Imagine this scenario: You are on a boat at one a.m. in the dark, damp, cool air. You have an M240 machine gun to man on the forward section of the boat. There are three more boats in your patrol—one ahead and two behind. The mission was time-sensitive tasking, and you’ve been at the ready since seven p.m. Your mission is to insert 16 troops into hostile land to perform a kill-or-capture mission against a high-value target.

Eight of the 16 are on your craft, crowding your weapon station and trying to sit on your spare ammunition. Assholes. Don’t they know better? They never do. Your boats are moving nearly silently through the water. If things go bad for you, your craft can only go one of two ways: either farther in, or turn around and go back. Anyone wishing to ambush you knows this as well; being seen is detrimental to your mission and every effort has gone into avoiding it—down to the position of the damned moon.

Everyone is silent. There’s only a low hum from the diesel engines and the occasional swish of water on the hull. The insert area is close to the objective to permit the troops a rapid egress if needed, but also close enough that there is a very real chance that you will get into a contact while trying to insert the troops.