The white SUV hurtled toward the Guardsmen. The young soldiers reacted. “Suicide bomber!” yelled one. Two others took up defensive positions as if they were armed. But, they had no weapons. They were simply cleaning up the gravel parking lot at their National Guard Armory. They saw two young boys doing doughnuts in the parking lot with their SUV and told them to stop. The boys reacted by racing the engine and hurrying toward the Guardsmen.

The boys did not realize they picked a group of vets from Iraq and Afghanistan.  SGM Benavides was older. He was angry, too, but he knew he had to keep order. Like the younger vets, he wanted to beat the snot out of the boys. But, he wanted to maintain order more.

Other Guardsmen, who had not deployed to a combat zone, stared in amazement.

One boy emerged from the SUV with a swagger. “You think you can scare me?” responded one young vet.  “I came from a place where they tried to kill me everyday,” he said evenly.

SGM Benavides chewed the two boys out and let them go. He talked to his young vets about whether they were experiencing any PTSD.

 

 

 

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