The first and most serious wound I received as a result as a Gulf War veteran had nothing to do with Iraq. It had everything to do with LCPL Brandon Scott.

Scott is an entire story by himself. For more information on him, go here and read on. But for now, suffice it to say that, despite the best intentions, he was truly a tribute to confusion.

After saying good-bye to my wife, me and my group finished packing our gear and loaded a military bus to California. We were told that we would be taking a merchant marine ship named the USNS Curtis because all other means of transportation were being used in the rapid deployment. Just what we wanted: an eternal bus ride to think about what was happening before we loaded the ship. And as the gods would have it, I just happened to sit next to LCPL Scott.

I was depressed. I had been training for this contingency for three years but when it finally came, all I could think about was being away from my wife. My normal reaction to these circumstances was to be quiet and introspective, not inviting any conversation from those around me. After a few hours, we stopped at a little mom-and-pop store and we were allowed to get anything we wanted. Now picture this: 75 uniformed Marines piling off a bus heading toward the food aisles.

As part of the standard issue, we were given bayonets for the rifles that we carried. Some staff NCO had the brainstorm to fix these bayonets on our rifles on the harebrained misconception that it would prevent any of us from doing anything foolish with them and accidentally hurting someone. The silly thing about the whole thing was that when the bayonets are fixed on the rifles, the plastic protective sheath does not slide completely over the blade but leaves about 1/2 inch of exposed blade on the bottom. The sheaths were pretty much just sitting on top of the bayonet and whenever you would tip it, it would slide right off.

Here is where it gets good. Being that I was still pouting, I did not feel like going into the store and getting anything to eat but LCPL Scott was more than ready and was sitting on the inside, by the window. Obviously you could not have 75 battle-ready Marines march into a little convenience mart with rifles and bayonets sung over their backs so the order was given that if you wanted to go in, you had to leave your rifle with someone who was staying on the bus. LCPL Scott asked me to watch his rifle and I really did not give a rip either way. So I stood up and took a step back to let Scott out.

I had my rifle in my right hand and when Scott stood up, he handed me his rifle. I was trying to set my own rifle down and automatically reached out to get his but was not ready for it. I happened to grab it by the bayonet stud with my ring finger underneath.... right along to one-inch exposed blade. I was just going to set my rifle down and was holding his in a temporary manner until my other hand was free. Then I was going to grab his rifle with my newly freed hand and set it down also. That was the plan. This is what happened.

When Scott handed me his rifle, he did not know that the butt of the rifle just happened to be sitting on the top of his boot. As my head was turned to set my own rifle down, he stepped off and the rifle fell one foot-height down, causing the blade to ride down my ring finger which was resting on the razor-sharp blade. Instantly, I knew something was wrong. I turned to look and all I saw was blood gushing out of my finger and LCPL Scott walking off without and inkling of a clue of what had just occurred. He stepped off the bus, bound for Dorito-ville, as I stand there bleeding profusely.

My first thought was "Damn! This might put me off the deployment list." I could think of nothing more humiliating than going home and missing the war because I had sliced my finger on a bayonet. No one would believe the story and even if they did, it would still be embarrassing. They got me some paper towels and I applied pressure to it until we got to the base we were going to where I received three stitches and a protective finger case.

But the story of the battle wound does not end there. A deployment is an all-hands effort so when we got to the ship, there were endless working parties to load supplies. Because of my condition, I could not participate in any physical labor. As you can well imagine, this did not help my reputation or status among the others. Basically, I felt like a lame duck and even though everyone knew what had happened, it did not matter. In the Marine Corps, reasons and excuses are null and void. The end product, the accomplishment of the mission, is what is important. No one cares about accidents or bad luck. If you are hurt, you're useless. I was pretty useless until my hand healed but there was plenty of more opportunity ahead.

So on August 12, 1990, CPL Jason D. Grose received the first wound from the Gulf War. It was not glamorous nor did I receive any medals or attention other than loathing, but I have a little scar on my finger that has LCPL Scott written all over it.