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9/11: Demands of WAR take toll on troops, families –

September 11, 2011

Marine Staff Sgt. Michael Weber, 28, pauses at a memorial for fallen Marines from his unit at Camp Pendleton. “I’d give my ribbons and pay back if I could have my brothers back,” says Weber, who started basic training about a month after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. (Don Bartletti, Los Angeles Times / September 11, 2011)

Demands of war take toll on troops, families

The decade-long wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have persisted so long that, in a sense, they have become a way of life.


By Tony Perry, Los Angeles Times

September 10, 2011, 8:17 p.m.

Lucas Wallek was toiling at the family farm in Alice, Texas, when he decided to enlist in the Marine Corps, partly out of patriotism, partly from a desire to leave the familiar terrain of sagebrush and oil fields.

Through two tours of duty in Iraq, Wallek, 27, said he found a sense of purpose and camaraderie he had never experienced. His friends back home, he said, “don’t see the world the same way I do…. Sometimes it’s hard to be with them; it’s like I miss my Marines. We see the world the same way.”

Nathaniel Donnelly, who was part of the Marine push in Iraq that helped topple Saddam Hussein in the spring of 2003, said his time at war left him proud, yet also weary and afraid that he was being drawn further away from the civilian life he wanted one day.

“Military service sets you apart — whether that’s positive or negative is up to the individual,” said Donnelly, 34. “With a lot of veterans, they seem to have a chip or really can’t relate to the civilian community. I see it all the time. Some guys just can’t get back on track.”

Wallek and Donnelly are among the men and women who in the wake of Sept. 11 have spent much of their adult lives at war.

Their worlds have been shaped by training and deploying, grieving the loss of comrades and recuperating from injuries, learning new techniques for killing and for staying alive.

via 9/11: Demands of war take toll on troops, families –


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