In 2004 my unit was on its second trip to Baghdad following the invasion of Iraq. We were mechanized infantry, and we were set to be there for a year.

Our unit started in Sadr City and was moved over to the Abu Ghraib prison area. This was following the charges against 11 U.S. soldiers with crimes stemming from detainee abuse. You could say the locals didn’t like us very much.

We Fought Against Children That Were Regularly Paid by the Enemy to Throw Grenades at us, Thankfully Missing Each Time.

In Iraq, we fought against car combs, IEDs, RPGs, and mortars. We fought an enemy with no uniform. Despite 84 people receiving the Purple Heart in my infantry company of about 120, our bond as hooligan brothers only grew stronger.

One of our Bradleys ran over an Anti-Tank mine. Thankfully, everyone walked away without life-threatening injuries.

This Brotherly bond is strong. More substantial than most familial ties. This is something hard to explain but you know for a fact that if one of the brothers called you, you’d be there, no matter what.