My Time as a Professional Killer

For as We Train, so Shall We Fight...

I used to be a member of a very select group, my team were the people that were called when the talking was over, and it was time for people to die.
Getting on this team isn't very easy and I have been through some very intense physical, emotional, and mental testing. One of the final tests has raised a question in me about morality...

Has anyone ever heard of 'Simunitions'? To make a long story short they are a real bullet with the lead and powder removed. A rubber paint ball type cap is what the lead is replaced by and the firing cap(primer) is what propels the 'bullet' (at a much reduced velocity). They are less than lethal but much worse than a regular commercial paintball. Being shot by one of the projectiles is akin to getting kicked by a mule. A chest hit will knock the wind out of you, a shot in the arm makes the arm useless for quite a while. If you ever got shot by one you would definitely know it and would not be able to pretend that you weren't. They were developed for training exercises because they allow the use of your usual firearm while being less than lethal.

Special Emergency Response Team

After 'making the team' I was activated within 24 hours of acceptance. Activation is being called to duty, being sent out to do the job you were hired to do. I got to our meeting point and some of the earlier arrivals were already loading equipment into our vehicles. I asked the first person I got to what was going on and was promptly told to "Shut Up, get your stuff and get dialed in". I got into our vehicle and asked one of the other newbies what was going on, "a drill?" I said. His response was to show me weapons with 'live' ammo (we don't take live ammo on drills).

...So there I am, activated, in the dark, and knowing exactly what my 'job' is, what I am expected to do, I'm there to kill people first, ask questions later, and accept a surrender if possible. The team is not an inexpensive proposition as you can imagine and as such there aren't very many times that they activate us. Needless to say everyone involved with the teams are some very serious, professional, high-speed, low-drag people... Several of my teammates are ex-Navy Seals, Marine Force Recon, Army Rangers and some are even a little bit should we say more private than most...

The Heckler and Koch mp 5

Off we go

On the way we are given the situation information. We will be entering a military facility... on this military base hostages have been taken by several highly trained men that were being held there in the base prison. Negotiations are not going well and we are reporting to the site in case negotiations continue to degrade. On the trip, about a 45 minute drive, the old timers are calm, but tense, ready to spring. The newbies are given tasks to complete, things to occupy our hands and focus our minds. Mine was the loading of the H&K MP-5s, the assault 'Machine Pistols' (machine guns) that the team uses. I was instructed to load 5 magazines(thirty rounds each) for each weapon, and 10 extra magazines for each of our two gear men(pack mules, as we affectionately call them).

Once we arrived at the base we helped our snipers get set-up and they began observing for our intelligence gathering. The rest of us started the planning and rehearsing for an assault if it came to that. It is very rare I am told, that someone get selected for the teams and be placed directly into an active slot. I was however selected and placed just like that, straight from the basic academy to an active slot. I was placed in an assault team as the #2 man, or 'Back-Up Man' (bum for short). During an assault I was the second man in the door. I was the second because my partner was shorter than me and the logistics of assault teams dictate that it is easier for me to shoot over a shorter man's shoulder than it is for him to shoot over a taller man's shoulder.

The negotiations were falling apart, at one point the sniper teams reported hearing gunshots and seeing a body thrown out from a window. We were taken to the ready positions. As I sat there geared up and waiting for the go signal it finally dawned on me, I may die here tonight, or I may end up killing someone soon, very soon.

The signal was given and we exploded into the complex. I was like a stain on my partner's shoulder, where he went I was already there. We ended up having to split the 5 man team into a 2 man and a 3 man squad, my partner and I were on our own... We rounded a corner and I came face to face with fate. In the half second it took for my partner to enter and for me to follow 2 things had happened. The first was my partner had been shot and was falling to the floor, the second, the man that shot him was pointing his gun at me. I hesitated for a split second, I felt a bullet whiz right by my ear, I opened fire. My first two shots were center of mass, the third was in the center of my hostiles forehead. I saw the blood spatter, saw the movement of his shirt. I saw his head snap backwards as he fell to the floor. I started towards my fallen partner only to find him up, smiling at me and walking towards me. He hugged me. He said welcome to the team. Then he said, I will never again have any doubt about you 'having my back' and I'll die before I'll let you bleed. I was in shock, I didn't understand what was happening... Then to make things worse, the guy I had shot and most assuredly killed stood up and flipped me the bird. He said something about the forehead shot stinging still and how most 'newbies' miss the head shot...

I sat back on my heels trying to figure out what was going on... One of the Cadre (our instructors) came in at that point laughed at me and said your ok, we loaded your weapon with Simunitions. The rest of the Team, all old hands at this 'final' test, came in and congratulated me and welcomed me to the team. The bad guys were actually ex members of this team or of various military organizations or law enforcement officers.

After getting my wits back and finally coming to terms with the 'dead' man walking around. Getting over the anger at having been 'lied' to by my teammates, we did have quite a few laughs. Seeing how others reacted to the same 'test' was also very informational for me later on. The point to this particular test was that until you actually pull a trigger on a human being, no one really knows if they can or will. On this team they had to KNOW that I could and would and did. Every member before me and every member after me all passed this final test, or they were not allowed on the team. Anyone having failed this test usually just accepted that killing wasn't for them and resigned.

Having the honor of being on this team was and is one of the highlights of my life. Knowing men that will stand beside you and die to keep you alive is not something most people understand, but I do. Being one of them was the biggest ego boost I have ever had. I carry that pride with me to this day.

Back to Morality

 I was a member of the teams for almost five years. During that time I was shot once, during a live fire training mission, (a ricochet from another team members weapon, we think?) and I have had lots of people try to stab me, none of whom were successful. The closest I ever came to having to kill anyone was that final test my very first day.

My dilemma is, that in my heart, I pulled the trigger on a loaded lethal weapon. Knowing full well that the consequences to that action, were the loss of life of another human being. A life I was violently ending. In my mind I killed that man, in my heart I knew I was killing him, and that in my mind I did kill him, and was glad for having done it.

My point is... since the matters of the heart and of the soul, are the choices we make. They are the realm of God and of 'sin'... Did I commit a sin that day? Did I do something (that yes turned out to be un-true) that I need to ask forgiveness for? Did I sin by being willing to do what I thought I was doing?

uliveulearn said, "It is sad that in this day and age there is a need for such teams. An element of brain washing occurs during recruitment and training in order to get the job done. You were in a role of perceived protector and was being made ready to fulfill that difficult role when the time came. Your duty is done, forgive yourself and move on to something that makes you happy."

I agree with you, uliveulearn.

It is sad, but they are everywhere. We (people from the United States) are the biggest exporters/suppliers of these kinds of people. We call them Airmen, Soldiers, and Sailors, Police, and Spies...

I say to all our War Veterans... our Airmen, Soldiers, Marines, Sailors, Police, and Spies that if you're no longer on active duty... "Your duty is done, forgive yourself and move on to something that makes you happy." You deserve that.

Thank You, for my freedom, for my peace of mind, for being one of those people that will stand by my side and die with me, for me. I Love You.

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Comments 41 comments

JOE BARNETT profile image

JOE BARNETT 6 years ago

i was an infantry soldier for a time during my military service of ten years.a platoon sniper for two of those years. you are a tool. yours is not to reason why. as you said by the time you get there all talk has been exhausted and stances have been firmed up.any decision at this point is done by superiors. you are only the hammer.and your job was always to prevent more harm. good article

palmerlarryray profile image

palmerlarryray 6 years ago from Macon, Missouri

Excellent article. I know the difficulty you face with these decisions but I can honestly tell you, there are things you just do and you can't take them back. Asking forgiveness just isn't an option. Your training was an example of testing your metal and you passed the test. I am very proud we still have people who can pass this test of mental strength. As a guy who has been in a similar position, I understand the ghosts but I can tell you I would gladly have you on my team any time.

goldenpath profile image

goldenpath 6 years ago from Shenandoah, Iowa, USA

Superb article! There is forgiveness. There is but one thing that is unforgiveable and I see no evidence that you have breached that threshold.

Great article!

tantrum profile image

tantrum 6 years ago from Tropic of Capricorn

Of course it's about brainwashing, and ego boost.And as Joe Barnett said, you are been used as a tool, which ,if you were aware contradicts the ego boost. The thing is, how far did you let this guys used you as a tool ? I would say a lot, if you still think this kind of 'Soldiers' are OK.

But you don't have anything to forgive yourself for. You were a grown up and knew what you were there for. Didn't you ?

INTERESTING ! enjoyed reading ! It reminded me of my 'violent ' times ! LOL ! :)

KCC Big Country profile image

KCC Big Country 6 years ago from Central Texas

What a great article! It was a very intense experience that you allowed us to ride along on. You gave us a glimpse at something most of us will never experience, nor have the guts to be involved in. As civilians we should all be grateful that there are men who will and can do what is necessary to defend the rest of us.

RedElf profile image

RedElf 6 years ago from Canada

Both my grandfathers served in the military, as did my dad, and I am proud of their contribution and service. I'm glad your hub is back on line because, regardless of our personal feelings about war, killing, politics, and death, we owe those who serve in our armed forces a debt of gratitude.

livewithrichard profile image

livewithrichard 6 years ago from Charleston, SC

Great hub Mikel. It reminds me of my training when I was trying to get into Delta Force. The sleep deprevation and the costant state of alertness that was expected at all times. I was in the third phase of trainging when that skirmish happened in Panama and all training and TDY's were suspended. Unfortunately, you only get one shot at Delta Force and my entire class was dismissed. If we were allowed to compete again we would have never made it to that final round with the same raw ambitions having known what to expect. I'm sure the final test would have been something similar to yours and to this day I wonder If I would have made it. I was a medic but also a soldier.

Nelle Hoxie 6 years ago

Well written. You are a very talented writer. I can only agree with all the wonderful comments above. I'm glad HubPages agreed to the title - because now that I've had a chance to read the hub, I think it is a perfect one. I can't believe anyone flagged this. I've rated it up!

lakeerieartists profile image

lakeerieartists 6 years ago from Cleveland, OH

Unfortunately we need to train protectors to protect which does include killing because there are so many things we need to be protected from.

A soldier who realizes that there is a moral dilemma is human. It is those soldiers who are trained to kill who do not realize it is a moral dilemma that are in danger or already are no longer human.

Excellent hub! You show the real difference between a "professional killer" and a "professional defender."

darkside profile image

darkside 6 years ago from Australia

Excellent read. My only suggestion is a little spit and polish and send it into a print publication. I can see this sort of thing being in a mens magazine. And they pay good too!

Army Infantry Mom profile image

Army Infantry Mom 6 years ago

This hub is not only well writen it is valuable insight. I am sure many have learned from this and I Thank you for sharing and I Thank You for stepping up and doing the hardest job in the world, you have my sincere appreciation.

rebekahELLE profile image

rebekahELLE 6 years ago from Tampa Bay

wow, you have my utmost respect. thank you. I would prefer to call you one brave soldier! It takes guts and smarts to do what you did. No forgiveness is needed, you did what you were supposed to do.

My father served in WW11 in the south pacific theatre, fought in the battle of guadalcanal, survived malaria, never lost a man. Whenever we talked about his time there, he would tell us his stories, but I could tell there was something within him that was just too hard to communicate.

I'm glad HP put this back up. It is worth reading and thanks for sharing with us! and thank you for serving.

ryankett 6 years ago

I disagree with Darkside, you should actually write a book. Then worry about publishing the articles, to promote the book, no point in half measures.... go for it. You are talented enough to self promote if you cant find a publisher, and hubpages and similar sites should only be used by you for that means - promotion. If I read this article in a magazine, and it gave a web address to buy your book, I would buy it. I really enjoyed this article, you can tell that you wrote that with passion, if only I could still write with passion. When you find an area which makes you write from your heart, write it whilst you still have the heart to do it. Best, Ry.

blondepoet profile image

blondepoet 6 years ago from australia

Grats Mike that you got the go ahead on this. I had my fingers crossed for you. How can anyone doubt that the title is misleading after reading this brilliant article. Woo hoo you rock!!!!

You are indeed a brave guy.

Hmrjmr1 profile image

Hmrjmr1 6 years ago from Georgia, USA

Mike - That is a great article, and your conclusion is one I reached long long ago, after Vietnam and then again the Gulf War, as a man you move forward in forgiveness, in a way that honors the spent lives of both friend and foe. But as a veteran you must never forget, the terrible cost and that all war is hell... Good job Bro'

aguasilver profile image

aguasilver 6 years ago from Malaga, Spain

I'll go with ryankett, get the book out!

Great hub Mikel, and I'm glad you never had to come to my door!


lorlie6 profile image

lorlie6 6 years ago from Bishop, Ca

The moral dilemma you describe so very well is as old as mankind-who has been at war at all times in history.

Your team may have played a 'trick' on you, but it showed your loyalty and ability to perform honestly.

I am so glad I found this article-congrats!

Lily Rose profile image

Lily Rose 6 years ago from East Coast

I am almost speechless. Very touching and well written. I had goose bumps while reading it. My husband it an Army Veteran and is now on an SRT team, so I can definitely relate to a lot of what you're saying here. I also agree with Darkside, I can see this article being published in a magazine easily - go for it!

habee profile image

habee 6 years ago from Georgia

You have a wonderful command of language! This is an excellent piece. A big thumbs up!!

Sara Tonyn profile image

Sara Tonyn 6 years ago from Ohio, the Buckeye State

Mikel --

I'm so glad the HP team cleared this hub after all. It's a wonderfully vivid description of the emotions involved when commitment and sense of duty are put to the ultimate test. Thank you!

Jewels profile image

Jewels 6 years ago from Australia

It is great to be able to read first hand the experiences of soldiers such as yourself. I wish it was unnecessary but our world is not the ideal paradise we would like to live in. Well written.

rmcrayne profile image

rmcrayne 6 years ago from San Antonio Texas

Mikel this is one of the best hubs I've read on HubPages. Although I wish you the best should you pursue writing a book, I'd really love to see a few more chapters here...

emievil profile image

emievil 6 years ago from Philippines

Rated up. I've been looking for this hub since I saw the title and as luck would have it, it got flagged and pulled down temporarily! Your writing is good, simple but riveting. Hope you write more like this in the future.

Greg Cremia profile image

Greg Cremia 6 years ago from Outer Banks

We are not responsible/guilty for what others force us to do. The man you "killed" forced your hand. Thanks for being there.

Tammy Lochmann profile image

Tammy Lochmann 6 years ago

Excellent story. I was riveted. One of the best that I have read in a long time.

Sincerely Tammy

resspenser profile image

resspenser 6 years ago from South Carolina

I can not imagine why this was flagged or pulled or whatever. Unless someone was jealous of your talent! Very well done hub and I find nothing wrong with knowing you have the ability to make a life and death decision. Some people never know.

Arren123 profile image

Arren123 6 years ago from UK

very interesting read, thanks for sharing and Hubpages for letting it be published for all to read

taylor.braaten profile image

taylor.braaten 6 years ago from Northern Minnesota

The title is the thing that caught my eye. I think if it would have said anything else pertaining more to the subject, I probably wouldn't have read...I'm glad I did. Very intriguing and well written.

zzron profile image

zzron 6 years ago from Houston, TX.

Very nice hub, thank you for your service.

frogyfish profile image

frogyfish 6 years ago from Central United States of America

The reality of your hub is both comforting and intensively-knotting-in-the-stomach, but I thank you both for sharing it and more for living it. Additionally, thank you for your words to our hero-soldiers.

someonewhoknows profile image

someonewhoknows 6 years ago from south and west of canada,north of ohio

I'M sure all militia feel the same way.They would feel out of place if they didn't all think the same way.It's a psyhcologically predictable attitude expected of all soldiers,killers of all stripes,civilian and military as well.Cold blooded ,like reptiles.

sophs 6 years ago

Amazing hub, very heartfelt and moving scary also!

:-) Thanks for sharing this

Daniel Carter profile image

Daniel Carter 6 years ago from Western US

Mikel, what a journey your life is! This hub is just chock full of insight and experience. I think most of us have very little understanding of what it feels like to be in your shoes as you performed your duties. And therefore, are very ill-qualified to make assessments about morality, judgment, etc, in regard to circumstances such as yours. But I get the feeling you have terrific insight for yourself and others who have had similar experiences. What a clear voice you are. Another thing to admire about you.

H.C Porter profile image

H.C Porter 6 years ago from Lone Star State

To say the least, your life is like nothing I have ever read before. The fact that you think about your actions and feel things based on the experiences you have had-I would say that forgiveness for any sins that you may have committed, should not be something that you worry about. You seem to have a good heart-and that is what matters. We all do things in our lives that are 'questionable', and result in our own personal battles within ourselves(the question that we ask ourselves am I a good guy or am I a bad guy). The way that I look at things is;

The fact that I have these second thoughts about things- or feel emotion and feel regret; tells me that I am a decent, and more than likely a normal person. What are the chances that someone that is truly 'bad', would ever ask himself the questions I ask myself-probably slim to none. At least that is the way that I view things-and forgive myself for the things I have done in my life....

Thanks for sharing


withoutadoubt profile image

withoutadoubt 5 years ago

Jesus taught us that if we hate someone in our heart then it is a sin. The same goes for lust. "For if you look at a woman with lust then you have already committed the act of adultery in your heart." So yes, unfortunately if you kill a man in your heart it is a sin. I believe that was not only a test from your "team" but also a test from God Himself.

I'm glad you have asked for forgiveness. I would like to say that I would have done the same in your situation but then again I have never been in your situation.

Longhunter 5 years ago

Excellent article, Mikel.

I have a nephew that's going into the Marines. He wants to be an MP, possibly a sniper. When he came to me, asking what I thought of him being a sniper, I talked with him then had him speak to our pastor not because I think what he wants to do is wrong but because I don't want him to wonder about his own salvation once his time as a sniper is over. He's rethinking his sniper choice.

Either way, I'll support him 110%. I'm also going to have him read this article.

Karanda profile image

Karanda 4 years ago from Australia

Mikel, for me, the first thing that stands out in this article is that you are asking if you need to ask for forgiveness. The way I have read this, tells me you are in fact asking for forgiveness because you know in your heart it is wrong to take another's life.

The second thing that stands out is you have asked a question and in spite of numerous responses you have not replied or commented to any of them.

My beliefs are contrary to yours and most of the other commenters here. No, I have never been in the position you found yoursef on that day because I would never put myself in that position.

As naïve as this may sound, if we all lay down our guns, who is left to fight?

Mikel G Roberts profile image

Mikel G Roberts 4 years ago from The Heartland Author

@ Karanda

The guy with a knife, a club, an axe.

There will always be those who refuse to accept a lesser life, based on someone elses rules and definition of rightness. Because of that we will always need those willing to fight to defend us.

You believe no one has to fight because you have never not had the kinds of people I wrote about in this Hub protecting you.

Without them, you'd be someones slave.

Though I do agree that taking someone's life is not a good thing, I know sometimes it is the only choice.

*I haven't responded to the people here because when most of them commented there was a Forum thread going talking about this Hub. My input in both seemed redundant.

Karanda profile image

Karanda 4 years ago from Australia

Thank you for responding Mikel. You make some valid points. It saddens me that there has always been a need for such protection. Ah, in a perfect world. I do count my blessings for having been born in a more civilised time and country than so many others.

Paul 4 years ago

Thank you for sharing your story. I know the article is old, but I'm just coming across it, and I hope you are still checking comments. I have worked as a contract employee in gov't sanctioned covert operations for an entities I cannot name. Taking lives is always a possible reality when on assignment. In most cases, like yours, the hostile opponent is the aggressor and needs to be taken down in order to protect oneself. In this case, this is definitely killing, but not murder. Original Hebrew text of the 10 commandments speaks against murder, but dispatching of evil is actually santioned by God in other parts of the Bible. You have done nothing wrong. God empowered David to kill Goliath to liberate his people. God told Gideon to take soldiers that "lapped like dogs" to destroy the oppressive Mideonite army. Warriors who destroy the wicked do God's work. If you operate on the side of good there is no stain on your soul. God Bless.

xD 4 years ago

Thank you for sharing your story. I know the article is old, but I'm just coming across it, and I hope you are still checking comments. I have worked as a contract employee in gov't sanctioned covert operations for an entities I cannot name. Taking lives is always a possible reality when on assignment. In most cases, like yours, the hostile opponent is the aggressor and needs to be taken down in order to protect oneself. In this case, this is definitely killing, but not murder. Original Hebrew text of the 10 commandments speaks against murder, but dispatching of evil is actually santioned by God in other parts of the Bible. You have done nothing wrong. God empowered David to kill Goliath to liberate his people. God told Gideon to take soldiers that "lapped like dogs" to destroy the oppressive Mideonite army. Warriors who destroy the wicked do God's work. If you operate on the side of good there is no stain on your soul. God Bless.

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