The husband and I just rewatched Generation Kill. If you aren’t familiar with it, it’s a 2008 HBO miniseries based on the book by Evan Wright. The book tells the story of 1st Recon Marines during the invasion of Iraq. Wright was a Rolling Stone journalist and tagged along for the invasion. The book was then turned into the show.
We watched it when it first aired. We were dating at the time and I would go over to his house on Sunday nights, he had HBO and I didn’t, and watch it together. I hadn’t seen it since. I remembered the basis of it, but forget the majority of the details. I’ve also learned a lot more about combat and what it can do to you in the last nine years.
Watching it, we see how they went from killing time in Kuwait, to getting the word they were heading to Iraq and leaving within hours. At that point, the adrenaline starts. It’s easy to see how one is constantly on alert and many have an almost constant adrenaline rush. Lack of sleep and then falling asleep to the background noise of gunfire. A Military Combat Stress Therapist once told me that when a person is on alert and has that high for so long like they do in combat, it’s hard to come down from it when they come home. That is why many times veterans will turn to other things to keep the high up. Drinking, drugs, and whatever else they can find. She even mentioned porn in the same context. Not the looking at it so much, but the chance of getting caught is a rush to some. It’s easy to see why living like that for months on end can change how your brain works.
Watching shows and movies like this also gives us the chance to talk about things. Combat just doesn’t come up in conversation every day. For us, it only comes up if something happens or there is a situation with him or someone he knows. While watching, he’ll make comments and then I can ask questions. ‘Is that how it was for you?’ ‘Did the gunfire become soothing at night?’ ‘Why are Charms bad luck?’ He offers up some on his own, but it is an easy avenue to talk about different aspects of combat that still effect him.
If you haven’t seen Generation Kill, it’s a good watch. A couple of the original Marines are in the show (Rudy Reyes plays himself and Eric Kocher plays not himself, but Gunny Barrett) and so are Kellen Lutz and Alexander Skarsgard. There’s a lot of man candy. In my opinion, it’s helpful to see what they went through, even if it has been fictionalized.