I was pulling a guard shift in the CHS on FOB Speicher on night in Iraq. There hadn’t been any action for the whole previous week so the staff was all racked out. I was walking the halls and everything was supposed to be off or on standby. I walked passed one room that they used for Locals who were victims of trauma. The lights were on so I toggled the switch down to turn them off. I started walking down the hall again and I saw the lights come back on out of the corner of my eye. This is when I went into alert mode (safety off, at low-ready). I cleared the corner and looked into the room. Nothing.
I put the switch back in the down position again and went to call it up on the intercom. The radio was on the fritz. So I began walking back to the CQ desk to report it in person. The lights turned back on. At this point, I’m a little on edge. I can’t radio in for help, there is nobody on this side of the compound that would hear me yell, and the light switch position keeps changing when the lights go back on. Keep in mind that I’m on a Forward Operating Base in a combat zone. I don’t know what I was expecting when I went to clear the corner and look into the room again, but I saw nothing but an empty room, a gurney, a heart monitor, and a crash cart. I couldn’t tell you to this day why I said what I did, but I was worried that if I didn’t, the lights would keep switching back on. I said “If you’re scared of the dark, I’ll leave the light on for you.”
I finished my shift and left the light on. I left a note with the desk that one of the surgeons had asked me to always leave that light on just in case they had an emergency come in. For the remainder of my shifts, that light had always remained on.