The Stars and Stripes is Free

Eric Chandler

by Eric Chandler

The Stars and Stripes is free.

I grab one to read

while I eat my eggs.

They’re okay but the

bacon’s not quite right.

 

A girl’s face filled with glee.

The photo on this

page is black and white.

Her mom says this is

a party for her.

 

She is about to see.

The next picture shows

tears where the smiles were.

I stop chewing my

breakfast and lean back.

 

She fights to break free.

Her mother holds her

down inside some shack.

The other woman

dives in with a knife.

 

Why won’t they let her be?

Why are the black robes

threatening her life?

The Kurd women cut

off some private skin.

 

I sip my hot coffee.

The Kurds are my team

in this war I’m in.

I see my own girl

getting blood, not cake.

 

It’s hard for me to see.

A lie so awful

it makes my heart break.

To see daughters bleed

while I eat my eggs.

 

 

Culmination Point

Jack Erwin

by Jack Erwin

BAYONET X-RAY, BAYONET, X-RAY, THIS IS ACHILLES 22, OVER

GO AHEAD, OVER

DAILY REPORT FOLLOWS, OVER

SEND IT, OVER

LINE 1, RED

LINE 3, RED

LINE 5, RED

LINE 6, BLACK

LINE 9 BLACK, OVER

ROGER, GOOD COPY, CHARLIE MIKE, OVER

CHARLIE MIKE, OUT

 

RESTREPO 16, RESTREPO 16, THIS IS ACHILLES 22, OVER

RESTREPO 16, RESTREPO 16, THIS IS ACHILLES 22, OVER

RESTREPO 16, RESTREPO 16, THIS IS ACHILLES 22, OVER

THIS IS ACHILLES 22, NEGATIVE CONTACT, OUT

 

BAYONET X-RAY, THIS IS ACHILLES 22, OVER

THIS IS BAYONET X-RAY, GO AHEAD, OVER

ALAMO, OVER

ROGER, ALAMO, OVER

 

ACHILLES 22, ACHILLES 22, THIS IS BAYONET X-RAY, OVER

ACHILLES 22, ACHILLES 22, THIS IS BAYONET X-RAY, OVER

ACHILLES 22, ACHILLES 22, THIS IS BAYONET X-RAY, OVER

THIS IS BAYONET X-RAY, NEGATIVE CONTACT, OUT

Bagging it Up

by Scott Hubbart

by Scott Hubbartt

It was always blistering hot and that afternoon was no different. The exhaust of the idling plane’s engines only made it worse, so the sergeant was silently grateful when the crew shut down the last spinning turboprop. White powder-like dust, kicked up when it taxied in, was just beginning to settle over the aircraft, and everything else, adding to the overall drabness of the remote airfield. He met the loadmaster at the back ramp and over the whining power unit called to him,

You’re early.  How many pax?

Thirty-two…well, twenty-nine. Three didn’t make it.

All right. The medics are enroute.  What’s that guy’s story?” he asked pointing to the litter being carried off and away to the shade of the aircraft’s wing.

Fucker stinks. Really bad.

Hell, they all stink.

No. This guy’s really bad. Rotting.

The sergeant cocked his head at that and the loadmaster pointed to a guy in plain fatigues following the stretcher bearers.

Talk to him. The interpreter.  He’ll fill you in” pointing to a guy standing away from the litter patient.

OK. I’ll get on the horn and get the mortuary guys out here most skosh.

As he approached the Semitic looking guy in the unmarked fatigues he noted the US flag sewn on his soldier and a ‘INTERPRETER’ strip sewn above his pocket.  His name, ‘ABDUL-AZIZ’ was sewn over the over the other pocket.

What’s his story?” he asked as a way of greeting and pointed to the litter patient laying alone on the tarmac.

Shit. I didn’t think he’d last this long. See that bag he holding?

Yeah, what gives?

   “…his leg. Fucker’s been hugging it since we picked him up day’n a half ago. Won’t give it up.    

   He was walking south, hands up, weapon slung upside down just like instructed, when about a

   hundred meters from the friendlies he finds a mine. Blew his fucking leg off. Took two of his

   buddies out. A corpsman stopped the bleeding but the guy wouldn’t stop screaming until some

   grunt bagged his leg up and gave it to him. I guess this joker believes he can’t go meet Allah

   without it. Thinks he wouldn’t be whole. Thing is, it really stinks…but he won’t let go of it. The

   crew and the other POW’s were complaining so we off loaded him.

Abdul-Aziz lit up a cigarette and offered another to the sergeant. Even though he didn’t smoke he took it and lit it hoping to drown out the some of the stench which draped over them. Wondering which was worse, the putrid smell of the dying Iraqi or the sun’s blistering heat, he debated walking away from the shade of the plane’s wing but didn’t. Instead he approached the dirty, whiskered, litter-borne prisoner and offered him his cigarette which he accepted with his free hand.  He nodded his head gratefully and smiled up at the sergeant through yellow and missing teeth.  For the first time he saw the mottled gray-green lump in the milky bag the guy hugged to his chest with his other bandaged arm. The acrid smell almost burned his nostrils so nodded to the guy and backed away.

Back with the interpreter he asked him, “You a Moslim?

Yeah. But I was born and raised in Michigan

What do you think…will he get into heaven with only one leg?

Well, if he does, I hope we can’t smell anything up there.” Then taking a long drag from his cigarette and handing what was left to the sergeant, he continued, shaking his head, “Fucker really stinks.

Login

Lost your password?