While safety and peace seem like they should be birthrights, some of us are born into situations that simply don't allow for these niceties. With a father who sold drugs and a mother who depended on them, the world felt anything but calm to author Mathew Chase. Growing up in one of the toughest parts of Philadelphia, Mathew learned things in his first few years of life that most of us never have to learn, like how to survive hunger when there's no food in the house and no one there to notice . . . how not to cry or show fear while being beat with a shoe by a foster parent . . . how to mask any signs of vulnerability when passing the dealers and gangsters on the street . . . or how to fight when one or a bunch of kids jump you on your way home from school. Somehow, Mathew knew he had a choice. He could conform to the status quo and become a victim of the mentality generated by this environment, or he could find a way to break free and build a different kind of life. Joining the U.S. military at age 18 as an exit route from what he'd known forever seemed like a promising solution, but it carried an exacting price tag of its own. Mathew's childhood began to seem like it had been easy compared to the brutality of training and fighting in Iraq while witnessing the slaying of friends who had become like brothers. Would Mathew ever find home? Follow the author's journey through seemingly endless challenges and failures to understand how these selfsame circumstances mold him into a mature and courageous man. In Finding Home, pain and heartbreak are transformed to what they truly are - stepping stones to ultimate strength and personal freedom.
None of us wanted to drive on that street, fully aware of what could happen. I wondered if it would be our Stryker, or Attack 66, that would be hit with an IED. Were the insurgents planning to blow up one of our vehicles, and then attempt to ambush those remaining?
Braun made the left turn and drove cautiously down the road. Seconds later, there was a thunderous BOOM! Attack 66 had been hit by an IED! In an instant, all hell broke loose. There was dust everywhere, and pieces of earth rocketed upward by the blast rained down on our vehicle. Lt. Pierce told Ronan to move our vehicle forward a bit so I had a better three o’clock view. From the driver’s hole, Ronan reported that all he could see was smoke, dust, and a tire blasted off the vehicle, which had actually been thrown up into the air by the explosion’s force, and had landed upside down.
Fire seemed to be coming at us from every direction now, as we tried to establish communication with anyone on Attack 66.Lt. Pierce took charge from the commander hatch. “Matty, we’re taking fire from three o’clock. Get that 50 cal over there and fire into those buildings.” He paused, then added, “That three-story house over there…the tallest one. They’re firing at us from there."
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