“I hate waiting for this stupid convoy brief! After completing so many missions, you would think that they would understand we know what to do!” As I impatiently wait for the Lieutenant to wind down from his speech, I miss the assistant convoy leader creeping up behind me. “Do you have something you want to say Freeman?” Taken back by his sudden appearance, I assumed parade rest and looked straight ahead. He walks right up to me, the brim of his hat touching my nose, and he cocks his head looking me in my eyes: “Well, do you?” My mouth is suddenly dry, and I try to find my voice. “Um, negative Sergeant!” Taut veins cross his forehead and the veins in his neck pulsate. “Well, how about this then Freeman? How would you like it if I kill you and then dance naked in your blood? How does that grab you?” I am at a loss of words. “Um….” Whipping about, he walks toward his vehicle. “Shut your mouth Freeman and load up!”
My lapse in discipline embarrassingly corrected, I enter the fuel truck that I am tasked with driving. We have received orders to support another unit in securing MSR Tampa. “Jesus, it is as bad here as it was in Fallujah!” Bodies litter the highway, and I notice a wire protruding from a dead animal carcass. “IED!” The cab of my truck had made it past the dead animal when the explosion went off. Shrapnel ripped off my hydraulic tank and becomes embedded into the large fuel tank. Pressing the accelerator as far as it would go, we push on to a safe distance. Our convoy leader convinced that we were safe, calls for us to halt. Clunks of red meat is seared to the side of my truck; the burnt smell of flesh fills my nostrils. Taking several deep breathes to get my stomach under control, the assistant convoy leader walks over to where I am. “Well Freeman, it’s a good thing we got your discipline problem corrected. That was a close one!”
Proverbs 6:23 reads, “For the commandment is a lamp; and the law is light; and reproofs of instruction are the way of life.” As I prepared to move out, I realized that my lack of discipline could have been injurious to not only myself but everyone else in the convoy. At that moment, I could have done without being embarrassed in front of my peers and superiors, but the point he was trying to make was loud and clear. His point was punctuated by the IED attack. Being open to discipline is great but having the self-discipline to correct yourself is important. Failure to learn from your mistakes can be fatal. From this moment on, I promised myself that I would exercise self-discipline. It has proven to be beneficial to me, and looking back, I am thankful that this man corrected me. This attack taught me a valuable lesson. In writing this, I really hope he doesn’t kill me and dance naked in my blood….