Reading in a Combat Zone.

Essay by Tom79University, Bachelor'sA, December 2005

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I will never forget the day that I got the call to go to Iraq, it was July 17th, 2003. It was also the day that I found out my wife Terri was pregnant with our daughter, Keira. A few days later I boarded a plane bound for Kirkuk, Iraq. As I sat on the plane in fear of the unknown dangers that lie ahead, I looked around to see many faces buried in books. Here I was, twiddling my thumbs in my lap, letting my mind shroud me in fear. All of the people around me seemed so relaxed and lost in thought of what they were reading. I have never been one to ever pick up a book.

Being raised in Michigan, the great outdoors in my mind, I was constantly outside. Everything from fishing to riding my bike for miles consumed every free moment of my life.

So, here I am on a plane bound for Iraq without anything to occupy my mind but worries.

After about 8 hours of flying we landed in Shannon, Ireland. We are herded off the plane like cattle. It seemed as if everyone but me ran to the pub for a last fix of alcohol. As I wandered aimlessly around the terminal, I stumbled upon a book store.

I decided to step in and take a gander after seeing all of these strangers on the plane reading with the utmost pleasure. I started to ask myself, what kind of book should I read? What would I be interested in? As I walked up and down each aisle and there it was, a book with a helicopter on it, staring back at me. It was the book, Black Hawk Down by Mark Bowden. Embarrassing as it may be, it was...