Reading an article in the November 2010 edition of Military History magazine on Sebastian Junger and his book, "War." Junger covered the 15 month deployment of US Army's 2nd platoon, Company B, 2n Battalion, 503rd Infantry Regiment in Afghanistan's Korengal Valley during 2007 - 2008.
When he was asked about the psychological effects of being in a war zone, Junger said: "People see combat through a paradigm of trauma. But there are also pyschologically positive things that happen withtin a small group that can not be duplicated back home. That's another way to look at PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) and it's serious. I think it's as serious as the trauma component. That's why they (soldiers) want to go back. They didn't go back because it was traumatic, but because it was a place where they understood what they were supposed to do. They understood who they were. They had a sense of purpose. They were necessary."
Trying to figure out why I want to go back to Iraq, Junger's statement seemed to answer the question. I'm not sure where I could contribute more than I could there. I understand what I need to do and I believe our collective efforts are making a difference. At a certain age you start to worry about your relevance. A place like Iraq takes those worries away.
This site is also dedicated to Stan Sargent. Stan and I grew up in Grenada, Mississippi, and both of us left for college at about the same time. Stan served in Vietnam while I joined the Peace Corps. Stan won the Silver Star for heroism. Read Stan's story (1 MB download pdf).