Courtesy of Brian Castner

From Disappointment River, published this month.

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U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Brittany E. Jones

The face of the man who wanted to kill me wasn’t immediately visible — the photo of him required close examination. My company commander took the picture while deployed to Iraq in 2005. On a noontime reconnaissance mission, he’d captured a million-dollar snapshot: a man in a ghillie suit emplacing an IED at midday. Except my commander didn’t notice; he only realized it when he returned to his outpost and reviewed the images. Under camouflage netting, in 100-degree-plus heat, a man lay perfectly still, as if staring down the camera — singularly focused. My commander’s unit never caught the man in the ghillie suit. I’ve never forgotten the image.

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AP photo by Gerald Herbert

I have been reading Carl Forsling’s column on Task & Purpose for some time now, and while I don’t agree with some of his opinions, I usually keep that to myself. I could not remain silent after his last rant in which he condescendingly tells service members and veterans to stop hanging out together and go spend more time with civilians. Many people I spoke with asked, why?

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