process and died shortly thereafter. A CH-47 Chinook appeared in the midst of the fighting, carrying 16 US soldiers bound for the rescue mission. But in a matter of seconds, an RPG (rocket propelled granade) was fired from the taliban side, hitting the the helicopter – whereas it crashlanded and killed everybody inside.

Three of the four team members were killed, and the only survivor, Corpsman (Medic) Marcus Luttrell, was left unconscious with a number of fractures and other serious wounds. He would soon regain consciousness and evade the pursuing enemy for a whole of three days in the mountains, with the help of local Pashtun villagers, who would eventually send an emissary to the nearest U.S. base to secure his safe release, and ultimately save his life. Marcus later wrote the bestselling book known as Lone Survivor, which takes the story above into account in much more detail.

 

In any case, the man known as Murphy was awarded, in his absence, the highest ranked medal in the US – The Medal of Honor – for his services in Afghanistan. Later on, the military has named about 2 or 3 places after him. But one of the biggest things between soldiers that he is remembered for down in Afghanistan to this day, is the Murph Challenge.

The “Murph” is a sort of a CrossFit session you can do. It’s a prestige to have done it at least once, and if you do it in less than 45 minutes, you gain a patch that says “MURPH”. It is said that Murphy did this sort of training once a week while he was in service. That’s way of the chart of being sane if you ask me.

The Murph Challenge consists of:
1 mile (1,6 km) run, followed by 100 pull-ups, 200 push-ups and 300 squats and ends with another 1 mile run.
Do all this with your protective gear (10,5 kg) on you.  Since it all comes down to doing it as fast as you can, while a guy next to you got the clock on your ass, it sure gets to you. For me, it was one of the most f***ed up things i’ve done, physically, in a short time. Worth noting is that I have a brother that did it in 29 minutes, which is “sick-ass” if you ask anyone around. I did it in 40 minutes and 31 seconds.
I would never intentionally brag about something. I hope no one thinks about it that way either. I’ll congratulate myself and i’m proud that I even managed it.
 
In the end, I think it’s a hell of a good way to honour and remember a man who has passed away.
May the force be with him, and all who dare to complete this challenge.
 
 

May 6 2012

Hyperconsciousness

“The mind can go either direction under stress–toward positive or toward negative: on or off. Think of it as a spectrum whose extremes are unconsciousness at the negative end and hyperconsciousness at the positive end. The way the mind will lean under stress is strongly influenced by training.”
 Jessica Atreides
 
 There was no warning of sorts. My body worked as usual while carrying my personal gear while the sungods scorched us.
Then their arrows came.
A breaking of the sound barrier, a whistle through the air – right next to my head. After that came a deafening explosion, altough not anywhere near our location. Brothers screaming “TAKE COVER!” and “RPG!” simultaneously. We all took on the nearest cover. All our senses were brought to the highest alert, telling our bodies to kick-start the adrenaline rush for the sake of survival. All around me arrows fell, like death’s messengers, only to grin while they went passed our heads and bodies just to hit the wall behind us – a show of force, if anything. Then, our spirits caught fire and everything came into focus, and we answered the call by transforming ourselves into gods of war – unleashing furious waves of fire back at our advesaries location.

We tried to pin-point their location and concentrating fire without any real success. We had to gain the initiative.
 
I must admit it (without guilt or shame), the feeling was extraordinary. My belly was filled with a ball of calm that pulsated through my whole body. I looked at one comrade in cover and gave him a smile in the name of life. Everybody was more than alive and we were putting up a fight.
It comes a time when your get to a point of milliseconds, were you have to decide to act or react. I, as everybody else in my squad, took on the former. Acting on exactly what we’ve been trained for in years.
 
Anyhow, the initiative was not gained this time. Except for our sniper, most of our arrows never took ground beside the enemy. All the while, the mujaheddin started to aim even closer and better than initially, concentrating their hellfire with their PKM’s on our position – hammering our covers. We were pinned down. The order to fall back was screamed through our ranks, back into the nearby village and re-organize an attack on the “white hill” where we had spotted them. So we did. Falling back like we’ve done all years practicing on it. A well thrown smoke granade landed infront of our perimeter and gave us a smoke screen, and it began. Covering fire, holding brothers backs, running zic-zac and just doing it.
 
Hours later we came back, reinforced with attack helicopters and our numbers doubled. The insurgents fled and took a hiding in a mosque nearby. We took back ground, gaining initative and took control of the hill. Dark clouds drifted from the mountainhills in the east and Thor rode along with them, giving us spectacular scenes of lightning that danced in our winning favour. To Valhalla, my brothers..
Moments later, orders came to fall back to base. We knew we had them pinned down, but someone in the higher chain-of-command made a call.
In any case, the day ended well. Experience were drafted and none were wounded in the process. 
 
 
Why did I even bring this up? 
This is my version of the truth that you can read about here. This is one of the things I signed up for. One of the things that i’ve trained for. I’m not going to excuse myself for that. Someone could have died that day. That someone could have been me. A bullet entering the forehead and exiting the back of our neck in a bloody explosion – a hard truth of life.  
I’m not writing this so that I can gain some kind of respect or whatever. I’m writing this for my own sake, knowing that some people around me also tend to read my thoughts. I know many people tend to think the thoughts like – “Is he now damaged?”, “How could anyone put themselves in that position?” and/or “Is he really proud of trying to kill another human being in a seemingly pointless war?”.
No. I’m not proud of that.
I’m proud to say that I manage to do my work. My body listens to my will and I truly live life to it’s limits. That this work truthfully brings me closer to mankind. I’m proud of my brothers, whom stands with me in every possible weather or situation that comes before us.
In the end, i’m truthfully proud of you. Thank you for reading my thoughts.
 ´
Lance Corporal Fresh, at your service.
EA

Me and my squad, having reached a mountaintop on a patrol in the Kunduz province.

 
 

Apr 21 2012

Ego Confession

Days passes. Every single one different from the other. I’ve come to the conclusion that daily boredom is just another illusion. An unsolid projection that can easily be destroyed if one would want to. I overcome it by trying to ensure myself that all my daily actions or routines are different than the day before, and that the sum of it creates a whole new me in the end.

I took an unofficial vow to be completely honest to myself,  in my own way, on this site. Hence the following confession…

Some days ago, I experienced the feeling shame thorougly. I was out on a mission with my boys when it happend: I was lended one of my brothers knife, a battleknife of sorts, while I was cutting through small containers of illegal drugs. Not a moment later, my hand was red-wet with my own blood and I had red spots and dots all over my desert uniform since I automatically shaked my hand in a frenzy when I cut myself. The small, but deep, wound was taken good care of by myself and another fellow Combat Medic. Later I had to consult the field nurse. She gave me the order of doom – to head back into camp because of the infection risk out in the field. I was to leave my brothers in the desert sun for days…

They medivaced my ass from the field through use of the americans blackhawks. Usually a soldier from the air assault battalion, like me, would thrive in being transported with a helicopter. Not this time. In any case it all went more than well for me and my hand. But I tend to focus more on my emotional state. I wasn’t O.K. inside.. I was furious, shameful and almost heartbroken. Why? Because what if my friends encountered one of the fearful IED’s (Improvised Explosive Device) on the roads? What if they were stuck in a firefight with the mujahideen in my absence? What if they dug and found a long lost secret tomb in the ruins of a lone farmer out in the middle of nowhere?.. Whatever could happen, I didn’t want to miss the experience. I suffered in the absence of danger that my brothers exposed themselves in. Just because of my clumbsyness.

Sometimes I like to think that things are ment to be. That things happen for a reason. Be it an easy or hard lesson for ourselves or maybe just a calling for another turn in life. Initially, I was petrified by fear. Fear that I might miss something out. Fear that I would be one experience lesser than those around me. Fear of losing myself. When these feelings dominate my mind I go all Ally McBeal (the old tv-series) like on my mind – Imagining myself doing stuff that ain’t really logical or healthy. Often, I see myself taking my handgun to my mouth.. And blowing my head to oblivion over and over.. And over. It’s actually quite sick if I think back to it. But.. Don’t you do things like that when you “hate” yourself?

Altough as said, It all went well. As I foretold, I was later on nicknamed after the accident (as everybody is, if someone does something very clumbsy) and everybody on my squadron knew about it. But actually, everytime I laughed, talked and explained more about it, nothing really happend inside me. Shame left me and also my own hatred of myself. And even though my collegues experienced a IED blown of – the medics of my platoon had to take care of some wounded men and got that experience (I would have been there unless..), I really don’t care anymore. I had my own experience. Another experience. Life showed me another way that day. Thoughts I would never have encountered before has come to me just because of this “small” thing. This is my current illusion, at least.

Suffering is a part of life“, I told myself.

And yes, I’ve overcome that fear now. Somewhere along life’s wonderous way I’ve managed to keep certain reminders of how life tends to unfolds before you. Reminders that serves as white blood cells when an infection (in this case, bad thoughts) comes to mind. It’s in no way perfected, but I helped me back on my feet and to regain my pride a lot faster this time. I have started to contemplate the Four Noble Truths and use Mind Reset on myself more recently. Even samurai meditation, as it has proven to help soldiers in all ages and eons, has it’s merits. It tends to give me a sense of contentment and peace (illusions?), in my otherwise stormfilled mind. I do feel strange while doing it sometimes. As very few of my fellow humans around me uses these techniques of old, I always think: “Is it only I that need this?” or “Am I just poking on the verge of insanity?” or maybe i’m just more of the hippie-like person to try these things..

I’m not really a samurai, even if I love the romantic history about them. I’m not really a buddhist, even if I get ecstatic in the mystery and philosophy it holds. I’m not at all a Jedi Knight, even though i’m positive my nerdy childhood fanatsies about them will always light up my mind… Whatever I am, I tend to be interested and read so much about these ways in my life so that some things, automatically, becomes a way of life. I openhearted welcome them into myself and what I truly am to this day.

Confession or not. This is the beauty of being human in my part of view.

Lance Corporal Fresh, signing out.


Apr 12 2012

Homecoming

Back again, for the last time. I was home one second ago.  Now, I in my other home. The one I share with my brothers in arms.

Home is where you make it to be. For me, it’s the place I currently reside. Be it my rigthful birthplace, the apartment of my lovely woman, the lousy barrack in this camp or in the end, the tent with my backpack, in which I recharge my batteries to live and fight another day in this world.  Neither case is the better really. I may love the feeling of waking up beside her, in the bed of love that we share. I may also love the feeling of waking up all alone with no restrictions or regulations by my self. Lastly, I may also really love the feeling of waking up in the wilderness, just to breathe in the air of non-humans the first you do when you wake up.. Flawless.

In any case, we’re back. Back on track. At least in our minds we are. We mentally and physically prepare for the operations ahead which tend to lean onto weeks living outside the camp. We train on the shooting range, check our gears twice and wake up our sixth sense.

We fight, as always, against the demigods of weather and their likes. The one and only god of the sun, Ra, has entered  the fighting arena, bringing his whole arsenal of heat and sunshine towards me and my northern boys. But we know the drill. We got the tricks up our sleave. We will need to get accostumed once more and when we do; we will hack n’ slash n’ thrust our way into our enemies core if given the chance. This is our time. This is our job. This is my life.

Soon, I will be home again for the last time, this time. Gone from this land that symbolizes the war on terror that no western-born human ever can come to fully understand. Homecoming is drawing nearer every moment even if I was just there. It is right now that we can make things happen.

This is Lance Corporal Fresh. Signing In & Out.


Mar 7 2012

Re-Deployed

One second later – I am back.

As if awakening from a dream. A great dream. But real choices has been made and memories has been created. At least that is the reality I wish to create.

A little more than a week in and I once more get the feeling of being accustomed to the landscape that stands before me. Altough this time, we were greeted by the long awaited warmth that the afghan spring ought to bring. Our activities are somewhat halted by the freedom fighters of America, who tends to cast religious and holy books into the fires of hell, just to watch the flames come chasing them, haunting them, afterwards. My last patrol started in the middle of the night – When the order fell, we started out making all the arrangements beforehand. I double-checked my gear, atuned my nightvision goggles, checked the radio transmitter and visualized how I would act if a critical event would occur. After that I closed my eyes for what seemed like seconds before the alarm clocks rang once more, it was a “Go”…

OpSec is a word of common use where I delve. The word itself gives me a “No Go” on describing things that tend to happen. Still, here on this blog and on this particular webpage on the world wide web, I am the master. The Sith Lord of this domain. I make the rules. So in the end we have “acedia“, as part of one of the seven sins, a word that actually describe something (or anything.. Or maybe everything). Or maybe it’s just that I’ve been awake for about 36 hours and counting while this peace of art is being written.

I have to admit that the feeling of having no food in my stomach, the feeling of being totally exhausted and tired combined with having every muscle in your body screaming for rest.. That is why I love this job. That feeling is priceless. The feeling of being alive. Funny thing is, once you skip the regular sleep just once the world transforms before you; And your perception of it tends to get really screwed up. Or maybe it’s just a change? A transformation just like anything else? We are just to blind to see it…

This is Lance Corporal Fresh, Out.


Feb 12 2012

Leave Me

It is getting closer. Closer by every second counting. Can you feel it?

My brain starts sending me visions –  Taking over my optical nerves, memory and our neverending source of thoughts deliver me pictures of how wonderful it will be to embrace her again. How wonderful it will be to actually don’t have to do anything on a particular day. How wonderful it is to just be and become.

Even though it’s a short trip to the heart of the north on the paper, it will be worthwhile and remembered. I set out to make it beautiful and peaceful combined, while I satisfy my desires and continue living life as it should be lived. Still, I have no big expectations. The doors are all open, i’m ready to just pick one and step inside, thus giving my full attention to the room that delves within. Apart from what i’ve already written and not written on this site of confession, this journey has been giving a lot of knowledge to this day, and I expect it will continue to do so as I come back to this land of “terror” and “beauty”. Two books have been consumed over time. One, that satisfied the old Star Wars nerd deep inside of me. Another that handles the story about the great Genghis Khan and his initial rise to power. A truly inspirational human being to say at least.

What have I longed for? Except for the desire to hold my woman once more and express the feelings that come with it.. I’m quite satisfied. I can always lean back to the fact that I most certainly will experience everything else again, one day. As long as I choose to. In any case, the journey isn’t really over yet (it never is?). I can find myself down here in visions of the near future. Clinging back to memories of my distant home and working my way towards new expriences… As always.  Back to the now, let’s relax in the thought that everything will be alright once more.

I’ve had a song in my iPod for as long as I can remember. It really capture the feeling I experience from time to time. I’ve been listening to in by bed before the dreams takes their place in my mind’s control room.  It’s a beautiful short piece from the movie King Arthur. All credits should go to the great composer Hans Zimmer, and for all his previous works. There is also another girl on the tube that should have credits for singing a beautiful cover on the full lenght of this song.

Song of the Exile 

 Land of bear and land of eagle
Land that gave us birth and blessing
Land that called us ever homewards
We will go home across the mountains


Jan 23 2012

Deo Volente

Time and times again I get disappointed. Is it in myself? Or is it towards the organisation I have vowed to follow?
Several times it happens. I momentarily lose faith in my promises to the world, again and again. Nothing is feels constant. Change is the only constant.

I look around and see the faces of my self-proclaimed brothers in arms. Am I one of these guys?
Dominated by lust, vanity and pride. They all made it to this point either with mere luck or by pure show-off. I cannot see my self identified. I am the loose link in the chain. I am on the outside looking inside. Or is it the way around?
One thing is certain: The way is not peaceful. Nor is it chaotic. It’s an irritating piece of gray goo. Feelings undeniably being pushed away by strange thoughts of blind contentment and future feelings of peace and ancient greatness. Often replaced to stand in the shadowy corner away from the spotlight, witnessing the other one taking the stage to recieve applause and tainted glory.
The old ones would see us as the wolf pack who followed the most beautiful angel God ever created, a.k.a. the bearer of light, earning our fate as hellhounds of an illusionary reality.
In the end though, we are all caged animals..

Enough of self despite and dellusional lies.
Time continue to show it’s inevitable control of our lives and grants me a feeling of pleasure when thinking of the not-so-far “leave”. Meanwhile we still conduct operations that stretches outside our previous jurisdiction. Giving high ranked officers the creeps, now used his big salary and to the warmth, calm and security that the chair at the computer desk has to offer.
Scouring across the Afghan fields and leaving a shoemark on their very doorstep, they shall know that we are not the ones that are hunted. We are the hunters. Our heritage and ranger brand tell it literally in our own native language.

Reconnaissance missions has been prioritized, giving us the details we need. Different village elders tells us the stories. Stories of how they come in the night, the ones without faces, and pray on their already poor resources. Stories of how they attack and slaughter other fellow human beings under a time of prayer, showing no religious respect. Other stories of how they come and take young men away from their families, never to be heard from again. They call them “not human”. Their shield is culture and religion. Their tools of trade is fear and lies.
Which reminds me of a saying that one of my comrades recited:

“Fear is the mindkiller. Fear is the little death that brings total oblitiration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past me, I will turn to see fear’s path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.”
 

The words speak and burry themselves in the grounds as unshaken foundations.

 
I’m sure that’s what they would want me to say…
In any case, I don’t really give a damn anymore. Just give me what I want (?) and send me back, or even further if that is your wish, my Lord. Insha’Allah.

I love this life. I will see you soon, my love.