Here are the words of a young man who is spent a year in hell. An old saying that many combat soldiers say "I have already been to hell!"
"Hey its weird getting ready to leave. I have my last box to mail ready to go with stuff I don't want to take with me. I have to mail it tomarra. Its such a weird feeling - leaving, I am excited and not at the same time. I met one of our teams replacements today. He locked right up talking to me. I had to take him to the range. They have all of the army's newest equipment and camo. It looks slick, a lot better then the junk we got. Finally getting some equipment that might be useful. Although I already heard about their leadership telling them they can't use some of the things haha dumb army. When I took him to the range I put on my equipment on to go out there with him. I threw my tan attachments back on my weapon threw my empty mags back in my vest so he could use them. Everyone looked at me like I was SF haha. I was wearing all mix-matched gear. An acu combat shirt stained brown from all the missions and sweat, tan and black weapon, a coyote tan vest with purple IR chem lights attached, tore up gloves with the fingers cut out, green duck tape on my iotv (bullet proof vest), no sling just some chord that attaches to a d-ring on my vest and my peltors on. My stuff looking all dirty but squared away no strings hanging off and having a set up that I wasn't adjusting - it all just fit. That's just from being here so long. You get your equipment how you like it plus having your own equipment the army didn't give you or they gave equipment made by people who never left the wire. You figure what works and want does not. I have my rucksack as my checked bag haha and my assault back for my carry that's no joke. Its weird having to do all that but it's a commercial flight in Manas. I have mixed feelings leaving now as it creeps closer (two and wake up). I am really excited and ready to go especially to get home; however I feel like I am almost leaving home. I think one reason for that is what happened to Hennigan. He got killed, I didn't have much time to recover I had a mission. Every mission I always thought this is another guy we don't have to worry about or I was hoping we would get the guy who did it. We finally did get the guy but the feeling never left. I guess it's just having the ability to prevent casualties so that it wouldn't happen again, that kept that feeling that and kept me going. I am leaving now and I guess I feel like I am leaving Matty behind. I am used to the life here now its normal to me. I am leaving my team too, which is terrible especially because they will prolly go on a another mission or two. When I put my gear back on today I was ready to go back out and do what I do. If 4-10 asked me to stay I might say yes. I feel like I know so much about how it works and could do more good things. Its weird feeling so excited to leave this shitty place but wanting to stay at the same time. I think I might always feel that way when people are here and I am not. I don't think my phone will be operational I don't know where my charger is now hah I don't get service here after 1600. We might be able to skype on Saturday. SFC Jones said I could stay in this hooch instead of moving to the transient tents. Technically I am supposed to go on lockdown tomarra and go there. I would rather chill here in the tent I spent a quite a bit of time at this deployment half full of 173 and half 4-10.
Well that's about it dad
have a good day love you,"
So close, words that resonate so loudly with me. Only a little more time .....
You are superman Zach, thank you for all you have done, I love you with all my heart.