It started with the fact that I hadn’t stopped the blast that killed them.
I was over 100 miles away staring at my watch, wishing time away so I could go home. Maybe, back at the airbase, it would be pizza night or I might start the next series of '24'.
You see, my world wasn’t a swelteringly hot cloud of dust and debris.
I didn’t have the wreckage from one of my Land Rovers spread over half a kilometre of a town, far from home, that nobody cared about. I couldn’t hear anyone screaming for help in my cockpit and, as I looked out towards the snow-capped mountains, the clouds were fluffy and the sun was bright.
I was so bored.
And, if anything, a touch warm - I turned the aircon down a little.
I don’t think I’d spoken to my Weapons Officer for over forty minutes - everything we needed to say had been said in the previous three hours. I could see my wingman a couple of miles away; Steve was new to the Squadron but solid. He was beginning to understand that our tour of Iraq was going to be anything but exciting.
'Exciting' for a military fast jet pilot is anything that involves death, either the delivery or the acceptance.
It’s part of the job and comes with the territory.