Every step, precipitous. Every sound, unnerving. The growls and hollers of dogs alert the residents to our presence.

We are owning the night.

Psychologically imposing our will that we are not afraid of the last bastion of insurgent activity. Fear lives in the darkness, save for the sickening green world I perceive through the lens of my night vision.

It feels like we’re invading something sacred, moving towards the unknown.

A door rattles. My weapon is trained on the door along with three others from my patrol. All of us flashing high powered lights and switching off safeties. Assholes puckering.

Tsenga ye! It’s our local pain in the ass looking for more work. He has no Idea how close he was to having new, decorative 5.56mm holes to adorn his body.

We carry on patrolling, the street lights I had helped install in the village are all gone except for two. I guess we won’t be doing many more development projects in this part of town for now. I carry on…

The crackle from the local mosque’s speakers moan with the most haunting incantations as we patrol through the night. The hair on my neck stands on end and it’s as if I have a heightened sense of awareness – animal like. I chew my gum harder and faster.

The moon is full and silhouettes the entire patrol as we hop over walls and disappear into the labyrinth of grape fields. When every step might be your last, you’d think that the stress would be overwhelming, paralyzing but oddly enough it isn’t.

The HESCO walls are within sight. Not time to start thinking about that growling pit of hunger I have in my stomach, stay alert, stay frosty, stay vigilant. Mission complete.

We owned the night tonight.
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