Wartime shits and giggles

A scene from the film "Waltz with Bashir" in which an Israeli tank advances into Beirut.

 An Israeli tank advances into Beirut during the 1982 First Lebanon War in the film “Waltz with Bashir.”

“Hello Delta 30, this is Delta 42, do you know that your turret is on fire?”

An RPG had just struck my tank and set fire to something on the outside of the turret, and the commander of Delta 42 had thought it best to let me know over the squadron’s radio net. The fire presented no danger to us inside and we let it burn itself out.

Later on in the operation, while maneuvering along the roads of Al Amarah, Delta 42 drove too close to a market stall.

“Delta 42, this is Delta 30, do you know you’ve got the remains of a market stall dangling from your barrel?”

“Roger that,” he replied. Next the tank turret started traversing left and then right to shake off its unexpected burden.

Once we returned to camp after the operation we had a good laugh about the stall ending up on Delta 42’s barrel.

It doesn’t seem so funny now. I think more about how that market stall may have been the entirety of an Iraqi’s livelihood that supported a family. We went to Iraq to help but that seemed to get lost somewhere along the way.

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