U.S. Marine Corps / Sgt. Lucas Hopkins.

The Marines in Afghanistan are definitely in combat, even if they are not being awarded the Combat Action Ribbon, the former commander of Task Force Southwest said on Thursday.

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Benjamin Franklin nailed it when he said, "Fatigue is the best pillow." True story, Benny. There's nothing like pushing your body so far past exhaustion that you'd willingly, even longingly, take a nap on a concrete slab.

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And no one knows that better than military service members and we have the pictures to prove it.

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U.S. Marine Corps/Sgt. Lucas Hopkins

The Marines in southern Afghanistan are tasked with helping Afghan security forces from inside the wire, but their commander said it is also possible for them to go into combat.

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Photo by Staff Sgt. Artur Shvartsberg

A few months ago, I read Phil Klay’s book, “Redeployment” — a collection of a dozen short stories. One of its unifying themes was that young people, and young men in particular, seek validation through combat. There are myriad consequences to facing combat — some good, and others bad. Others who never face combat, but expected to, are often left with intermingled senses of regret and embarrassment. There’s a selfishness in the sentiment: service is about “We.” Validation, potential regret, and its attendant embarrassment are about “Me.”

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