Not being a career soldier, I had a very limited idea of the structure of the US Army. How many people in a Battalion/Brigade/Corps/Army, etc. No idea at all how the Pentagon was structured.

From Fire Team, Squad, Platoon up to Company/Troop/Battery/Regiment and Division you were familiar by the numbers.

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No false bravado; I did not experience fear from the moment we received word of the invasion of Kuwait until the end of combat in Iraq.

Why? I’ve always been a person of faith. I told God that if I made it back alive, I’d live each day as borrowed time. Whatever happened was not in my hands or under my control.

I was utterly tired of living in the harsh desert environment. As much support as we had, nothing could overcome the endless sand, clay, rocks and lack of vegetation. It was sensory deprivation.

When the war started, all I wanted was to perform and successfully complete the mission. The end was in sight and one way or another I was closer to going home.

I had no lack of confidence in my crew. We fought for our country, freedom but most of all, we fought for each other.

As or XO - then Major Joe Barto - wrote in the publication, Task Force 2-4 CAV - “First In, Last Out” we were too tired and too busy to fear. We knew our enemy. We knew our strength.

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I met Lt. Colonel Dave Grossman in 2008 while lecturing on combat to cadets at the California Highway Patrol Academy.

Grossman is a retired US Army Ranger, paratrooper and West Point Psychology Professor and has written several publications on the subjects of killing, combat, interrogation, conflicts, terrorism as well as law enforcement culture.

One of the subjects I recall was the issue of interrogation and torture.

It was succinctly reflected in Gen. James Mattis response on the issue of waterboarding when interviewed for the position of Secretary Of Defense.

"I've never found it to be useful. I've always found, give me a pack of cigarettes and a couple of beers and I do better with that than I do with torture."

Like many warriors, my position was/is, 'whatever it takes to make them talk.'

In Grossman's book, 'On Combat' he points out that there are flaws and dangers in extreme measures. His position is not one of advocation but a well informed approach.

Grossman's book, 'On Killing" discusses the impact of killing on the individual.

On Combat. Available at Amazon

On Killing. Available at Amazon

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