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Hey Guys and Gals,

Now I am going to say right away that I have experienced something that will forever be scarred into my mind. Never thought it would be from a game though. I will give you a little background of myself, as it is necessary to better understand what occured. 

I am an US Army veteran, served from 2005-2012, partook in both OEF and OIF (Op. Enduring Freedom and Op Iraqi Freedom), I was part of one of the many ODA's that were in both wars. ODA's are better known as Special Forces or Green Berets (for civilians). It was a very tasking job, interfacing with and training locals, setting up intelligence networks and tracking down bomb makers, but I was always aware that with work like this, you are immediately part of a highly targeted group. Thus, when a tragic day rolled around I was prepared, but sometimes it is not the attack that breaks a man, but rather time and memory.

Due to OPSEC, I can neither reveal the exact time or location of the attack, but the FOB was at the bottom of a valley with mountains on two sides and a very long strip of winding road as the only means of entry. Our mission on that fateful day was to interface with locals about Al-Qaeda threats in an attempt to win the "hearts and minds" of the people. We were to offer up our services to help protect them against our common enemy. I was the Communications Sergeant for the mission, again due to OPSEC no names of active SF guys are allowed, so I will use their nicknames. Miller (his favorite beer) was the Weapons Sergeant, Ticker (he had a short fuse) was the Engineering Sergeant and Kev was, you guessed it, the Medical Sergeant. Now, I gave you Kev's name, because I can, due to the fact that OPSEC does not apply to those who have been KIA. 

On that day, we moved into the village, had our terp (translator), myself and Kev interface with the tribal leaders to figure out how we could help one another in fighting the Al-Qaeda threat, while Miller, Ticker and the other ANA soldiers set up a perimeter. After much discussion, we agreed on training the men of the village in exchange for continuous intelligence about run ins with AQ.

After the two hours of negotiation, we decided to head back to the FOB so we could get back before dark, as a night ride in this area almost always guaranteed an attack. We were making our way back in three humvees, lead was Miller/ANA, second was Kev/ANA and last was myself and Ticker with the terp. About a mile outside of the town and about 4 miles from the FOB, we started to recieve some harassing fire, something we were used to and happened at least every other day, but this was different. They usually engaged from ridiculously long distances for their equipment, 800+ yards because they were scared of the US forces' precision rifles, but that day they were much closer, around 150 yards and well within their weapons' ranges. After about 5 mins of shooting from the East, the stakes rose as the AQ fighters fired and RPG at our trucks. It nearly hit Miller's truck, but hit harmlessly skipped across the ground about 15 feet from the truck.

At that moment, I took a round to the back plate that slammed me square into the truck, but something was wrong, I got hit from due West which could only mean that there were enemy to our backs as well. My team immediately turned around and started pouring rounds and 40mm into the hill, I moved to the passenger's seat to catch my breath. I called over to Kev to bring me a water as the round that hit me smashed up my Camelbak. When he got to my car and gave me the god awful 90 degree water, we joked about how it could have been worse, it could have hit my bible in my back pocket. At that moment, Kev went limp, he took a round from the same guy that hit me, but this time, it caught him right under the armpit and when into his torso. That was the last shot that fighter took as Miller fired his 40mm grenade launcher right behind the rock where he fired from. I dragged Kev into our truck as I called for a Medevac to meet us at the FOB.

We hauled ass back to the FOB as the only hope for Kev was to stablize him and get him to the hospital asap. We got there in 7 minutes just as the Medevac helicopter arrived. The whole time Kev was pleading for me to help him and for me not to leave him. All I could do was to reassure him, but I knew deep down that he most likely wouldn't make it. Right as we carried him to the heli his head rolled to the side and told me, "Why me? Please save me." He died right there on the stretcher.

I never forgot that day. We all loved Kev, but mourning wasn't an option as we still had a mission to do. Fast forward a year and a TBI (traumatic brain injury) from an IED later, I left the Army and returned to being a civilian. 

I went back home, did the normal things that people did: Go out to eat, workout, find a steady job, got a girlfriend and just lived a overall normal life. Months, went by and when Miller cashed in he leave, we decided to go up to Lake Tahoe and spend a week at his family's lake house to decompress. When we arrived, we caught up over a few beers and I decided to burn some time before dinner with an Xbox session. Now, when we had free time over back in Afghanistan, we loved to play MW2. In fact, we played the hell out of it, master prestige and veteran campaign, but that's beside the point.

So, I played the campaign as Miller was texting his new girlfriend that was heading up. I resumed the campaign from where it previously had stopped which was the mission "Whiskey Hotel", it was exactly as I had remembered it and gotta tell ya, it sure was a rush to kick the Russian's asses out of the White House. The next mission was "Loose Ends". Everyone that has played MW2 remembers that level, it is the one where you assault Makarov's safehouse in the hills. I ran through the whole mission like normal, exfiltrated down the hill running like a mad man to the targeted area and then the cutscene began. Everything was exactly as it should be, Shephard shot my character, then Ghost. The moment it all changed was when Shephard's soldiers threw Ghost's body toward me. When his head rolled over, I heard Ghost's model say quietly, "Why me? Please save me." Just as Kev did right before he died.

Obviously, I freaked out. I dropped the controller stood up and pointed at the screen and just started screaming "No! No!". Miller looked at me and laughed just telling me, "Bro, you can't stop Ghost from dying!". I looked at him and said, "Wait, you didn't hear that?". He obviously didn't so I replayed the whole level again and when I reached the cutscene again, I made him pay close attention. In the same spot, Ghost's model said, "Why me? Please save me." I looked at him and said "See! It is exactly what Kev said to me with his last breath!" Miller said that he heard nothing.

Miller decided to abandon the vacation at that moment and drove me to the nearest VA where I underwent treatment for my TBI that I recieved in Afghanistan. I want to say right now, that no, this was not a "haunted" disc or hack or anything of the sort. The best guess that both my doctor and I came to, was that due to the TBI and undiagnosed PTSD, I experienced a severe hallucination that caused my brain to imagine Kev's final words to be uttered by Ghost because the cutscene brought the feeling of hopelessness and despair that I felt when Kev died.

I went on for several more months without an issue, but with our bloodlust that exists within our modern media, it wasn't long before it happened again. This time it happened even more intensely than it had previously before. I continued to go to the VA in order to seek treatment for my PTSD, but after several more months nothing was working. My doctor and psychiatrist thought that if I could face the trigger that had originally set off my episode, then I might be able to overcome the fear and emotional wound that exists within me. 

The moment we put that dame game into the Xbox I started to break into a cold sweat. I knew what was going to happen and I tried to mentally prepare myself for what was going to happen, but that was simply enough. It happened again and I screamed. "Kev! I am sorry! I can't save you! Get out of my head!". The doctors tried to hold me down, that was the single worst idea and the point where I lost control. I began to ruthlessly attack those that were holding me down. I didn't regain control until it was too late though, I had broken the neck of the psychiatrist and there was a huge gapping head wound on the doctor from when I shoved him into the corner of the desk. I realized that this had sealed my fate, I would be forever locked up in a mental institution, but I wouldn't allow that to happen. 

I fled the VA and headed back home. The police knew who I was, they knew it was me that did it, obviously because of the cameras and the patient log-in, but I had at least a couple hours before they got to me. Those couple hours have allowed me to write this. You see, I am not able to face this anymore. I can't be trapped by my mind anymore. I never thought that I would be the oppressor of myself; I need to be free.

I wanted to share this story because I know that there are others who share my issues and I want them to know you are not alone. If you know someone like me, please help them. This is my last wish.

De Oppresso Liber, (To Liberate the Oppressed)

SFC Park

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