Tuesday, May 3, 2011

A Soldier's Last Day

It was a warm and beautiful,sunny, California morning when Master Chief Petty Officer David O’Malley got a call that he had both been dreading and excited about. The call was from his Commander Chief Jon Parson’s telling him that his four tours had been enough, he was allowed to exit the Navy early. Dave wanted to leave because he and his wife were expecting their third daughter in as many years. He didn’t want to be like his father and never be there. Dave’s dad was a Navy Seal and he paid thee ultimate price, he lost his life in a P.O.W. camp in some unknown country. He also wanted out because he knows his mother can’t withstand another tour of duty. The news was great to hear, Dave would be done on June 5th, just a few days before his daughter was due. It was great until the call less than 24 hours later that would change everything.  Dave would have a choice to go on one more mission, and this one will be one his family will never forget.
The call was again from his Commander Chief Jon, but this time it wasn’t good news. He was calling to tell him his younger brother Dillon was missing in Iraq. Dillon was a Sergeant in the United States Marine Corps. Apparently he and a few of his platoon brothers had a special mission called operation Hilo, where they were to video spy on a camp that had some alleged suicide bombers hiding out. These communities throw big parties the night before an attack so they were sent to tape it. That is the last we heard from them and that was three days ago. His commander was giving him and his team special clearance to go find them and bring them home, then he’s done, last mission, and a very important one. They were in the air, on their way in a matter of hours. On the plane Dave had a number of bad thoughts running through his head, he knew these situations rarely end well. Thoughts of a retirement, a new born baby girl, a beautiful wife, and a mother home worried sick was all he could think about. He also thought about Matthew, Dillon’s son, and wondered if Dillon was staying calm or if he was freaking out. He started to shed a tear when the plane touched down on the enemy land.
They stepped off the plane only to hear a man yell, “O’Malley!, I would know that Irish face from anywhere.” It was Dillon’s Staff Sergeant Tom Spencer III. Since both Dave and Dillon were brothers they looked like twins, so he recognized him immediately. Dave was eager to be briefed on the location where his brother and the other Marines had gone missing. Dave was dressed in his Navy issued camo fatigues. While being briefed they received a video of Dillon and three Marines with hoods over their heads. In the video, the terrorist had machetes to their throats, this is them bragging and showing us that the Marines will be beheaded. Dave stepped out of the tent for a bit of air and a quick vomit, his nerves were racing, not so much for fear, but he didn’t wanna have to tell his mother that she had lost a son. Dillon’s son Matthew lost his mother when he was born and it would be terrible if his Dad died, even if it was for his country.
They had left directly after their briefing and a quick meal. They had turkey sandwiches with tomatoes and a piece of swiss cheese, Miracle Whip, potato chips and a coke. There were six seals in all and Dave was in charge. They were in a military hummer with loads and loads of fire power, but most know Navy Seals like to be more hands on. The first village they came to smelled of sex and lots of alcohol. There were whiskey bottles smashed everywhere, it was three a.m. and there wasn’t a soul in sight. They secretly broke in each hut and searched around finding no trace of an American presence ever being there. The next camp wasn’t for about forty miles, and in the desert that’s like two hundred. They searched four other camps with zero evidence of the Marines ever being in any of them. They had been searching for a week at this point and were starting to get frustrated. As for Dave, he knew that his wife was due any day and was getting more and more eager to find Dillon. 
The next morning they came to what looked like a small but abandoned village, They started looking around when they noticed it wasn’t abandoned, There were people hiding in huts and tents, they were terrified of our presence. The seals started pulling the villagers out one by one and questioning them. They were no help; except this one elderly woman who surprisingly spoke very good english. She was dressed in a dull colored dress and her face was covered; She smelled of curry food spices and old people smell. She spoke of a white horse that was coming for her. She translated to tell us, it meant she was dying and wasn’t afraid to speak like the rest of the villagers. She said she had seen my brother and the others, they were beaten and bloody, but alive. She was in charge of bringing them their one meal for the day, if they got one that is. They were stripped of their clothes and she also added that there were only three of them, which scared Dave because there’s supposed to be four Marines. The elderly lady added that one young man had pleaded for his life and to see his son again, only to be beheaded. Dave’s mind went there, “Dillon!” he thought. Dave was getting nervous and asked where they were, and the woman said she had no clue; she was blind folded every time she’s been there, but added she can hear screams at night.
That night Dave and his team spread themselves throughout the village, when all of a sudden Dave heard an American voice shout out “HELP US, GOD PLEASE HELP US.” It went on for about two minutes then stopped abruptly. What happened? Dave was thinking. They gathered and thought they knew where they were. They started running to this abandoned building that they had been in earlier that day, which was weird that they didn’t see anything, but no doubt the Marines were in there. They split into two teams and searched different floors of the seven story building. Dave and his team came to the fourth floor and encountered six men who smelled of must and sweat. They had blood on their clothes and hands, they were killed in a matter of minutes. The seals searched all the rooms when one seal yelled out “FOUND ONE!” in a sad voice.  It was an American marine beheaded, but not Dillon because he had a tattoo of O’Malley across his back. Just then they heard a cry out for help and began to run; they found the rest of them alive including Dillon. He looked as if he lost about 100lbs, and was very scared, but also never so happy to see his big brother. Dave was untying Dillon when he asked, “What are you doing here?” and Dave replied, “Saving you, AGAIN.”  He then carried him down the steps when he noticed Dillon fading in and out and he just kept saying “ STAY WITH ME YOU BASTARD! STAY WITH ME YOU BASTARD!” When all of a sudden Dave felt what he knew was a bullet hitting him in the back, knocking him to the ground and dropping his brother. Dave saw his wife, kids and mother flash in his eyes. That day was June 5th.
Three days later in a Naval hospital in San Diego, California his wife gave birth to a beautiful baby girl named Madison. Surrounding her was Dave’s daughters, mother, nephew and her parents. It was a very exciting day for Dave and Dillon who were in recovery two floors up. Laying in the hospital he realized he was very lucky to have a great family and a new found faith in God. The day in Iraq was his last day as a United States Naval Officer. 

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