Soldier Bart from the Netherlands is a shooter in combat unit

The first time he ended up in a gunfight, soldier first class Bart (20) from the Netherlands will never forget. “It was in early April when we moved from the base in Poentjak to the north. We had already heard from other troops that there were a lot of shelling and attacks were being carried out with roadside bombs and suicide bombings. It was early in the morning when we entered a small village and the fire was opened on us. We heard the rocket grenades fly over us and let us fall flat on the ground. Then it went pretty loose. Especially when my size was hit, I was shocked, but fortunately the injuries turned out to be not too bad “, the soldier looks backwards, sober. “We talked about it all day, but only in the evening I realized what had happened. I still had so much adrenaline in my body that I could not sleep, and I’d love to have gone straight back to the spot of the fight. In order not to worry my parents unnecessarily, I would have liked to tell them about this after returning, but in the end I called them after a few days. ”

The Werkendammer had just experienced a “TIC”, soldier jargon for Troops In Contact. Some soldiers think that is wonderful, others are not waiting for it. Bart: “Such a TIC does something with you, especially in the beginning. You leave the gate with more suspicion and approach the local population more carefully. You never know if there is a suicide bomber, so you always have to stay sharp. In the beginning I was therefore somewhat more tense, but that has already subsided “.

The first class soldier was a gunman on a Mercedes-Jeep during the mission and arrived in Uruzgan in early March for a stay of 4.5 months. An intensive preparation preceded this. Bart: “After my general military training in Oirschot, I went for five months with the 42st battalion of Limburg hunters for a training in Germany. When we returned from it in February last year, we were already going to Afghanistan. I did see that, because for that I went into the army after all. After the summer holidays we started with the exercises for the mission in Afghanistan. First with the peloton, later with the whole company. We also received lessons in Afghan culture and customs “. The jitters for the mission came to Bart three weeks before departure. Those jitters had been with his parents for some time. “My parents have a harder time with it than I do. We have regular contact via email and telephone. ” Laughing: “They are now even on MSN!”.

Soldier Bart: “After a fight you leave the gate with a different feeling, you approach the population a bit more carefully”.

(c) Bart Coolen 2007
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