Jan Ohrstrom

I'm just watching like blood coming down the door and I'm yelling at him...Are you okay? Are you okay? And he holds up his arm and I mean, you just see just shredded flesh and, and uniform.

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Anthony Russo
Andrew Hunt

Choices open and close doors to our futures, they both can help define who we are and hold us accountable to the person we want to be. Most important, though, they can’t be unmade. Once Andrew Hunt chose to join the National Guard all of his decisions were based on honoring his oath, but what he would come to discover is that living up to your choices means accepting the person who made them.

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Anthony Russo
Brandon Pettijohn

When you’re responsible to make sure the mission gets accomplished, there’s no greater tool than cool-headedness. For Brandon Pettijohn leading Marines in Afghanistan provided the opportunity to coordinate big picture responses to very specific crises.

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Anthony Russo
Chris Riess

There’s no question that combat changes a person, but the kind of change can be both subtle and far-reaching. You learn to internalize fear, angst and doubt but not necessarily to redirect them, and that’s exactly what can make a person a good soldier.

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Anthony Russo
Daniel Ames

The transition into combat is a difficult one by any standard. No matter how sufficiently trained you are there is no substitute for reality to give you a sense of how you’re going to respond under fire, and how well you can coordinate with the rest of your team. For Daniel Ames, that kind of responsibility put him right where he wanted to be, even when it led to dangerous places.

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Anthony Russo
Erik Campbell

What’s difficult to get a handle on is finding a way to categorize your experience. In your head you know that you’re safe and OK, but you also can’t shake that feeling that you’re not. Like you’re on permanent standby for a crisis that just isn’t coming.

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Anthony Russo
Barkley Davies

Combat isn’t about glory, it’s about serving the mission and doing what needs to be done to achieve an objective, but there’s still something particular about the bond combat veterans form forged in circumstances that most people can’t really comprehend. For Barkley Davies, understanding that was a key to survival.

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Anthony Russo
Ernie Jimenez

Ernie Jimenez joined the military because he saw it as the career opportunity of a lifetime. He joined the Marines because he wanted to fight. As an infantry assaultman during the Second Battle of Fallujah, he got a good hard look at what it is like to have no choice but to face down your fear.

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Anthony Russo
Davin Higens

Counterintelligence officer Davin Higens talks about his pre- and post-9/11 experience running assets, the difficulties of chasing down bombmakers in the early days of the war, and the complications for interrogators in the wake of Abu Ghraib.

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Anthony Russo
Steven Cheek

Steven Cheek joined the Marines specifically to train and have that training tested. During the eight years and five combat tours he served as an infantryman, he used every inch of that training and more. Because for him, there had to be a life after the war that he could be proud of as well.

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Anthony Russo