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Crasher aka Stanislav Zavodny

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“You know my son, when you grow up all this fighting will be over and you will have a beautiful country to raise your children in. They will not fear going to school, or playing in the streets. You’ll be a man someday and you’ll have made your mother and me very proud.”

These were the last words my father said to me when I was 6. I remember the day as if it were just yesterday. It was a hot summer day on the coastal region of Chernarus in 1993. My father and I were making a trip down to Elektrozavodsk to visit my aunt and uncle. He made this remark to me as we passed by a CDF military checkpoint in Berezino which was active with panic and strife. There must have been a disagreement between the local militia and some of the pro-Russian citizens.

The region was still tense after the fall of the USSR in 1991, the ethnic Russians referring to “South Zagoria” as a Russian state, and the indigenous residents claiming independence to the newly separated “Chernarus”. Little did we know a Russian partisan terror organisation had targeted three of our cities for an attack. Within four minutes six triggermen set off explosives in Chernogorsk, Zelenogorsk, and Berezino. One of those men had detonated in the town center our bus was travelling through.

It has been almost 20 years since then. A lot has changed but I will never forget what my father told me.

I am 25 now. After the incident my mother took me to Canada to seek refuge and start a new life. We had no money in the beginning and she struggled hard to keep a roof over our heads. She managed to keep me fed and send me off to school throughout my childhood, something I am grateful for. Despite this, something inside me pushed me to join the armed forces. My mother was in tears. She could not understand why her boy who she saved from a warzone would want to join an army. It was something I felt I needed to do.

I joined as soon as I turned 18 and started my basic training in 2006. After almost a year of training, I was sent to Battalion and into a heavy weapons det in C Company. I was deployed to Afghanistan once in 2008 for six months then again in 2010 for another five, being cut short as my mother passed away while I was in country. I feel guilty as she must have been stressed about me being gone, and no one was there for her in her last moments.

I won’t sugar coat it, I was pretty messed up. We were in the middle of an operation clearing Taliban out of the heart of the Arghandab river. We were four days in and had already wiped 30+ enemy, found three weapons caches, 16 IED’s, four of which found us before we found them. I lost three of my friends in the first 48 hours. The Sergeant Major comes to me and tells me I’m going home!? I didn’t understand. I told him “go home? Now? No way Kimosabe, this is MY house now”! Sure enough, they told me ma’ had passed and next thing I knew I was on a flight outta Kandahar within 24 hours. No debrief, no warning, no decompression. In one day I go from being in a combat operation to greeting friends at the airport back home. Shit just doesn’t work that way, let me tell you.

Coming back and working on the hangar floor with a bunch of FNG’s isn’t comforting either. Times were tough so I turned to drugs and liquor. It was only a matter of time before the MP’s were knocking at my door and I was released from the service. Getting a job isn’t so easy once you’ve been dishonourably discharged from a government position. You get black listed.

It was 2011 and I was following the situation back in Chernarus closely, remembering my childhood. It was getting tense over there, I wanted to go. I needed to get back in “the shit”. Something about combat just, I don’t know, I can’t really explain it. With the little money I had, I got a one way ticket to Chernarus and didn’t look back.

I landed in Novigrad. Of course my mother kept me up to date with my Czech during my childhood, so there was no language barrier. I had only one contact I remember from back in the day, a close friend of my father. His name was Boris Krokorew. I had to make my way up to South Zagoria, back to Krasnostav where I was from, and where I hoped Boris still lived. Thankfully the economy here sucks and my Canadian dollars turned out to be quite valuable in Koruna, the currency used in Chernarus. I was able to afford a bus to Berezino. The irony.

A lot had changed since I left. You could clearly see the destruction that lay from the Russian invasion, and the USMC intervention force. Debris was all over the roads, burned out cars were everywhere. This was exactly the country I was expecting. Excitement came over me as the realization came to me that I had a new purpose in life. The smell of the coast filled my lungs and the going down of the sun hinted at the dangers of the night. I took a rest at a local bar before heading up to Krasnostav. I asked around about Mr.Krokorew but all I got was blank stares. I quietly finished my “locally brewed” beer, paid, and left slightly disheartened.

It was close to midnight, also, very hot and humid outside. I noticed how quiet the town was at night and was quickly reminded this wasn't the safe streets of Canada. A civil war was raging here. Danger could be around any corner. I hailed a taxi and made my way up to the quiet town of Krasnostav. As we traversed across the countryside I crossed my fingers. Boris, I’m on my way and you better still be cooped up in that ancient house of yours you old bastard.

Stanislav Zavodny

//More to follow!

Thanks to Murdentist with his help in writing this!

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Keep going like this and CLF will have their very own book. A bestseller, too!

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