The three of us started moving toward where we hoped the rest of our platoon was.  The extra 55 pounds from my fallen teammates ruck on my back quickly wore me down.  he extra ruck made it so I could not see to the left or right.  Maybe that was a good thing… to always be looking forward at our goal.  The sounds of footsteps and heavy breathing from my brothers reminded me that we were in this together.  So forward we trudged, me holding the ruck, my brother helping our injured brother.

When you ruck for long periods of time, you tend to get lost in your own world in your mind.  You try to focus on security as much as you can, but you slowly slip into this new world in your mind.

I thought of all the mistakes I have made.

Had made a mistake by doing this?

What were my friends doing right now?

When do we get pancakes?

The drill sergeants voice reeled me back in…”Little victories, one step than another.”

This one sentence would resonate with me for the rest of my life. I’d remember it in the sands and cities of Iraq then again in the mountains of Afghanistan.

“One step than another,” I repeatedly thought.

Then we switched. I carried our injured brother while he carried the ruck.  We continued to do this for miles.  Then first light broke…





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