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What has surprised you the most over the course of your tour?

I think what's surprised me the most is the resilience that I see in the men that I work with day in and day out. Everyone here has been in at least one or two close calls, has had friends killed or hurt bad enough to be sent home. But none of that seems to have fazed anybody. Yeah, we have our bad days just like anybody else would, but no one here has cracked under the pressure, or have tried to kill themselves or has folded when things get bad. We've come back from missions where you KNOW we were lucky to have come back alive or unhurt, but at the end of the day we all just joke and smoke around like it was no big deal. I guess it's not after awhile. I dunno for sure. All I know is that the men here have been through some hard times and will go back being stronger for having been through it all. --Mark Stuertz

Letter Home A grunt's-eye view from near the Sunni Triangle

KEEP THE DALLAS OBSERVER FREE... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Mark Stuertz
Contact: Mark Stuertz

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