This picture was taken from the roof of the building we called home. Though a simple photo it really captures a lot of what it is to be an infantryman. Not much has changed for a very long time.
He is polishing his boots. Something we did everyday. And it is a very effective way to make sure one of your most important articles of clothing is in good shape and ready at all times.
And you can see next to him is his rifle. Our rifles where always within reach no matter what we doing. We carried it with us to the chow hall as well as to the latrine. It becomes an extension of you and it is second nature to reach for it whenever and wherever you move out too. It also needed constant cleaning. Constant cleaning. Somalia was very dry and very dusty and it was vital to keep your rifle clean.
The Private in the picture is one of my platoon mates. He drove the Platoon Sergeant’s truck and I drove the Platoon Leader’s truck so we spent a lot of time working together. (I am not posting his name for the sake of his privacy. But in case I need to prompt my own memory one day his initials are RR.)