“Going in, Benjamin Colton Barnes was prepared. The army may not give as much as it takes, but no one can ever say that it doesn’t prepare a soldier for the rigors of war. The solid six pack from the punitive punches, the right-angle shoulders from the 50 pound pack, the sense memory from the tear gas tank. Barnes’ self esteem was shattered, and then patched back up as he conquered miles of mud crawl. He was ready for the heat, for 110 degrees that threw its sweaty arms around him like a drunken buddy at a pub, for the sand that mingled with the air at the wind’s slightest provocation, for the 24-7 eyes of hostile hosts, for the constant smell of burning.”
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