I signed up five years ago, back during the war in Afghanistan. None of us thought this would happen though. Tensions were mounting between the super powers of the world over oil and other natural resources. We sat back and watched America and Russia boil over. We sat back and fucking watched as Ivan launched her assault on American soil. Watched as our closest ally got ripped apart and we did nothing. Nothing at all. Until now. 2016 and only now British forces reluctantly launch the first attack on the west coast of Virginia. From one war zone to another. I only wanted to do four years minimum service and get out but it looks like i'm stuck here until it's over of I end up dead Either way, it's not going to be easy.
a dull red light floods the metal chamber of the plane, the sound of flak fire thudding outside the craft is the only noise auditable above the loud hum of the plane's engines. the looks on the thirty one faces around the plane vary from a very noticeable anticipation to the look of absolute terror. the thirty one also vary themselves from seasoned veterans of this war, to sixteen year olds fresh meat who were forced into this campaign through conscription. Sitting opposite me is Thomas King, a religious boy from my home town. He was a shy boy, but always smiled. Right now he sits with his head against his rifle, a crucifix hanging around the barrel. I can t hear him but from the way his lips move I can tell that he s praying. He shouldn t be on this plane. Hardly any of these conscripts would be here by choice. Next to him, Joe Williams, from day one I could tell what type of person he was. Cocky attitude and a cheeky smile, he was a ladies man, and a popular one too. Now, a shaven head and the smile replaced with total fear, he becomes the same as any one of us. The final face I recognise on board the landing craft is sergeant Fox. Usually steel nerved and barking orders, even he now sits in silence looking at a picture of his wife. Am I scared? A little. But not as much as I thought I would be or as much as everyone else. Six foot, brown hair and blue eyes. I look just like most other men on this assault. Just another face.
I check the watch on my wrist. 1607 hours, three minutes until the drop zone. it's a winter's afternoon and it's already dark outside, making the red light seem brighter. Lieutenant Hawker gets to his feet and we all follow suit. We all pull a parachute up from beneath out seats, sling them onto our backs and clip then onto ourselves at the front. I pull a clip from the 'chute on the soldier in front and clip it onto the wire above and i feel the soldier behind doing the same to me. outside, a shot from the flak guns explode near our plane shaking it viciously. I almost lose my balance but regain it quickly. After placing my helmet on my head, I tug at the 'chute of the soldier in front making sure it's secure. I put my thumb up to Hawker showing that the trooper in front is ready for the jump.
I check my watch again. 1610. The red light switches colour to green and the cargo doors open revealing a black sky dotted with planes and smoke from the flak guns. The transport behind gets hit in the left engine by a shot and it spins down in an orange ball of fire. i swear i can faintly hear the screams of the soldiers until it hits the ground below us. Mesmerised by the display, it takes a push from me to realize that the jump has already started and that i'm holding everybody up. With a surge of adrenaline i charge down the ramp and push myself off practically swan diving out of the plane.
stuck in freefall for what feels like minutes, i start to think that it hasn't opened and that the last thing i'll see is the ground quickly rising up to meet me but thankfully it opens before i get to low and i bob in the sky as the wind catches the dome opening up above me. my relief is short lived as the enemy soldiers on the ground take this as an opportunity to open fire on their enemies that are slowly and helplessly falling from the sky. a few rounds wiz past my head, some far away, some missing me by inches. A few punch holes in the canvas above me speeding up my slow decent.
I aimed to land on the concrete of the port, a safe distance from the forest that surrounds it but the wind picked up as i fell, throwing me off target and into the large and threatening pine trees. I cover my face as the branches wip and cut my face. When the 'chute catches i still hang a good six foot off the ground with AK rounds still striking the trees around me. I hit the catch for the chute on my chest and drop to the ground with a thud, landing on my ammo pack and rifle. I dont linger on the floor of the forest for long, I drag myself up and throw myself against the nearest tree, my back towards the enemy.
The rifle comes out of its bag easy enough. The black and green beauty that got me out of a few situations. With a fresh clip locked and loaded, I turn away from the tree putting two rounds square in the chest of the Ivan shooting at me as i came down. It doesn't take long for another soldier to take his place who, just like the other, I dispatched with two well placed rounds to the chest. A wrecked APC sits immobile just through a chain linked fence, a few of our men, all ducked down and holding their rifles close, pinned down by machine gun fire from a hanger bay three hundred meters from their position. The Ivan gunners hide behind nothing but a few sand bags, visible from the chest upwards, their flanks completely exposed.