"Most troublingly, I didn't have a clue how to fire an RPG. But for whatever reason, I picked it up. And for whatever reason, I survived. Now I was in possession of a foreign weapon that I'd never held and had not the slightest idea how to use.

"I took cover behind another tree and looked the weapon over. I'd seen them in movies and pictures, but we were never trained how to use enemy weapons. I fumbled with the rocket until it snapped firmly into place. I thought that if I could just somehow figure out how to fire the damn thing, I could destroy the building and free up my brothers. Plus -- and I'd be lying if I didn't admit it -- I loved the idea of shooting these bastards with their own damn weapon.

"I popped out from behind my palm tree. Squeeze. Nothing.

"I reloaded the rocket, checked the sights, and put it back up on my shoulder again before exposing myself from behind the tree a second time.

"Squeeze. Nothing again. 'Motherfucker!' I muttered.

"I started to wonder whether there was a reason this stupid thing had been tossed into the battlefield; maybe it was a dud. That's when the launcher's dual-trigger system caught my eye. If it didn't work this time, I was done fooling with this thing.

"No sooner had I exposed myself and gotten into a kneeling firing position than I heard Gardner get hit in the ribs. Gardner's screams sounded like someone getting his arms sawed off. His body collapsed to the ground. He was seven yards away, lying in an expanding pool of deep-red blood.

"The Fedayeen zeroed in on his body. Their rounds punched the dirt around him. Gardner's face turned as white as Tardif's had. Blood was pouring out of his mouth, along with gargling sounds. Later we'd learn that he'd been paralyzed from the waist down, but at the time, all we knew was that if we didn't do something fast, another round would find and kill him.

"I thought, 'If I'm going to fire this thing, I better do it now, because if I don't, they're going to kill Gardner.' I pointed the RPG back at the terrorists, aimed at the structure, braced for the kickback, and squeezed the trigger."

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