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Nairobi, Kenya
I an ex member of both 7 and 8 Squadron's of the Rhodesian war spending most of my operational time on Seven Squadron as a K Car gunner. I was credited for shooting down a fixed wing aircraft from a K Car on the 9 August 1979. This blog is from articles for research on a book which I HAVE HANDED THIS MANUSCRIPT OVER TO MIMI CAWOOD WHO WILL BE HANDLING THE PUBLICATION OF THE BOOK OF WHICH THERE WILL BE VERY LIMITED COPIES AVAILABLE Contact her on yebomimi@gmail.com The latest news is that the Editing is now done and we can expect to start sales and deliveries by the end of April 2011

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Tuesday, July 1, 2008

POST TRAUMATIC STRESS


THE DREAM RECURRING
Anticipation, the need to piss followed by the hollow feeling of a knotted stomach, my throat burns as it tries to lubricate my dry mouth. Dear God not today, look at the tracer hosing into the sky, streaking red and green dots which look like angry bees as they pass by. No time for fear as adrenalin kicks in.
The helicopter approaches the landing zone at an alarming rate blowing dust and debris in all directions its main rotor blades clipping the surrounding vegetation takka takka takka, green leaves and twigs spinning wildly away from the threshing blades as the G Car bounces on to the rough Rhodesian terrain disgorging a stick of troops. Suddenly there is the chatter of small arms fire as a group of terrorists fire everything they have at the helicopter, red tracer hoses into its airframe with a clatter as the rounds strike the airframe, chunks of Perspex fly into the surrounding bush as the helicopter shudders from the impact of the red hot tracer rounds. I can hear the pilot screaming on the intercom that we are taking fire.
Everything slows down to slow- motion, the troopers who have just been deployed begin firing back at the unseen enemy. The air is thick with gunfire, in the background the chatter of K Car’s 20 mm cannon and the roar of the Lynx ground attack aircraft as it swoops overhead. I see it release its bomb canister containing Frantan explosive, the fran tumbles slowly towards the thick bush to my east, “whooomp”, it strikes the ground in a brilliant red and yellow explosion with flames exploding into the surrounding bush as the napalm strikes its target, then thick oily black smoke emits from the strike area with screams from the flames as the terrorists in the target area are engulfed with the sticky flaming gel.
Our shattered G Car attempts to pull out of the contact area as as we go through transition we are surrounded by the sights and sounds of battle. To our west a Dakota runs in disgorging its paratroopers who leap into the abyss their chutes opening with a sickening jerk as the static chord is pulled away. Then silence followed by a thump as they strike the ground and roll into the grass. There is gunfire ahead and they need to get out of the harness as quickly as possible and join up into a sweep pattern.
The K Car commander is talking excitedly yet with a controlled tone as he guides his troops into the contact area, maps are shown to mark positions as the chess game of battle commences. There is no time for fear now, switch on and move slowly ahead, shape, shine ,shadow and silhouette, watch your front, snap shoot double tap the rifle-don’t take a chance. There’s a body laying ahead its guts and entrails glistening in the sun, rifle lying broken nearby, no time to stop, move on man....up that Gomo (rocky-hill)and then on some more...
The air is thick with the smell of, Napalm, smoke and the smell of burnt flesh and cordite. We are surrounded by the sounds of war, the whine of the helicopter as the G Car whizzes over the trees at low level, the chatter of the K Car rotor blades as it circles ahead spitting deadly fire which sounds like thunder as the rounds strike the earth splattering deadly shrapnel in all directions.
Suddenly the bushveld erupts as a white phosphorous grenade spreads its beautiful but deadly white tendrils of flaming magnesium in a wide arc, an anxious voice reports that someone has been hit in one of the sticks and needs a casevac. Red smoke id popped and our G Car heads back into the valley of death. We land once again in a cloud of dust and debris, back into the chatter of gunfire and streaking tracer a world of radio, smoke, confusion and gunfire, intense gunfire, but there’s no time to reflect just unclip the monkey belt grab the stretcher and run to the wounded and dying, this time it’s a trooper headshot, his brains mixed with blood and saline, his body jerking in spasms as it struggles to maintain life, everything a blur as the vital signs shut down. Where is that fucking drip, sosegon for fucks sake where’s the morphine. The trooper makes a rattle in his throat as he dies in the hot, humid, dusty contact area. Leave the dead and care for the living another trooper is lying on his back his arm and eye smashed by an AK burst, there is blood and gore everywhere. A quick field dressing water poured over the bloody gore of his wounds from a water bottle handed over hurriedly. He is dragged through the bush and thrown onto the back of the screaming helicopter and once again dust and smoke as we pull everything we have as we head for the nearest hospital.
The trooper is screaming in pain, gobs of bright red blood and foam spitting from his tortured lips. Hold on... man we will make it, take the pain, and take it man, you’re ok. Blood and gore blow in the wind and settle on the Perspex windshield like a fine spray matting everything. There is a smell of shit, vomit and fear mixed with Jet fuel.
The helicopter decelerates, its rotors sound like thunder, scything everything in its path....I try to run away but my legs won’t move... Fuck this try....they won’t move..... I wake up sweating.... it was just a dream... like yesterday... and the day before..... When will it stop....then...Just the accusing silence of the dead?

3 comments:

  1. Words really have no meaning here, but I want you to know that I give a damn. No advice here; just compassion.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Real genuine healing is a process. It takes a long, long time for the deep hurts to be resolved. Sometimes it seems that they will be with us forever.
    Keep in mind that you are not responsible for what you cannot control.
    I dont have any magic pills or formulas but finding joy in the midst of misery always works for me, and I know it can work for you.
    You are in my mind and my head you are not alone.

    ReplyDelete

I welcome comments from everyone on my book Choppertech.
I am interested especially on hearing from former ZANLA and ZIPRA combatants who also have thier story to tell.