combat writing badge C O M B A T
the Literary Expression of Battlefield Touchstones
ISSN 1542-1546 Volume 03 Number 01 Winter ©Jan 2005

One Hundred Tanks

          One hundred tanks burned on the field of war. Black columns of smoke from burning flesh and oil rose in individual streams toward the pacific sky. Like black flowers they each marked the spot where a crew of three once worked as a team. Now all that was left was a memory and the echo of their last words.

          The commander smiled as he surveyed the wisps of smoke. He knew that of the tanks lost, only one of them was his. He was joyous with a victory won with only a small loss.

          The nation praised the commander for the victory he won. A savior of the people, he was awarded accolades both high and prestigious. His future as a public servant and leader of his people was assured.

          The entire nation sang his praises except for three families. Three homes where a chair remained unoccupied. Rooms without a tenant. Three families left incomplete.

          Then again there were 297 families on the other side who were just as incomplete.

by Joseph J. DeRepentigny III
... who is a military intelligence veteran now working as a security screener; and has previously published "The Cracked House", "Prudence", and "Future Laurie".