With the writing of this essay about my friend Samuel Booth Foster, I have concluded the essays on the men I served with while in Delta Force, with whom I have been comrades and much more than just fair-weather friends, and who have died in the line of a selfless and honorable duty to their country. Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori. It is sweet and glorious to die for one’s country. Geo sends.

There have been ten in all—one for each year of my service with Delta—whose passings have each been more hellish than the last. I am convinced that I have become a better man for having known these men, and am positive that I will never be the same man I was before them.

I confess there is a measure of ethical struggle to include decidedly negative things about a person when memorializing them in writing, but as Sam’s father asked of me after Sam passed away, “George, please write stories about Sam for me. Write all the stories, everything you can remember, both the good and the bad.” Be careful what you ask for, Mr. Foster.

The Air Force load crew of our taxi, the mighty C-130 Hercules, cracked open, rolled upward, and locked the paratrooper exit doors on both sides of the aircraft. Inside the Herc, the ambient air was gradually displaced by the heavy, humid, tropical atmosphere of Key West, Florida. The aroma was a melange of sea salt, the bacon-like smell of paper bark trees, and the methane sting of low tide in the muggy Key West summer.