The helicopter lands as the air from the wings blows through the sand. As Jerry braces himself, one foot hits the ground. He could smell the fragrance of stale gun and bomb smoke in the air. Sgt. Jerry Winslow was not a stranger to the battle field. Running to get away from the helicopter as it exited the landing pad Jerry could not believe the carnage that had taken place on base. There was a man in the distance surrounded by little children. "He must be their father," Jerry thought to himself.
"Welcome to hell Sgt. Winslow," Captain Peters says, "Or at least what is left of it."
"Why are all those children over there?" Jerry asked.
"Well it's a long story."
Jerry then takes a seat on the ground as the light from the landing pad bounced off of the shine on his combat boots, "I have all day...Now tell me why are they standing over there in the middle of a war zone on our base?"
Captain Peters takes a deep breath, "You see her right there?"
"Who the little one with short hair?"
"Yes, her mother was raped and taken as a sex slave. We have no clue where she is now."
The look on Jerry's face changes from curious to shocked.
"What about the two boys and the older guy?" He asks.
"The one little boy right there, his brother was used by a suicide bomber to blow himself up at the front entrance. That is why he doesn't have a second arm. The other little one tipped us off and the older guy is our ticket to hunting down the terrorist who started all of this madness. If you want to see more people like them just look over that fence to your left, there is a busload of refugees fleeing their native land and they meet in that spot over there to get food," Captain Peters explains.
Jerry can't believe it, "How did this happen?"
"Well the intel we get in every hour only tells us half the story. We have no clue what to do with all of these refugees. We got hit last night by another kid who they used to get past the front gate. They keep using the same tactics. The sad part of the matter is that we don't have a strategy to counter," Captain Peters says reaching out his hand to help Jerry up off the ground, "Now come on we don't have much time to waste."
As the moon lights the night sky there was screaming in the air. One thing Captain Peters was right about was the fact that if there is a hell, this is probably what it felt like. Every five minutes a bomb went off. Little babies surrounding the gates while their mothers desperately risked their lives to get help. As Jerry sat there witnessing all of the madness he thought about home and his own life. He thought about all of the things that he had taken for granted while at home. "I used to be a child," he thought to himself.
"Hey Peters, if you make it out of here alive what are you going to do?" Jerry asked as they both held weapons late in the night preparing for the next mission.
"You know Jerry I don't know what I'm going to do. When I first got here I doubted that there was a God, but do you know what made me keep believing?..." Capt. Peters gets choked-up as tears fill his eyes.
"Well spit it out," Jerry says eager to know.
"That kid you saw standing by that man. His sister jumped in front of a suicide bomber to save my life. They have faith in us Jerry. We're their heroes. At this moment I don't care about home. I just want this war to be over so they can have a future." He emotionally explains not being able to hold back his tears.
"I just want this to be over Jerry."
Jerry looks over in the field of smoke, taking a deep breath he notices a kid in the distance with light shining on him holding up the peace sign.
Capt. Peters takes off his glove to wipe his tears.
"I want to first thank you for taking this mission, I just want to let you know that once you leave here there is no turning back. This place will always be on your mind."
Jerry just sits there listening to all of the mayhem. In all of the madness the child in the distance keeps his two fingers up. Jerry had never seen a soldier cry in the heat of battle.