Monday, February 15, 2010

The Hawk on the Syrian Border

On the eastern side of Syria and the western side of Iraq lies the Syrian Border. As an independent contractor working in Iraq in 2005. Our company was awarded a contract to provide some logistical support to the US Marines along the Syrian border. Within our company we had our own security which provides security for our own equipment and personnel. As the security manager I had 36 Iraqi guards working for me and was responsible for an area approximately 50 miles along the Syrian border.

I many experiences from many places all over the Middle East and Africa, but what stands out for me is an encounter with a Desert Hawk I had while peforming that security assignment on the Syrian-Iraqi border.

The Syrian desert is a very isolated and desolete place with very little vegetation and wildlife. At the time I was there, the daytime temperature could easily reach 120 degrees F. With little to no water holes or ponds, the wildlife there struggled everyday just to survive.

One afternoon one of my guards came to me and said, "Mr. Dave (pointing to a Hawk sitting on watet tank) that Desert Hawk is hungry and thirsty", so I asked him, "well how do you know that?" He replied "the Hawk has been on top of the water tank for two days and that when they’re real hungry they will come to people."

I had no reason to doubt what he was saying since he lives here and would understand the wildlife in this desert. Another Iraqi guard climbed up the water tank and picked up the Hawk and brought it back down to all of us. As the crowd gathered around the Hawk, the Hawk did not fly away and was very patient while we were taking pictures and transferring him from one hand to another. The Hawk could have just been to weak to fly......who knows?.

After all the pictures were taking we gave the Hawk some raw meat and water and once he was finished eating and drinking he just flew off and we never saw him again.

It’s strange how nature works sometimes. It has been known that in desperate times some animals will seek out humans for food or shelter. I was very fortunate to be there that afternoon and to witness nature’s wildlife and humans coming together.

To this day I often ask myself, I wonder what that hawk was thinking as he flew away. Does he have a different outlook on humans or will he forget the whole thing and continue to avoid humans?

David B. Asher
MSG (ret), Special Forces

Webmaster note: I have know Dave Asher for 31 years. After a succesful career in Special Forces, where he was known as a highly competent and meticulous SF Engineer and Demolitions Sergeant and exceptional small unit trainer, and, where I was fortunate enough to serve with him a number of times, Dave has spent the last 9 years, going on 10, training third world security forces and most notably. assisting less fortunate people of Africa. I look forward to more posts from him.

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