‘What’s It Like Being Shot At?’ Navy Vet Killed In Las Vegas Leaves Powerful Final Facebook Post

Community
Photo via Chris Roybal/Facebook

Navy veteran Christopher Roybal survived Afghanistan, but he carried his deployment with him, in Facebook posts like the one he’d authored on July 18 — a passionate, introspective reply to a question many veterans hear upon their return home: What’s it like being shot at?


"A question people ask because it's something that less that 1% of our American population will ever experience. Especially one on a daily basis,” Roybal wrote. “My response has always been the same, not one filled with a sense of pride or ego, but an answer filled with truth and genuine fear/anger."

It was the last post he published. Roybal, 28, from Corona, California, was one of the 59 people shot and killed by 64-year-old Stephen Paddock, who opened fire on a country music festival from a makeshift sniper's nest in his room on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas on Oct. 1.

Navy veteran Chris Roybal downrange in AfghanistanPhoto via Chris Roybal/Facebook

Roybal joined the Navy in September 2007 as a master-at-arms, focusing on security and force protection and rising to the rank of petty officer 3rd class in June 2010, according to his service record. By the time he separated in September 2012, he had been stationed at in Yokosuka, Japan, and Naval Base Kitsap in Bremerton, Wa.

While at Kitsap, Roybal deployed to Afghanistan’s Kandahar Province alongside the 25th Infantry Division as an individual augmentee, a temporary assignment to a downrange unit designed to utilize a sailor’s particular skill set, a Navy official told Task & Purpose. During his time there, Roybal earned an Army Commendation Medal, a Combat Action Ribbon, and a Meritorious Unit Commendation.

Roybal’s Facebook post describes his initial excitement over arriving in Afghanistan, and the rush of adrenaline that came with the first crack of gunfire during a four-hour Stryker patrol. “I was excited, angry and manic,” he wrote. “Ready to take on what became normal everyday life in the months to follow.”

That excitement — Roybal’s pre-deployment vision of a “modern day Wild Wild West” beating back terrorists with his battle buddies — quickly evaporated.

“As the fights continue and as they as increase in numbers and violence, that excitement fades and the anger is all that's left,” Roybal wrote. “The anger stays, long after your friends have died, the lives you've taken are buried and your boots are placed neatly in a box in some storage unit. Still covered in the dirt you've refused to wash off for fear of forgetting the most raw emotions you as a human being will ever feel again.”

What was it like being shot at, Roybal concluded? “It's a nightmare no amount of drugs, no amount of therapy and no amount of drunk talks with your war veteran buddies will ever be able to escape.”

Navy veteran Chris Roybal downrange in AfghanistanPhoto via Chris Roybal/Facebook

The Las Vegas massacre marks the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history. Upon raiding Paddock’s hotel stronghold, law enforcement found 19 AR-15-style assault rifles, one handgun, and "hundreds" of rounds of ammunition. A search warrant executed on Paddock’s home in Mesquite, Nevada, revealed another massive cache of firearms and unidentified explosives; his car, left in the Mandalay Bay parking lot, contained ammonium nitrate, a component of the same explosive used by Timothy McVeigh in the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing.

Roybal’s posthumous Facebook reflections take on new meaning after his death. Iraq War veteran Colin Donohue, who survived the hail of gunfire unleashed by Paddock, contrasted the massacre with firefights he’d experienced downrange in 2012, telling Fox News: "We had a little bit up towards Mosul but nothing comparatively.”

Roybal had been attending the Route 91 Harvest festival with his mother Debby Allen to celebrate his 29th birthday that week; when Paddock’s opening salvo of bullets sparked chaos among concertgoers, Allen found herself separated from Roybal, desperately trying to push her way through the terrified crowd to reach her son. "It was horrible,” she told the New York Daily News. “I couldn't keep my feet underneath me. I kept collapsing. I just wanted to go back in so badly.

"I feel like I'm living in a nightmare,” she added. “I want to wake up so badly."

Casperassets.rbl.ms

Benjamin Franklin nailed it when he said, "Fatigue is the best pillow." True story, Benny. There's nothing like pushing your body so far past exhaustion that you'd willingly, even longingly, take a nap on a concrete slab.

Take $75 off a Casper Mattress and $150 off a Wave Mattress with code TASKANDPURPOSE

And no one knows that better than military service members and we have the pictures to prove it.

Read More Show Less

A low-flying C-17 gave Nashville residents a fright on Friday when the aircraft made several unannounced passes over the city's bustling downtown.

Read More Show Less
George W. Bush/Instagram

This article originally appeared on Business Insider.

Former President George W. Bush is calling for an end to the partial government shutdown, which is about to hit the one-month mark and is currently the longest shutdown in US history.

In an appeal made on Instagram, the 43rd president called on "leaders on both sides to put politics aside, come together, and end this shutdown." The caption was posted with an image of him and former First Lady Laura Bush giving pizza to their Secret Service detail.

Read More Show Less
Staff Sgt. Daniel Christopher Evans was arrested on Jan. 29, 2018. (Photo courtesy of Wilmington Police Department, North Carolina.)

A special operations Marine is due in court on March 7 after being arrested last year for allegedly assaulting his girlfriend, Task & Purpose has learned.

Staff Sgt. Daniel Christopher Evans was arrested and charged with assault inflicting serious injury on July 29, 2018, according to Jennifer Dandron, a spokeswoman for police in Wilmington, North Carolina. Evans is currently assigned as a Critical Skills Operator with the 2nd Marine Raider Battalion at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, according to the Marine Corps Personnel Locator.

Read More Show Less
U.S. Army 1st Lt. Elyse Ping Medvigy conducts a call-for-fire during an artillery shoot south of Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan, Aug. 22, 2014. Medvigy, a fire support officer assigned to the 4th Infantry Division's Company D, 1st Battalion, 12th Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, is the first female company fire support officer to serve in an infantry brigade combat team supporting Operation Enduring Freedom. U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Whitney Houston (Photo by U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Whitney Houston)

Following Trump's inauguration, some supporters of ground combat integration assumed he would quickly move to reinstate a ban on women in jobs like the infantry. When this did not happen, advocates breathed a collective sigh of relief, and hundreds of qualified women charted a course in history by entering the newly opened occupational fields.

So earlier this week when the Wall Street Journal published an editorial against women in ground combat by conservative political commentator Heather Mac Donald, the inclination of many ground combat integration supporters was to dismiss it outright. But given Trump's proclivity to make knee jerk policy decisions in response to falling approval ratings and the court's tradition of deference to the military when it comes to policies affecting good order and discipline, it would be unwise to assume the 2016 lifting of the ban on women in ground combat is a done deal.

Read More Show Less