A Soldier shakes the hand of a young boy while patrolling to support Operation Inherent Resolve in Mosul, Iraq, July 4, 2017. (U.S. Army/Cpl. Rachel Diehm)

Editor's Note: The following is an op-ed. The opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Task & Purpose.

My cell phone rang on a sweltering Baghdad summer night in 2006. My best friend and West Point classmate, Maj. Bill Taylor was on the other end.

"It's bad," he said. "We need to get these guys to an American military hospital, ASAP."

"These guys" were captured suspected al-Qaeda insurgents, and Bill, one lone American soldier, was now the only thing standing between them and several hundred Iraqi soldiers bent on tearing them apart.

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