Today I leave Kabul, Afghanistan after a six month military deployment. Since I've arrived I've lost sixty pounds, am in the physical condition of a thirty year old, wrote three short stories, went off-base in combat gear 20+ times, wrote seventeen essays, discovered you can put blue cheese on pizza and make it transcend, visited eight other bases in all corners of Afghanistan, finished edits to one novel and wrote another, improved the performance of my military job by 800%, was given a NATO Medal and a cool certificate for playing war games, was awarded a Joint Civilian Service Commendation Medal and got a bunch of speeches from folks saying good smack about me, argued the price of carpets with the best rug merchants Afghanistan could throw at me, never fired my weapon, got three plaques, a dozen coins, pins, t-shirts, and patches from Houston PoliceDepartment, Australia, and various other nations and offices, had SEAL Team 666 TEAM BLACK patches made, felt my bones rattle as a VBIEDs and PBIEDs exploded in our vicinity, knew fear as I rolled down the streets in uparmored vehicles with invisible targets on our sides, explained the idea of karma to an Afghani man and changed his entire way of life, ran a 5K and finished, missed my wife, dogs, family and my own way of life terribly, and grew immensely as a person.
My tour in Afghanistan is over. It was more than and less than I expected. I absolutely made it my own. I'm proud and amazed to have been here and met so many wonderful people, whose words and influence shall remain with me for the rest of my days.
But now it's time to come home.
I want what I had before.
I want to practice being the man I've become.
I want to be better, stronger, fitter, funnier, more successful, and more relaxed than I was before.
More importantly, I want to go home.
Look out America.
Ready or not, here I come.
(Last Day - Leaving)