Photo by Chief Warrant Officer 2 Paul S. Mancuso

Ten to seven and we are already high above the clouds, only mountaintops peaking through the cracked white, like an ice shelf with Southern California far below. Eastward, the wrong directions for dreams, some might think. I am gliding towards the old world, across the other ocean --- the one I grew up knowing --- beloved friends, reaching for a sliver of a different life.

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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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