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U.S. Army National Guard photo by Sgt. Brian A. Barbour

When most people find out you’re a Black Hawk pilot, the first question you can anticipate is, “Have you seen Black Hawk Down?” Yep, read the books, too. I crack up when I see Jeremy Piven slamming levers around like he’s closing a truck trailer. It’s telling that the thing most people relate to this helicopter dates from the first half of the 90’s.

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Editor’s note: The following thoughts are from a U.S. military veteran, a combat veteran of the war in Afghanistan, and a graduate of the military’s Survival, Evasion, Resistance, and Escape program, who wrote this piece for Task & Purpose under the condition of anonymity.

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At 25 years old, Kyle Carpenter, a former Marine infantryman, is just the second living Marine to receive the nation's highest award for valor for actions in Iraq or Afghanistan.

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