Billy Knapp grew up on Long Island, New York, and was commissioned as a Marine Corps Officer in 2005. He spent nine years on active-duty and served in both Iraq and Afghanistan. He is currently living in New York City while he pursues his MBA at NYU Stern.
I linked up with the small team of Raiders just outside the village along a quiet two-lane highway at 0230. Blending in with the nearby tree line, they were methodical in making their final preparations. Barely a word was spoken as they checked their gear and spread loaded their supplies among one another. There was a mix of eagerness and confidence in the group; they understood the mission and had prepared extensively for weeks leading up to this moment. Off in the distance, we could see the lights of the adjacent unit approaching and with a simple nod we started to ruck up. After pleasantries were exchanged and instructions were passed, our team set out on the long foot movement that lay ahead of us. With their packs heavy and their hearts full, the Raiders were ready to honor their brothers.