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Lovely day on the beach


Or how ignorance can be bliss. :)

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Well, before I can tell what happened after, I have to explain how this happened in the first place. I’ve never told anyone this, as I know it won’t make me look good, but I have to get if off my chest…


So, picture this:

We were on standard patrol on the Northern islands of Tanoa when we witnessed NATO attack the aerodrome of La Rochelle. As a civil airport with hardly any defences and caught completely off guard, it didn’t take long for the place to be in their control and with no place to go, we decided to dig in and set up defensive positions at our small base. About 30 minutes later, after their first reinforcements had been brought in, NATO came for us long before our HQ could react. Surprisingly, our defences held quite nicely against the major assault force, but that sniper… Man, was he something different. One by one, I saw my buddies fall to the earth with a gaping red hole where their chest once used to be. Took us 10 minutes and a lot of good men before we could guess where he was firing from.


After that, base command called on us, the 3 remaining members of Force Recon 7, to go out and find that sniper. Somehow, we snuck out the base and made it across the water undetected, but with only 3 guys to search an entire coastline, we decided to split up and maintain radio silence until we had finished the job. I don’t think I need to spell it out how uncomfortable a feeling it is to hunt a hunter, who is an expert in marksmanship and has every reason to shoot you on sight, with no one but yourself to rely on.


Luckily for me, as I was moving through the forest, I got the drop on him. Just a glimpse of movement along the tree line. As I moved into his blind spot, I got a clearer view and in that moment, everything changed.

I should’ve shot him right there and then, end the suffering of my fellow men at base and be done with it, but I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. Though he had every reason to believe he was alone, he moved stealthily, caution and awareness an inherent part of his being. It had an elegance that I had never seen before. His head slightly lowered, his back arched over his weapon, his feet touching the ground slowly to avoid making any noise. He did it all so much better than I ever could, even though we were considered the masters of stealth by our own troops. In any other situation, we could’ve shared tips and tricks, but not now. Not anymore…


Drawn in by the beauty, I trailed him until he stopped. I noticed his hesitation before moving out in the open, how he looked around for anything out of the ordinary (how he didn’t see me, I don’t know), before lowering on his belly to crawl into a firing position on the beach, in the knowledge that the open seas were covered by his colleagues and our troops were too busy holding off the assault force.


For a reason I still don’t understand, I used the sound of the rolling waves to sneak up on him. Though I had not the slightest intention to shoot him, I kept my barrel trained on his perfectly still body until I was sat right behind him. This close, I could see the minute changes in his aiming, follow his breathing until it stopped (as did my heart for I thought he had smelt my scent) and his rifle released a cracking sound, throwing sand everywhere. The cloud had hardly settled when a second bullet found its way to someone wearing my outfit.


The blasts had caught me by surprise so much, I almost screamed. Suddenly escaping the dream and realising the predicament I was in, I got up, ever so careful to not startle him, and as I walked away, I could hear him empty his clip behind me. As I stood there in the forest, tears in my eyes, I identified 4 shots coming from a CAR-95 and the click of my radio. He never knew …

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