So, it’s a sensitive subject, talking about fear on the battlefield. While there are almost unlimited risks to life and limb in a war zone, it’s not any of the standard threats that tend to get soldiers chattering. Instead, there is one possible outcome to a deployment that strikes absolute terror into soldiers. And it’s this:
Before they went off to fight in Afghanistan, the guys of 3rd Battalion, 5th Marines talked quietly about their deepest fear. Not dying. Not losing a leg or an arm.
It was having their genitals ripped off, burned away or crushed in the fiery blast of an improvised explosive device.
This was no idle concern to young men bursting with testosterone. The makeshift bombs known as IEDs are taking a frightening toll in Afghanistan, the blasts shearing off arms and legs, ripping through soft flesh, crushing organs and bone, and driving dirt, rocks and filth deep into torn flesh — often leaving the genitals shredded or missing. Some guys said they’d rather be dead.
This quote comes from a fascinating — and fascinatingly hard to read — story out recently which, if you’re brave, you can read to understand some of the risks soldiers take when they deploy to a war zone.