December 17, 2018
This land is Helmand.
What I will say is that the explosions were regular and the combat was minimal. I was more a spectator than a participant. No matter how close I got, I was always at a remove. I never pulled the trigger, not even in the foot patrol that resulted in my Combat Action Ribbon (CAR). Everyone on that patrol was awarded the CAR. Rounds were fired by us and at us, and at one point we were forced to sprint and hit the prone behind some shrubbery. But after the initial fire had subsided and we had been ensconced long enough to feel comfortable, we took photographs of each other with someone’s cell phone, waiting for the air strike that never came.