I was only 19 Essay

The rumbling shattered the ground beneath my feet, jolting my heart beat into an irregular rhythm. With the sweat dribbling down the side of my cheek, I come back to reality of the situation I currently find myself in. The Chinooks and barking M.16 rifles combined with the soldiers screams permeate my ears as bodies drop heavily to the ground. It’s a warzone filled with complete chaos. I look over to Frankie, my mentor, my friend. I see him running, running towards the chaos. I look ahead of him and see something buried in the ground. I try to call out and tell him to stop but I can’t. I’m screaming, screaming at the top of my lungs, trying to make him stop but it’s like my voice is completely gone. And the next thing I know, Frankie’s gone. The Vietnam Jungle use to be a place that I thought I would never go, but now, it’s my home. My life of being a child turned in the blink of an eye to a life as a soldier. I’m only 19 and I’m serving my country not knowing if I’ll be alive in the next 10 minutes. The first day I was deployed and the day I met Frankie, was also the day I had to kill. It was a young boy who looked to be the same age as me. We were ambushed but luckily came out alive, but it felt like I had killed apart of myself. I had to shoot a boy and as I shot him, I saw myself in the reflection of his eye and it was torture. It was like I shot myself. I look to Frankie and I know that he feels what I just went through. I could tell he had to go through the exact same excruciating pain. As I continued through days of hell, I think of what it would be like to be back at home. Having mum serve up a hot pie and being able to go to sleep without the noises of bombs going off or Chinooks flying right above my head. Instead I’m here, in a warzone, eating rations and having close to no water. I miss it. I thought that one day Frankie would go home to his wife and kids but unfortunately, he’s gone. After months of killing young men, and even children, I started to lose it. I kept on seeing that boy that I killed, I kept on seeing his face. That look he gave me as I shot him. His eyes becoming thoughtless then seeing the life drained away as he was gazing at me. In the middle of all the chaos, I had hallucinations of killing this boy. I would talk to Frankie about home, mum and dad, and being a child again. As we set up for an ambush, I was on watch while everyone else was asleep. I see several heads and 20 or even 30 right behind. I raised my gun and froze, it was the boy I first killed so many months ago. They kept creeping closer I couldn’t do anything, I just sat there unable to even warn someone. It was like I was paralysed. I then hear a distant voice scream for me to hit the trigger. I jump onto it. A deafening noise erupts, and I can’t see anything around me. I then feel a hand helping me up there was Frankie telling me “it isn’t over yet, we’ll come out and attack from behind” We crept around behind the enemy. There was a lot more soldiers than I expected, as we raised our M16’s, with one of their heads in my site, Frankie said, “on my mark”. The next thing I know is seeing Frankie and I heard a click, the noise of a mine going off. I woke up with a few bruises and scratches and I start to come back to reality and start to hear things again. I then see Frankie, barely breathing screaming my name. With the little bit of energy, I had left I screamed “medic!” Frankie asked how bad it was not realising that his legs were completely blown off meters away from his body and his arms were hanging off by a thread. His last words were “get home to your mum and please give this to Rosie” and he passed me a letter. With fear filling my body I then said to him “don’t worry Frankie, you will give it to her yourself.” The next thing I know, his eyes are closed. He’s gone. To be honest, I wished that it was me. I didn’t want to have to live through another day of this hell. I was only 19.

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