It was August 9th of 2009. My brother and I drove to Ocean Springs in his '96 oldsmobile to enlist in the military. We did it for tax purposes so that we could get a government grant for college. Four months
later, on December 4th, my brother and I were drafted to go to Iraq after three months of basic training. No Christmas, no family and no goodbyes were to be given as this was a depressing time. We had no
idea of what were going into, the only thought on my mind was, "Why this? All these years of education and now my whole investment may go down the drain by a $0.07 bullet."

  We deployed in Kadhimain, Iraq on April 6th 2010 (my birthday). My brother and I climbed out of our ISR-90 Tank on April 9th and walked to a store called AlQuiSki to buy myself a cupcake and give my
family a call. We set out on our half mile walk back to our tank, the weather was very hot and the air was dry, it hurt when I sweat for my skin would burn from the sand sticking to my face, sometimes I would
bleed. I had no idea that would be the last time I would ever see my brother alive.

  That afternoon around 3:24, my brother and I heard on our radio that Alpha company  was ambushed by children and a local civilian militia - there were no survivors. The shock in our eyes was
indescribable as we found out that Alpha company was only seven miles away from us, and my brother and I were inside a local area dressed in our military gear with civilians all around us. I had goose
bumps all over my body, my heart was racing as I could see the people that we were walking away from kept following us.

  We both ran to our tank that was then several hundred yards away from us, as we ran, the locals started chasing us and fireing AK-47 rounds into the air screaming. My brother Zack and I hijacked a car and
drove as fast as we could to our tank. After what seemed like five minutes the people that were chasing us stopped for some reason. We didn't even consider thinking of why, all we knew was that we had to get
to our tank as fast as possible were we would be safe.

  Once we reached our destination, we parked the car along the side of the tank and stepped out. Being that our tank was parked next to a hill, we had no idea if someone was on the other side ready to kill us.
We took out our M-416 CQB rifles and positioned ourselves on each side of our tank. Zack tried to open the top while I was standing guard.

  The next thing I knew, I heard a loud bang and a thump. I screamed, "Zack! Zack are you alright? Zack!" I didn't get an answer. I saw a sniper on the top of the sand hill and I rolled behind my tank but
couldn't see my brother. I was freaking out, I didn't know what to do, my hands were shaking and sand was in my eyes. I heard people running toward me. I looked on the East side of my tank and I saw
thirteen men charging my way with an RPG and Assault Rifles.

  I couldn't allow the thought of my brother enter my mind. I focused on the task at hand. I aimed at the group of people running toward me and fired my whole clip into them and I heard screaming of such
horror that I will never forget. As I reloaded behind my tank, I felt a huge punch to my back like I just fell out of a two story window. My tank was shot by an RPG. I looked to my right and I saw my brother's
severed hand laying beside me. His body was blown up by the RPG and parts of him was scattered around me.

  I blacked out for the duration of the event until the next day for my conscience will not allow me to remember most of it. The camera on the tank told my story. In the video, after my brother was blown up
and his mutilated body covered me, I took off my helmet and armor and jumped on top of the tank manning the .50cal turret and destroyed the 13 people running down the hill firing at me. Then passed out.

  I was awarded a purple heart on April 27, 2010 for my bravery in action and wounds from the explosion, I then buried my brother on April 28th. In August of 2010 I enrolled at a community college called
Jefferson Davis to pursue my career in Nursing at 20 years of age.

Combat Tank
by Cayle Rose
Written on 9/15/2010
Live:CayleRose