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HKIA At Night

by Ansel Rubin, Cpl, 1st Battalion 8th Marines

“Everyone I believe has that one singular event that they remember most from our operation, aside from that day, August 26th which will forever be ingrained in our memory. That second outlier for me would be the night of the 24th rolling into the day of the 25th, tower 9. A lot of shit happened at that post, we got info on a VBIED to be on the lookout for, countless people began to come up to the tower begging us to help them and let them in. There’s things I’m not exactly proud of that I did or said there, as I’m sure some people can relate- jokes and saying things. You find comfort in humor at times no matter how vulgar or somewhat inhumane . We all did what we could I guess to help our own mental and deal with all the bullshit that happened over there. You could see almost everything on that southern end of the city. One of my immediate fears was a rocket potentially getting shot at us or just getting sprayed by AK’s, and given the windows weren’t exactly bullet proof we were sort of sitting ducks unless we were able to get out in time. I had probably been on post or up doing security or gate stuff for maybe 2 days straight with barely sleep if any, I was rat fucking all the MRE bags up in that tower trying to find as many coffee packets and creamer I could to help me stay awake.

That night sometime around midnight to 1 in the morning is when a man with his brother and their two kids found a hole in the perimeter fence and made their way into the crawl space between the concrete wall and that fence. I kept hearing a faint “hey” but couldn't see anything, that went on for about 10 minutes, that’s when I really starting to question the lack of sleep. Out the corner of my eye is when I spotted a man waving his arms saying “help!" There was a wall of sandbags that prevented them from just aimlessly walking through. Immediately I told my buddy to radio up that we needed Marines at tower 9 and I began to make my way down. I raised my weapon at them and began yelling at them to get down, to which my buddy ended up dropping a flashbang directly in front of me which honestly was just kinda funny. The part that sticks with me most is the two kids. A little girl no older than 10 and a little boy maybe 4 or 5, as soon as the other Marines came to assist that’s when shit kinda hit the fan. The two men were flexycuffed and I brought the kids off to the other side of the wall so they didn’t have to see. The father was an Afghani police officer (or was at least). They were begging for us to help saying that if they didn’t leave him, his brother, and his children would all be killed by Taliban. That’s when the boy grabbed my hand and started kissing it squeezing it as hard as he could, the little girl begging me to help her father. A piece of me sort of died in that moment. It took a lot for me to hold back in that situation. Knowing what was gonna happen to them, I wanted nothing more than to scoop those kids up and walk them to the terminal and onto a plane myself. We then escorted them all the way to out to Abby gate, I have no idea what happened to that man and his kids."

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