11 May 2010

Private First Class Mark West (1988-2010)

Another soldier is dead.  Mark West, a kid in my old battery died while riding his motorcycle on Saturday, 8 MAY 2010.  He was in one of the gun sections of my old artillery platoon, and a gunner in my sister rifle platoon.

I got the call on Sunday from my First Sergeant (we were both in Bravo Battery) while I was in Ikea buying coffee tables and side tables and other domestic shit.

There was some initial shock at first as I stood there in the middle of Ikea, head in my hand as all of these people went past me, completely oblivious to the feeling of loss: an absence that can only be felt after you have placed your life and trust in someone else's hands.

But the feeling wore off quickly.  I feel like I should have been more affected.  I saw the kid all the time in Iraq.  Saw him all the time here in the States after we came back.  Smart kid.  But couldn't stay out of trouble here in garrison.  "West-icles," I used to call him, after hearing a guy in Iraq call him that.  I remember that cracking me up, so I stole it and continued to use it after we came home.  Every time I'd run into him in our battery areas or maybe at a BBQ for SGT Webster's family or after formation..."Westicles!  How the hell are ya?!"  He always smiled.

I am afraid I am becoming desensitized to the loss of people.  Perhaps it's an internal defense mechanism?  I have no fucking idea.  Better question is, is this a good thing or a bad thing?  Am I supposed to be able to adjust better to losing people, or should I be devastated by every loss?