He let out a silent but low scream as he hit the ground.  The only thing he was able to save from smacking the ground was his rifle.  A few months of training and a Soldier knows that without his rifle he is nothing.  He had sacrificed falling at a weird angle to save it, causing him to hurt his right leg and back.  So I ran.  I do not even know who it was in front of me, but he was wearing green and thats all that mattered. I could hear the person behind me’s footsteps catching up.

Then we arrived together. We did an assessment of our situation just us three in the dark.  That is when I flipped my light on, not realizing I had forgotten my red lens.

As I looked down at my brother, I could see tears welling up in his eyes.  He wanted to yell in pain, but noise discipline was paramount.

“Sorry man, I did not mean to fall,” he whispered.

“It is good brother, lets get this gear off of you.” I remember saying.  Later thinking on it I understood why he said sorry.  He was more worried about us making our time then his injury.


As we removed his pack and straightened him out.  The Drill Sergeant came.

“What the hell happened privates?… and turn that freaking light off.”

Without even doing an assessment of the Soldier, he asked “Can you walk? Can you finish?”

He said “Yes!”  But I knew that was a lie. He had eaten the dirt pretty hard.  My suspicions were confirmed when we stood him up and he attempted to put his pack on.  The weight was too much for him.  That is when the Drill Sergeant turned to me and taught me a lesson I will never forget.

“Privates, if you want your brother here to finish the course, you two will carry his pack.”  “Up to you guys, otherwise he is going in the truck and is done.”

Wow, what a decision. Adding 55 pounds would make this ruck extremely difficult. The civilian in me thought,”No way dude, his fault, he tripped not you.”

The Soldier in me remembered our creed. “I will never leave a fallen comrade.”  This is something that would stick with me through my entire life, and definitely be re-engaged during my time in Afghanistan and Iraq…but those stories come later.

So the other Soldier and I almost in sync with each other said. “We can make it Drill Sergeant.” “Reapers (our platoon motto)”

So we started to walk, but then realizing our folly.  The rest of the platoon was not even in sight.  In order to do this, in time, to standard, we would need to hustle…

SFC Guayante (Harambe 6)

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