Lauren Katzenberg

In 2006, the War on Drugs was running strong and concurrent with the Global War on Terrorism. As part of that effort, Petty Officer 2nd Class Shawn VanDiver, a fire controlman, deployed to waters off of Central and South America as the lead technician for the Mark 92 Fire Control System, work center supervisor of the work groups within combat systems fire control and gunnery divisions, and anti-terrorism officer. For the next six months, his unit patrolled waters infested with drug runners. Deployed on the USS Thach, the crew took in 29.2 tons of cocaine as well as several tons of marijuana. Thach and her crew were recognized with multiple unit awards for their efforts. This is VanDiver’s story.

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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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Editor’s Note: This article by Brendan McGarry originally appeared on, the premier source of information for the military and veteran community.

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