the things they burned

Imgres-1Jennifer Percy at The New Republic:

Specialist Nicolas Plantiko burned dogs. Sergeant Thomas J. Brennan burned lithium ion batteries, flame-resistant FROG suits, and MK-19 rounds. He burned plastic chemical drums, nylon, tires, wires, and tarps. He burned shit and piss.Sergeant Bill Moody’s unit burned a Porta-John, dried-up MREs, and 500 loaves of moldy bread. Staff Sergeant Louis Levesque burned bunk beds. Private Johnnie Stevenson burned plastic bottles because he loved the way they hissed. Airborne infantryman Dennis St. Pierre burned radio batteries and chemlights. Sergeant Carlos Castro joked about burning another soldier for talking too much. Captain Matthew Frye burned a packet of Tabasco sauce that exploded and nearly took out the JTAC’s eye. Staff Sergeant Tim Wymore burned 25 loads of DEET-soaked tents and walked around with the taste of smoke in his mouth. Sergeant Zachary Bell burned batteries because the Taliban used the carbon rods for IED triggers. Specialist Dante Sowell burned burlap bags so he wouldn’t have to fill them up with sand. Captain Adrian Bonenberger watched a Christmas tree go into a burn pit. Private George Snyder burned Private Stuart Decker’s one confirmed kill. Sergeant Casey Rohrich burned a human toe. They burned magazines, movies, junk food, college brochures, and pamphlets for the GI Bill. They burned amputated body parts and Humvee parts. They burned human waste and plastic meal trays. They burned the blood and clothes of the wounded.

Everything—all the trash of the war—was thrown in a burn pit, soaked with jet fuel, and torched. There were hundreds of open-air garbage dumps, spread out across Afghanistan and Iraq, right next to encampments where American soldiers lived and worked, ate and slept. The pits burned day and night, many of them around the clock, seven days a week. There were backyard-size pits lit by patrols of a few dozen men, and massive, industrial-size pits designed to incinerate the endless stream of waste produced by U.S. military bases.

more here.