In the days, weeks, months, and years following 9/11 we deployed as teams, running to the sound of the guns. The learning curve was steep early on, but we adjusted quickly, passing on the lessons we had learned to those coming in behind us. The enemy was learning too, adapting to us as we adapted to them.
Every night as I take the kids to lacrosse practice, the rock gym, or out on an evening hike in the mountains, I try to remember that there are teams out there gearing up for another mission - they've cleaned their weapons, topped off magazines, replaced batteries in their NODs, flashlights, and IR lasers, completed comm checks, and finished rehearsals.
We probably won’t hear about it unless one of them doesn’t make it back, but they're out there. The plan will not go exactly as briefed, and those on the ground will have to aggressively solve the problems at hand. When they return to base they might try to sneak in a few minutes on the SAT phone to check in with loved ones on the home front, inevitably calling at the most inopportune time for the family - their voices transformed into a digitized alien version of themselves, the sound bouncing off satellites on its journey from one side of the globe to the other.