A U.S. veteran’s message for Memorial Day (audio)

In 2004, I was embedded in Fallujah, Iraq, with the scouts of the U.S. Marine Raider Platoon of Charlie Company, 1st Armored Reconnaissance Battalion. The unit’s mission: to clear the city of insurgents who had turned it into a hub for kidnapping and bomb-making.

It was a costly monthlong offensive, with more than 70 Americans killed in the biggest fight for the U.S. Marine Corps since Hue City in Vietnam, in 1968.

During house-to-house fighting I got to know some of the Marines, including Capt. Cameron Albin, who now lives near Fort Worth, Texas.

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Captain Albin survived three tours in Iraq and earned a reputation for a quick tongue and a quiet intellectualism. Like many of his comrades, he’s struggled with the memory of fallen comrades. He’s experienced post-traumatic stress disorder, alcohol abuse, and the suicide of friends.

After years of rehabilitation, Captain Albin has turned a corner. He is now a father. He’s teaching while working on a Ph.D. He finds solace in sailing.

We hadn’t spoken in five years – since the 10th anniversary of Fallujah. For Memorial Day, I gave him a call. I’m honored to share his remembrances, and part of our conversation.

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