The junior enlisted servicemembers we’ve had on this show have never shied away from giving the unvarnished truth when talking about their experiences in combat. They join for a myriad of reasons – a sense of patriotism, a career, or they just didn’t think they had better options when entering the workforce. Regardless, you can always count on them to shoot straight when asked for their opinions, especially when it comes to life in combat. Justin Piessens enlisted in the Army after high school, thinking at the time he really couldn’t find better options. Plus he was always open to new and interesting experiences. Interesting is what he got, serving as a tanker as the war in Iraq started to heat up in 2004, with a growing insurgency just under the surface. After he returned from his first deployment to Iraq, and ten days before leaving the Army for good, he was put on stop-loss, and headed to Ramadi in 2006 at the height of the insurgency. And this time he wasn’t going to be riding in a tank. His brigade commander told his unit it was going to be a “meat grinder.” That’s exactly what it was, both physically and mentally. In this episode, Justin talks about completing one combat deployment and jumping right back into another 15-month hellscape, and how that eventually led him down a dark road. This is a story of combat and survival in the truest sense, and one that fortunately ends on a positive note. Don’t miss it!
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