We’d spent eight months walking up and down berms and around shit-filled yards in Iraq swinging an/pss-12 mine detectors—known as “twelves” or “piss-twelves”—on top of eighty to a hundred pounds of gear, including M-4s, M-16s, even M-249 saws, and the requisite magazines or belts of 5.56mm ammunition. I was an inch shorter, my spinal cartilage having compressed under the weight.


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