We ran into some 12Bs (combat engineers) from 3ID today at the hotel pool. We got to talking with them and they told us about their first tour in Iraq (they’re due for another in early 2005), about the rush to Baghdad and the aftermath of the war. It was strange to hear them talk jovially about the bizarre incidents of war, like the mysteriously precise shot one of their E5s delivered from his M203 grenade launcher – directly into the face of an Iraqi driving a truck loaded with explosives. What was perhaps stranger was my own reaction, a sense of understanding of how they talked about the incident, and the feeling that I too would be high-fiving that sergeant if I were there.

It’s a reminder of where we’re really going, and that this pleasant Army-funded vacation won’t last forever.