Francis Horton is a veteran of Afghanistan and Iraq, and has stepped foot in a dozen countries to work public affairs for the military. When not trooping, he can be found raising a daughter, being a husband, fixing computers and chasing his dogs out of his garden beds.
I am not a fan of war memoirs, especially for wars I’ve been involved in. Reading about someone’s experiences in Afghanistan in 2011 when I was fighting that same war in 2004 leaves me more depressed about the state of American foreign policy than inspired. It seems every Navy SEAL or general officer who ever sniffed a burn pit churns out a book or two after their deployments, filled with fluffy language about the greatest men they ever served with; then there are the books politicians write about the lessons they learned passing around bits of paper in the Tactical Operations Center for a year.
Every year July 4th comes around and, in between barbecues and emergency trips to the ER to get your fingers sewn back on, you must figure out how to fill in the long weekend. Sure, you can watch Forrest Gump for the 20th time, but this a day of celebrating freedom with massive explosions — and what has more explosions than a summer blockbuster from the 90s?
Since the first Revolutionary-era militias were born, the American troop has sought to be the best-equipped, best-trained, and most effective troop ever. Weapons, munitions, food, water: The average U.S. hero can pack most of it on their body for a day off the post, or a week rucking through the mountains.
Ah, the year 2000: When we all poked our heads out of our underground bunkers and found the Y2K bug hadn't crashed the World Bank or caused all of our AOL free internet CDs to spontaneously combust. It was a pre-war time, too — relatively speaking — and it was the year I joined the Army as a dumb 17-year-old.