During my nine months in-country hunting drug cartel kingpins in Colombia, the country held its presidential elections. My three-Operator team and I were sent back to the U.S. until the elections were over, and the incumbent’s policies supported having gringos back in-country hunting its drug lords. It seemed legit, and I was ready for a break somewhere where yucca root was not the meal staple — a burger was in order!

During the couple of weeks I was back, my Squadron Sergeant Major lamented to me with words to the effect:

“Geo, we need to swap you out with someone else on that mission. You’ve just been gone waaay too long and you’re missing too much training.”

I took a moment to press-check my pulse and count backward from 10 to assess my cognizant function.