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They are engineers and civil affairs officers helping to rebuild Iraq.
Our notion of the war in Iraq is often cobbled together from images on the evening news of roadside bomb explosions, flag-draped caskets and tanks rolling through expanses of sand in every shade of brown.
We train and train and think nothing like that is ever going to happen. We couldn’t have saved Specialist Baker, the fellow who lost his life.
He had suffered severe injuries to the head and torso.
I was a platoon leader at the time, in charge of four helicopters, 10 pilots and six crew chiefs. You would hear an explosion, then an alarm would go off and everyone would put on their gas masks and move into protective bunkers.
That night was the first time any of us had actually seen the Patriot launch and intercept something.
I was thankful they would never have to see him like that.