The room was silent, as the three colonels shifted and arranged papers in their laps. The major held up a single sheet of thick paper and began to read, as the staff sergeant readied her hands over a small electronic device that sat on the tiny top shelf of her toy-like mobile desk.

“In the matter of the investigation into the command of the Third Battalion, First Marine Division, and the command of that unit by Colonel…”

The major kept talking but I could no longer hear him. Tears flowed down my face as if some dam had cracked and was coming apart. They were there, the Board of Inquiry in my ICU unit, to investigate the colonel and not me. I was a witness, or so they supposed or knew. The major droned on for several minutes, but all I could do was look at the big clock above his head. I counted the seconds like I was in the last minutes of my fourth hour before another shot of morphine could be administered to me.

I didn’t care about the colonel of my battalion, the three colonels over to the side of me, or about the board of inquiry, whatsoever.