The Havok Journal
When someone dies, it is custom for us to never say anything negativeย about him or her. We choose to remember only the good things, andย forget any negative aspects of that person. Not so with Claudioย Patino IV. There was no pretending that he was a good Marine, and weย werenโt forced to forget bad things about him. All of those good things you say about someone after theyโre dead, we would say about him while he was alive. Those that knew him could often react to him just by shaking our heads in wonder. Amongstย the Marine Corps infantry, and amongst a group of skilled snipers, heย stood out as a paragon of skill, ferocity, strength, speed, andย bravery.
Why tell you all of this? I want you to know that this man was theย best we had to offer. I want you to get a sense of how we allย idolized him, even while he was living. I looked up to him, and I wasย his TEAM LEADER, and I was about ten years older than him. There wereย actual times when I would give an order, and the guys in my team wouldย automatically look at him to see what he thought about it. Weย idolized him in life, and in death.
I remember his death well. Patino had seen some movement on a hilltopย in the distance. He wanted to go check it out, and he took threeย other teammates with him. I remember him getting to that hilltop andย collapsing, and I heard the automatic gunfire a half second later. Iย remember seeing the rest of the team unleash hell in the distance, andย the strained voices on the radio. As the rest of us bounded up toย their position and I asked for an update, one of the guys calmly saidย over the radio, โPatinoโs dead.โ
The next two hours was a blur ofย gunfire and radio traffic, as each of us took turns performing CPR onย the body of our brother, while our corpsman attempted everyย life-saving intervention he could. The mangled bodies of the Taliban fighters who shot him lay crumpled close by. Aircraft flew overhead, bombs wereย dropped, shots were fired, and more injuries were sustained.
Only aย matter of weeks passed before I stood before his parents withย two of my brothers, giving an account of the death of their son.
Post 2 of 4 or read the rest at the link in our profile.