Battle Silence isn’t just a lull in fighting. Combat soldiers experience something that no one else can imagine, unless you have been there.
I have come to call it “Battle Silence”, it is after the smell of smoke, the blasts of mortars, rockets and gunships have long
since silenced. It is the time of reflection in your head while riding a chopper or humV back to your base.
The noise, the smells even the shouts directing a squad in one direction or another are still in your memory. You walk away from the chopper or HumV back to your sanctuary behind sandbags and a little tin roof. You sit down and start removing your gear. The sweat and dirt remind you of todays events. Everyone is quiet, reflecting on those that didn’t come back with you today.
You wonder if they made it, if you will ever see them again. Wishing them the best but knowing in your mind, the injuries they sustained will change their lives forever, if they survive.
Some might think you are in shock sitting motionless just staring into space, eyes fixed like in a trance. The truth is you are trying to wrap you head around the days events. The veterans, who have seen this many times head off to the pub for a beer. They are going to numb the days events. A few members of your group wander by patting you on the shoulder, as if to say, glad you made it.
In those moments of fighting and searching for protection and a
tactical advantage. You think of little, other than making yourself invisible so you can repel or kill whoever attacked you, before they kill you or your squad mates.
Everytime the Battle Silence happens it doesn’t get easier, just more numbing to the senses. A little of your own mortality creeps into your head. That could have been me, you say to yourself. Outwardly you become the veteran and the replacement troops become those staring at the floor in almost a hypnotic gaze. You pat them on the shoulder with a silent knowing of understanding, as you head off to get a beer.
It isn’t the numbing effect of the beer, it is being with others that know, it could have been them.