Where do I even begin with this one? I always wanted to be a soldier. In first grade I made a pact with my best friends that we were going to join the Marines and go win the next war. A few verbal ‘discouragements’ by my father later (who did his fair share in Vietnam) and I settled on the Army instead… after a lengthy process of course.
Flash forward a loooooong time and I was stationed at Fort Bragg, home of the XVIII Airborne Corps and, despite being direct support for the 101st Airborne Division, I was in the middle of a much needed change. I was in a marriage neither of us wanted to be in and I was ready to get out of Dodge. Then BANG! 9/11. I remember telling my buddy a few days later that we were going to Afghanistan. As part of the nation’s rapid response force- we were able to deploy anywhere in the world, ready to engage in combat activities, in 18 hours or less- it would fall on Spec Ops and the Airborne.
I had to wait until 2002 before my boss asked if I wanted to go to war. 11 years in the Army and a slew of near misses (Somalia, Haiti- we were actually pushing combat units out of Bragg when the invasion was called off- and Kosovo), was I ready to go? Does a bear crap in the woods? That would be yes, friends.
A few weeks later I traded in my BDUs for desert camo and hopped on that big iron bird to my first war. Little did I know that I would spent part of every year from 2002-2006 in a different combat zone. What you see is what transpire during those years. I won’t say it was fun or easy. By the end I was emotionally and mentally run down. But I am proud of every single one of the men and women I fought alongside.
War is Hell. Anyone who has ever put on a uniform and purposefully went to where the enemy was intent on killing him can attest to that. But instead of a singular definition of Hell that religion preaches, war is so much more. It is Hell on the families left behind. Hell on the mind and spirit. Hell on the nerves. Hell on coming home and trying to remember where you fit in. Yes, war is Hell. A Long Way From Home is the compilation of my experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan from 2002-2006. It gives first hand accounts of some of the most gruesome fighting and a behind the scenes look at what really went on from various levels.