U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Jessica Weissman

Imagine you’re about to deploy. You’re saying your goodbyes and taking that last hurried swig of hard liquor before boarding the bus. As you get ready to leave you notice nearly half the unit is missing. When you ask a friend where everyone is, he answers: Dental.

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U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Mark Garcia

On Feb. 26, Tammie Ashley welcomed a new addition to her family: Sirius, a military working dog that once belonged to her son, Sgt. Joshua Ashley, who was killed in Afghanistan while serving with a U.S. Marine Special Operations Command team in 2012.

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Photo courtesy of Angry Staff Officer

Editor’s Note: This article has been modified from its original version, which was published on Medium by Angry Staff Officer.

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Photo by Tech. Sgt. Jason Robertson

One of the greatest things about serving in the military is our “soldier sense of humor.” Different than other kinds of humor, it often functions as part of a larger pressure relief. Born of adversity, the imminent threat of violence, seriousness of purpose, and brotherhood, soldier humor helps military members make light of war, deployment, and monotony.

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Photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Anthony Martinez

It's the quiet moments on deployment when the sadness, and the loneliness you feel, comes rushing in, filling the silence. Holidays give you too much time to think about how much people you love are in each others' company, and you are not.

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