I abruptly awoke at 2:30 in the morning to the angry buzz of Blackhawk and Little Bird helicopters returning from another mission. Roy was on tonight’s foray and I was anxious to hear what he had to say about it. The days grew longer and longer and the nights shorter and shorter still. Shaping operations were steadily increasing and we were tasked with providing direct and indirect support to the units conducting commando missions inside Iraq.

I decided to get up and take a piss while waiting for Roy. It was about a 200-meter walk to the shitters and the air was calm but not cool. The early morning sky had a mysterious glow about it, as if an indifferent painter had used a mix of blues, grays, and reds and spackled it on the celestial ceiling at will.

As I slowly made my way through the ankle-deep, silt-like desert sand towards the porto-Johns, I caught sight of Roy running towards me in the swampy night air.

“Luke, Luke!!…get dressed man, we need your help translating a bunch of docs we just seized off the objective.”