The O.C. experience

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On April fool’s day 1998 I have been given the gift of praise. I’ve had strangers buy me breakfast, little kids pulling on my uniform and telling their mom they met someone like me. I am not a celebrity although many times in my life I have felt like one. Every time I wanted to get my life back the people who stand behind me say life is grand. They would say, Sherri to be able to see the world. This is truly a gift. What is not a gift are things people don’t know about. On January 5, 2008. I got my individual augmented orders for Ramadi Iraq. Sitting at my desk I did not know whether to feel happy or sad, but I prepared. I had two weeks before leaving for training. I had to pack and go home to say goodbye to family. As weak as it may sound at this point of my life I felt something I never felt before. I wasn’t empty, but I felt as an individual whose focus now had to change to do what I was trained to do. I could not feel depression and I knew I could not pray to come home. I had to train well to be able to hope to come home. Stories people hear about usually take place during war. My story takes place during training at Ft. Lewis Washington. The pain soldiers and Sailors go through to train to prepare usually isn’t talked about, but for us is a moment we bond. On 15, February 2008. The platoon received training on using a baton as I have many times before. Taking three short blasts striking only when prisoners attempt to pass barriers and I had to remember to disable, not to kill. This is how deadly force is taught. Every training event or discussion I wrote down in my journal and some didn’t like it. Others thought it would be neat to have someone document what we did. Today we did not just use batons, but a weapon called ... ... middle of paper ... ... O.C. it would just react again. Standing in front of a fan cooled my face, but as soon as I walked away it hurt again. I was still blind and Clarence a friend in my platoon had to guide me until the O.C. dried and I could slowly blink my eyes open. It took about 15 minutes and then it would be my turn to help someone else. When the course is complete all of us would be loaded onto buses smelling each other. The laughter and our hearts calming with an exception of a few who didn’t make it. They either freaked out to much and failed or like my friend who went to prison. The only thing left to look forward to that night would be the shower and that would be one more time the O.C. would reactivate the burning sensation. Tomorrow another task will be given to us and again we will be ready to face it head on with the intention of learning how to survive in a combat zone.
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