A Line in the Sand

A Line in the Sand
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The true story of a Marine's experience on the front lines of the Gulf War
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Robert Serocki
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This book is a true account of my experience as a Marinein the Gulf War. I decided to tell my story in hopes of
developing, in the reader, a deeper respect for America's
veterans by revealing the extreme mental and physical sacrifices
a soldier must make during war. I want to show how our
own government, while fulfilling our duty, treated us, how
people get through such experiences and what those people
do to keep their sanity.
For me it was music and religion. I lived vicariously in
the songs; they allowed me to mentally release pent up emotions
and often, at times, the music would take me away to
a place where there was no danger. Belief in a supreme
being helped me to also cast away my fears. I had God to
confide in and it was a way to help make me feel like I had
some control over my destiny. It also helped me to accept
I served two tours in the Gulf War. Marines did not have
the luxury of knowing that when our tour of duty was over
we could go home. We were there for the duration, no matter
how long that took. As the Commandant of the Marine
Corps put it so gracefully in the Saudi desert on a blistering
hot October day, "Your head and your ass are in my corner
and you will go home when I say you can go home!" War is
pure hell, no matter how quickly it ends or how long it lasts.
Ever since I came home from the Gulf War I have had to
deal with hearing things like "Oh, that was an easy war" or
"They didn't even fight, you guys had it easy." People kept
telling me "Oh, that wasn't a real war." Compared to other
wars, such as World War I, World War II, Korea, and more
recently Vietnam, the loss of life, on our side, was far less.
However, no war is easy and losing one life, let alone a few
hundred, is one too many. I hope to dispel these perceptions
and show what really happened in the Gulf War. The fact of
the matter is, as General Norman Schwartzkopf put it, "It's not
that the Iraqi's didn't fight, it's that our troops are just that
damn good!"
I hope to show the realities of war, which can be quite
unnerving and gut wrenching. Realities that were so
painful they have forced grown men to wound and even
kill themselves just to escape. Memories that cause them to
do drugs, drink and completely defile themselves for a
release from the pain, if only for a few hours. I want to
reveal the stark differences between what really happens in
war and what is reported to the American people. We all
had to change and adapt to our situation overseas in order
to survive, greatly changing all of our lives once we
returned home. As the Marine Corps always says, "Adapt,
overcome, and improvise!" In the past I had to apply this
esoteric phrase to many enigmatic cycles of my life in
order to overcome them.
Back when I was contemplating writing this book I was
taken by a quote from the movie Platoon, by Oliver Stone. At
the end of the movie, Charlie Sheen's character reflects on
his experiences and says, "Those of us who make it home
have an obligation to rebuild again and to teach the world
what we know." With this book, I hope to achieve this. Those
of us, who do make it, have made it for a reason. I think, for
me, that reason is the one so poignantly stated above; I have
an obligation to rebuild and to teach the world what I know.
Finally, I have included most of the letters I wrote home
while I was in the Gulf War. They contain many grammatical
errors and misspellings. This is because I included them in
this book exactly the way I wrote them in 1990/1991.

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