PRESERVING A MILITARY LEGACY FOR FUTURE GENERATIONS
The following Reflection represents SGT Alfonzo, Jr. Mitchell’s legacy of their military service from 2004 to 2008. If you are a Veteran, consider preserving a record of your own military service, including your memories and photographs, on Togetherweserved.com (TWS), the leading archive of living military history. The Service Reflections is an easy-to-complete self-interview, located on your TWS Military Service Page, which enables you to remember key people and events from your military service and the impact they made on your life.
Riskiest Moment: Was there any specific incident during your military service when you felt your life was at risk? What were the circumstances, and what was the outcome?
August 11, 2007, a date forever etched in my memory as a testament to the delicate dance between routine and destiny. Serving in the United States Army amidst the chaos of Iraq, I experienced a life-altering incident that defied all odds and affirmed the power of instinct and premonition.
Each day, like clockwork, I followed a meticulously crafted routine, a ritual born out of the necessity to survive. Aware of the ever-looming threat of RPG attacks from the Iraqi forces, my battle buddy and I forged an unspoken pact: we would never retire to our beds before midnight. This unyielding discipline was our way of countering the enemy’s preferred strategy of striking under the cover of darkness, catching us at our most vulnerable.
The early morning hours held a certain tension, a palpable sense of anticipation. It was a time when I would rise with the first rays of light, knowing that breakfast held the potential to be interrupted by an enemy attack. As my battle buddy made his way to the communication center to call his wife, I would meet him at the Dining Facility (DFAC) for our morning meal, a brief respite from the harsh realities of war.
Yet, on that fateful morning, something inexplicable coursed through my veins. I found myself lingering in my cot, clad in my sleepwear, devoid of the customary drive that urged me to spring into action. It was as if an unseen force held me in a state of inertia, a protective shield from the imminent danger lurking beyond the confines of our tent.
Unbeknownst to me, my battle buddy ventured back to our tent, puzzled by my absence at the DFAC. Surprise washed over his face when he discovered me still cocooned in my cot, oblivious to the outside world. Realizing that something was amiss, he hastened back to rouse me from my slumber.
Within the span of a mere five minutes after my battle buddy’s return, the tranquility of the morning was shattered. The resounding boom of an RPG echoed through the air as it found its mark in the DFAC, the very place we had intended to occupy during the strike. Fate had intervened, weaving a different narrative than the one we had become accustomed to.
The earth trembled beneath our feet as we sought refuge in the bunkers, the sound of the RPG’s impact still ringing in our ears. The air crackled with tension as injured soldiers stumbled towards the First Aid station, seeking solace for their wounds. We huddled together, shaken yet grateful for the shelter provided by our instincts and the unseen hand that had guided us.
When the chaos had subsided and the all-clear was given, my battle buddy and I emerged cautiously from our sanctuary. Making our way to the ravaged DFAC, we bore witness to the devastation wrought by the rocket’s explosive force. The very spot where we would typically gather each morning, engaging in moments of camaraderie and respite, lay in ruins.
As we surveyed the damage and witnessed the injured soldiers receiving medical care, a profound realization washed over us. We acknowledged the existence of a force greater than ourselves, a divine presence that had spared our lives. It was a stark reminder that routines, though vital for order and discipline, could never replace the innate power of instinct and premonition.
In the aftermath of that fateful morning, gratitude enveloped our hearts. We recognized the fragility of life, the thin line that separates survival from tragedy. And while routines provide a sense of security, it was the whispers of our intuition and the hand of a higher power that had guided us away from the jaws of peril.
August 11, 2007, became an indelible chapter.
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