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Word Count: 1,058
As I jumped down from the large caged in truck called an RG-31 I could feel theadrenaline rush through my body This was the moment I had waited for since first being told of our deployment to Afghanistan I was finally outside the forward operating base on my first mission The extra weight from my aid bag and gear that had me weighing at least 50 pounds heavier had little effect on me It was the rifle I held in my hands that grasped my attention Was this my only line of defense if the worst happened I heard my platoon sergeant call from around the truck to go red As I pulled the charging handle back on my M-4 rifle loading a round into the chamber and placed my weapon on fire I knew that this was now real Fear and excitement took over my senses The village looked like something out of biblical times with the exceptions of modern modes of transportation traveling back and forth Trash animal carcasses and human waste littered the curbs of the dirt roads that we patrolled down The homes were made mostly of mudnowdrywith a rectangular wall surrounding them some with decorated lavish gates that allowed entrance into the compoundThe majority of the outside community consisted of men either working on their fields orgathered around the entrance to a compound or local shop where freshly cut meat hung buzzing with flies Children ran barefoot through the fields and occasionally you would see a woman walking down the road with a blue or black burqa with a few young girls following behind The smell of Afghanistan was the most memorable A mixture scent of dust diesel trash and feces hung in the airWe left our up armored vehicles on the main route and began our patrol down a narrow dirt road that lead deeper into the rural village of Pul-e-Alam We had been told prior to setting out
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