34th infantry division

Ten years ago

Ten years ago on February 26, 2004, I said goodbye to my wife and family and boarded a bus with my fellow soldiers, leaving home to begin our training for our tour in the war in Afghanistan.  It was the beginning of a year and a half of total Army control over our lives.

I rode that bus, sitting next to a nineteen-year-old soldier who wasn’t even a year out of high school.  He still signed his name, “Timmy.”  He cried for the first part of that journey, and we all paid him the polite courtesy of pretending we hadn’t seen his tears.

Over a year later, Timmy made it home.  Everyone in my unit returned.  Of the 800 or so soldiers in our task force, all but one survived our time in Afghanistan.  But as I read my old notebook entries from those days, I know now that none of us returned home quite the same.