first published on July 11, 2017 by Josh
In 2009, I was in the Farah province of Afghanistan with Second Battalion, Third Marines, deployed in support of the Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force. My company specifically was tasked with clearing a little dirt road called Route 515. This route was littered with IEDs every couple hundred meters. The IED cell in the AO was insanely proficient, and extremely dangerous. On that deployment was the first time I truly accepted the fact that I was going to die doing my job, and that acceptance brought me peace outside of the wire, and on Route 515.
In 2011, I was sweeping a possible site for our forward command and control center in support of Operation Watch Tower 2 in Trek Nawa. Days before, in the exact same location we were in a massive gun fight happened between the Taliban and some of the Marines in a neighboring AO who shared that security area with us. When I was sweeping for improvised explosives, I realizes the insanity of the level of acceptance I had taken in this deployment. Walking with the mine detector out in front of me, I wore two tourniquets high on each thigh that were just tight enough to hopefully stay attached in the event I stepped on a device. In my foot steps, directly behind me was our IDD dog handler, also wearing two tourniquets high on each thigh. We were brothers, and in that moment we were both ready to die to ensure that our brothers would be safe when we moved in to set up shop and control fires for the operation.
I believe that every combat arms Soldier, Marine, Sailor, or Airmen comes to this realization at one point in their career if they serve in a true combat capacity. The ability to accept death, or accept that you will eventually lose eyesight, or a limb in the line of duty, is what makes it possible for us to continue to get outside of the wire and into the fight every single day. Below is a short clip from an American Heroes Channel documentary called Against the Odds. Come back to us on Facebook after you watch the video, and tell us where you were, and what you were doing the first time you experienced this level of acceptance.