This Veteran’s Day everyone will remember their war time experiences and the friends they lost in slightly different ways.  The veterans of a past war will no doubt recall the jungles, the crack of AK-47 fire, and the chopping of a Huey’s rotor blades as some gutsy pilot came to pull them out of a killzone.

Our war came with its own sights and sounds.  Most of us will remember the heat and the claustrophobic nature of stalking down third world streets filled with garbage, the smell of rot, looking through a narrow green tinted tube that limits your field of vision, all while burdened with body armor, weapons, and other equipment.

We will also remember our friends and team mates who patrolled those same streets and hit those same objectives with us in the middle of the night.  One of those who I remember is my former Platoon Sergeant, Jared Van Aalst.  He was the kind of Ranger who was always looking for an edge, a way to improve the platoon’s performance, and become even more proficient at the dangerous Direct Action raids that he led his platoon on night after night.