“the calm before the storm”

i don’t know what triggered this train of thought yesterday but i was thinking that twice in my life i’d realized i was experiencing the calm before the storm.

once was the actual calm before the storm. i was in north carolina and a hurricane was coming in. it would take too long to describe the change in barometric pressure, the crazy look to the sky and the light change, the eerie lack of sounds, etc. and that’s not really the point of the story. but i was walking outside and all of a sudden realized how bad it was going to be. i started running to the motor pool and got the hmmwv hooked up to a generator by myself, drove the generator to the brigade headquarters building and was running power cables up to the emergency operations center when the storm hit. by the time it’d blown by us and people started showing up to man the EOC, i had it completely set up and was doing radio checks with our higher headquarters. the next couple of weeks we spent working like crazy helping the citizens of north carolina rebuild and recover.

years later i was sitting in the middle of an intersection in tikrit, iraq pulling perimeter security for a mission and watching my guys. there was a team that felt like they needed to go into the city and the infantry company that they usually rolled with and that provided their security was on a different mission. because of the importance of the mission i was asked to go with a team and help out.

our guy had linked up with his contact and things seemed to be going well when i realized that it was too quiet. the place had been bustling and now people were sneaking off, shop owners were locking doors and drawing down the shades and there was almost the same complete lack of sound. and the same “holy shit, this is the calm before the storm”. we saddled up quick and got the hell out of there but as we were leaving it really felt like a clip from an old western. a couple days later we got word through the grapevine that we had been a target of opportunity and they had been scrambling troops to try and hit us hard. they knew we were a relatively new unit in the battlespace and they thought they could score a big win by killing a bunch of us because of our inexperience.

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One Response to ““the calm before the storm””

  1. When I finished reading this post, I just sat quietly. Powerful, honest and the kind of storytelling that leaves a mark (in a good way).

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