I deployed to Fallujah, Iraq in May of 2004. It was my second deployment to the country, and I was looking forward to my tour ending as I was separating from the Marines shortly thereafter. Toward the middle of the month, I was sent to 1st Marine Division's headquarters to work on a vehicle.
We were unable to fix the vehicle on location and waited for a couple of days for an escort to Al Taqqadum (where engine mechanics were stationed). In those few days, I briefly came to know a staff sergeant assigned to Charlie Company of 1st Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion. He took care of me and the other mechanics and even chatted with me about going back home. He talked fondly of his three sons and struck me as a decent man and a great marine.
A couple of days after returning to Fallujah, I learned that his vehicle was attacked and that he was killed in our area. Furthermore, I was tasked with pressure-washing the vehicle to remove the blood so that the vehicle could be scrapped. After finishing the work, I returned to my trailer covered in specks of blood from the back spray, emotionally stirred.