If you enjoy your life, don't read any further.
I'm not even sure that I'm allowed to talk about this, but what the hell. About two and a half years ago, I was deployed to Tallil in the southern area of Iraq with B CO. 1/142 BSB. Doing convoy security for both Third Country Nationals and KBR, a civilian contracted company; and of course, our own trucks. There is one thing that can be said for Iraq, it's filled with a lot of nothing. Nothing, and some sand thrown in for a little something to look at.
I was a gunner at the time, which made it my responsibility to watch out over the expanse of empty sands that was Iraq. Most of the time we would find ourselves rolling down long, perfectly straight roads carved into the desert like a scar from some giant surgeon's scalpel. I hated it. We all did. But what was worse was driving these same stretches of road at night.
The curtain of darkness cast upon the already lifeless desert made the land seem more dead then it already was. Every time we got to wherever it was one or more of our troops who'd managed to stay awake the whole trip would tell tales of the strange things they had seen on the journey. Strange lights in the sky moving to fast to be ours. Sometimes even following us. These stories were common amongst all of us at the time. Even I had my stories about the lights we used to see on those long night trips. But that's not the point of this. Who's interested in UFOs anymore?
What I'm talking about is a story that everyone had back then. It was a long stretch of road that went on for an hour. At least it was supposed to... I can't tell you where it was. Not only was I never really informed the locations of the roads we drove, being a simple grunt at the time, but when we reported our event, we had a visit from people who clamed they were with U.S. Air Force Intelligence section. Which was more than confusing to the lot of us seeing as how the area was an Army area of Responsibility. This stretch of road was sixty five miles long, easily only an hour long drive when you factor in our Limit was 55MPH and 65 MPH catch up speed, and driving it during the day it always was, but there were times at night when this would change inexplicably. It was very early in my days of running convoys. We were headed into Baghdad. I recall it clearly.
Feeling a lull coming over me, I slammed back another Ripit, ignorant to the tales of this road at the time, and to the fact that it, the Ripit that is, was forming a pair of kidney stones the size of Pistol rounds I am now dealing with.
"How much longer?" I asked the truck commander. It was one of my first missions out and I wasn't used to any of it yet.
"Well, another hour or so to our next check point," he said and let out a yawn. "Hey Crose, hand me a Ripit."
"Yeah, sure thing boss," I said turning the Turret of the ASV so I could reach the cooler placed by the tirtiary exit.
I got him his Ripit and finished the second half of the six ounce can. I recall it was around that time that Hotel California was playing on the Driver's iPod which was jerry rigged into the internal coms circuit. Feeling bored with the fact that nothing at all was really happening at the time, I spun the turret 360 degrees; looking all around us. Nothing again. I was wide awake now with three cans of Ripit replacing my blood for the time being. I was awake and wouldn't sleep till morning, thanking God that a sand storm turned the roads black that day. I looked at my watch all of that had filled up the span of narry two minutes.
It was then that my brain just went dead; shut down. I found I was snapped to by the voice of the Convoy commander.
"Now passing Checkpoint X-ray," he said sounding like he had a mouth filled with food.
He really did like to eat a lot, and wasn't the most well mannered of men. I looked down at my watch, and had to pose a question to my T.C. upon the observance."Hey, Ramsfield... I thought you said it was only going to be an hour and that was four hours ago!" I said in shock, wondering just what had happened.
"Yeah this road does that sometimes," he said like it was no big deal.
I wasn't thrilled with the answer, but really how else do you explain it to someone? He told me it was the fourth time it had happened to him since we'd gotten to Iraq. I asked around about it, and the story wasn't always the same, in some accounts the trip would be drasticly CUT in time.
A week later I was on down time between missions when I was called to the C.O.'s office. I ran my ass down there fast not wanting to keep him waiting.
Winded now, I reported: "Specialist Crose, Reporting as ordered!" I said rendering a salute, and taking no notice of the man in an BDU style uniform.
He saluted me back. "Water?" he asked me turning to his mini fridge. "Yes sir, Thank you sir!" I said. I needed it, it was only 110 degrees out side that day; but that's hot when your running half a mile with the sun pounding on you. Taking the bottle in my slightly shaking hand, I unscrewed the cap just to have it freeze the second I did. I cursed the luck. The man in BDUs, The old green Cammo we wore in the '90s, stared at it like it was the most amazing thing he'd ever seen, naturally, I assumed he was new in country. "Specialist, this is Lieutenant Smith, He's with Air Force Intel."
"Good day sir," I said to him. He was still fixated on the bottle of solid ice I had in my hand. "Oh, this?" I asked. "It happens once in a while."
"Long story short, the water was already close to feezing point, when the air hit it, it lost just enough heat to freeze," I said a bit ashamed for maybe showing this officer arrogance. "Oh," was his simple reply. "I'll leave you to it then," the captain said and took his leave from us.
I was locked in place knowing how some officers could be hard asses. So there I was frozen with my bottle of water sizing him up and waiting for him to open the line of communication. At the same time I wondered why USAFI would want to talk to me of all people. My record was clear when I was given secret clearance. Too clean was how the person who did the background check on me described it; and what trouble I did get into was minor infractions.
The man wasn't tall, at best guess maybe five feet even, and making it even more evident he was new to the country was his pale complexion. And he still was wearing BDUs and not the desert color DCUs. I rolled the frozen bottle between my hands hopping to speed up its thaw my mouth was dry. I'm not sure how long he waited before he spoke.
"Kevin, can I call you Kevin?" he said.
"Well, ah yes sir?" I said almost questioningly, then feeling like an idiot, he must have seen a file or something, no big deal, right? He sat at the commander's desk and suddenly fixated on the mouse to the Captain's computer. He looked at as I imagine I must have the day I switched from an old TRS80 to Windows 95. Odd behavior considering the fact that Intel would deal with computers daily.
Hell, just about anyone on deployment had a Laptop to contact home so they wouldn't lose their minds. He looked at it, turning it over and over again.
I again waited for his next move. Finally he spoke again. "I'd like to know just what you saw during your mission to B-ape." Ignoring his poor grammar.
I had to ask. "You mean BIAP, sir?" He looked at me almost like a confused dog. "Bi-Op?" he said protracting the word drastically. "Ahhh, yes BIAP!" he said.
"Well sir, as far as seeing anything, I can't say that I did," I said and licked my dry lips, a bad habit I've yet to rid myself of.
"I see," he said now almost comically infatuated with a Stickit note on the screen of the computer, that, by Army standard was obsolete about three years prior. It was stuck to two of his fingers and he looked at it intently like he was trying to decipher the commander's rushed scrawl. "Can youuuuu," he said protracting his words again, "tell meee what did happen?" he said seemingly disappointed when the note lost its sticky. "Well Sir," I said and started my story. Skipping the part about consuming three Ripits in ten minutes. When I was done, I saw that I could finally have a drink of my ice water, and was happy to do so.
"Alright Kevan," he said messing my first name up.
I corrected him, "Kevin, sir."
"Right KeeViin." He said my name sounding so obsurd when protracted. "I'll put it simply. Don't tell anyone good?" he said.
I was confused rightaway. "Y-y-" I started but he cut me off something that pisses me off to no end. "If you tell anybody about this they will die. And then you will die."
"Did you never understand?"
I was confused deeply by his poor gramar and this sudden death threat! Quickly I responded. "YES SUH!" I said slipping into my normally controlled southern drawl.
"Clear I am going to be with you KeeViin. If anyone, ANYONE finds about this, then both will be killed, yes?"
"YES SUH!" I said, shaking terribly.
"Now good. Farewell," he said in that odd accent.
"Yes suh!" I said and saluted.
He looked at me with that same odd expression he gave the mouse and sticky note. Freaking out, I dropped it
and I rushed out the door into the hot day air, and never spoke of it again.
P.S.- I'm sorry. Sorry for the both of us. I posted this online so by now I'm already dead, and for you, you'll be joining me soon. I'm sorry, but misery needs company...