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Posted in Afghanistan and Iraq, soldiers used telecommunications not available in earlier wars to stay in touch with their families. Even so, many experienced serious difficulties upon returning home. Providing necessary support services to returning veterans has posed a particular challenge in the case of National Guard personnel, who disperse quickly to home communities (many of them in rural areas), unlike active-duty military personnel, who congregate on or near military bases, thereby facilitating their monitoring and treatment.
Deployed to Iraq at the age of 18, Specialist Greg Schulte was the youngest soldier in his National Guard unit. During his service in Tikrit, he witnessed both the extreme violence that characterizes life in a combat zone as well as many positive changes brought about by the U.S. military presence in Iraq.
He left the Middle East with a renewed dedication to the military; at the same time, after enduring such a life-changing experience, he felt a sense of distance from his old friends and family.
“At that moment, there was no doubt that we were there for the right thing.”
– Gregory James Schulte
“You can't be on guard 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for a whole year without it affecting you in some way.”
"I put my life on pause for a year to help someone else for the rest of their life."
“You're home, you should be happy here, but it's not home, home is 7,000 miles away.”