The helicopters landed today delivering the Marines for our exercise. The noise, dust and smell of fuel are unpleasant, but they reminded me of those things in Iraq. Smell is hard-wired into memory in a way other things are not. Iraq sucked most of the time, but there were some interesting experiences and lots of great people. After time has passed, things seem better. It is much easier to see the joy in something retrospectively than prospectively.
I can put myself back in that mind set, if I try hard. I remember when I looked forward to a year of heat, exhaust, dust, boredom and danger. It was not very inviting. I remember my friend Reid Smith comparing our predicament to a prison sentence. “We can’t leave & what got us here seemed like a good idea at the time,” he said.