By SGT Jerrod Lee Osborne
Bravo Company (1-502nd Infantry)
Police Officer, Springfield Police Department
*This is an article from the Spring 2023 issue of Combat Stress
It seems like yesterday that I was there, so far from home, and depending on you. We deployed in late 2005 to Yusufiyah Iraq, this place called the Sunni Triangle of Death. We were all proud to be part of the War in Iraq, the 101st Airborne Division, and Bravo Company 1-502nd.
As soon as we arrived, we made Yusufiyah our home. We were met by both a loving village and one that hated us for everything we stood for. In that year’s time that we were together, I lost my sanity and some of you. AK-47’s, IED’s, and your blood-stained uniforms were all I could remember.
Reading the book Black Hearts made it worse. Even though it was accurate, it reminded me of all of the bad times and a war crime in which the majority of us had no part. Over the years since I have been home, I have been able to piece a lot of it together and the other 99 percent of our story the book never mentioned. Stuck in time, we are all there and I have come to realize that I will always be there. What makes it hard, is there is always a bad ending to my memory and the way I ultimately remember you.
Through self-reflectance, embracing who I have become, and letting go of who I once was before the War, I have been able to see the sunsets there. The way the sun caught all the ripples on the Euphrates River. I can see the palm trees and the little boy out herding his sheep next to the canal. The rustic little brown buildings and smell of freshly made Flatbread.
There are a lot of days that I cannot see the sunsets there and I can feel the anxiety flowing through me like a drug. One that I cannot stop and know all too well. At the end of a bad day though, I can always hope that the next day will bring that time I remember you and your smile. The hope you once had and the time we spent in Yusufiyah.
To Ethan Biggers, his family, the other members of Bravo Company who never came home, and all the members of the Armed Forces who continue to struggle every day. Every new day brings hope and a little more understanding to our lives and what we have been through. Even though we are all different, we believed in a common cause. I think that our cause now is to make sense of what we can and to forgive ourselves for what we cannot change. God bless all of you.