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On 9/11 college mathematics instructor Franke Gracia watched the towers fall. On 9/12 he hung on every word of the news reports of the attacks. On 9/13 he placed a phone call to St. Louis, Missouri, because that is where all records are kept for former military officers. Gracia informed St. Louis, “My bags are packed, I just need orders.” After initial setbacks and delays, he was finally called to active duty and served a yearlong deployment in Afghanistan. Captain Franke Gracia served in a key leadership position with an Infantry Task Force consisting of more than 700 soldiers. While serving, from time to time, he would sit down and write, partly to chronicle his experience, but mostly for the therapy it provided. This book contains those writings. The author is not a professional soldier or war correspondent, but rather an ordinary citizen-soldier who volunteered to serve. This book contains Captain Gracia’s musings, observations, frustrations, joys, sorrows, anguish, anger, resentment, bewilderment, humor, exasperation and pride – the captured thoughts of an ordinary American soldier serving in a war zone.

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