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Tom Sileo's op-ed column on The Unknown Soldiers: Seek On
Given his two tours in Afghanistan and previous deployment to Iraq, fellow soldiers in the war zone rely on Sgt. Cartwright's experience and leadership.
"I understand that I must teach them the way," the soldier wrote. "I train these handlers day and night so that they will be ready to face anything that gets put in their way."
Cartwright has already missed his wife and young son's birthdays, not to mention Thanksgiving, during this deployment. With frigid air and relentless assaults by American troops forcing al-Qaida and the Taliban into hiding during the winter months, Cartwright hopes to have a relatively nice, quiet Christmas on base with his beloved dog.
"The missions have slowed down since winter has come and fighting season is over," he wrote. "Yet Isaac and I are still out and away from our family and friends during the holidays."
It is a privilege to live in a free country. But as we enjoy the company of friends and family during this special time of year, I hope we'll keep in mind that brave men, women, and dogs are still scouring the post-9/11 battlefields of a primitive land. I think about Jason and Isaac often, wondering what they are doing and praying they are safe.
"It is a serious and dangerous job that we do, but I've got full confi-dence in Isaac and the troops who have my back," Cartwright wrote.
When the air grows warmer and the enemy returns to the battlefield, Jason and Isaac will be ready once again.
"As I hear the chopper from the distance, I know it's time to begin," he wrote.
Sgt. Jason Cartwright can't wait to see his wife and child again. But unlike the 99 percent of us who don't serve in uniform, this 28-year-old American soldier ranks his personal wishes second. Whenever danger lurks beneath the dirt road ahead, Jason and Isaac always seek on. To them, nothing is more important than uncovering the next bomb.
"If one day I shall fall, I won't regret it," the soldier wrote. "[That's] because we try to find them all."
Tom Sileo is a columnist with Creators Syndicate.