New Years Day 1991. My upper body is sunburned and I ache. The Track of my AFV needs repairing. Sledge Hammers, Pins, Torque Wrenches. Swearing, pain and frustration.
The Track Pin won't budge and I am tired of it. I swing the hammer again and again. My shouts of anger the source of amusement for the soldiers all around trying to escape the heat.
Three loud cracks stop my cursing. I turn toward the sound and rest the hammer on my boot. A soldier staggers out of a Vehicle, clutching at himself. He manages Three or Four steps before he crumples to the floor and lies still. His friend appears after him. His face blank. Smoke creeps from the barrel of his weapon into the sky.
The standing soldier begins to scream and the picture becomes focussed. The man on the floor has been shot. His friend was tired. Not thinking. Three rounds. Point blank.
The soldier on the floor tries to sit up, blood gushes from his mouth. He chokes and falls still. 'MEDIC' The word is screamed again and again. Men wearing red-crosses arrive. Frantically trying to stem the blood. A helicopter thumps sand into my eyes. The limp body is thrown into it and it heaves into the air. Engines crying as the Pilot demands more. Then it is gone.
I smoke a cigarette. I've never seen a man shot before. The Track Pin comes free so I smile. The shooter is crying. Sat on his own clasping his knees, he cries all day. Then he goes home. Broken before the war has started.
It is my turn to stand in a hole. I grab my rifle and push at the safety catch. I want to go home - But I can't. We are Two men down and must pick up the slack. At home the snow falls and the Parties go on...