Army Sgt. 1st Class Jeffrey Martin parked the truck outside the concrete slabs arranged in a defensive perimeter around the tactical operations center at Forward Operating Base Shank, Afghanistan.
A layer of fine brown dust hung in the air. Out in the distance, high, snow-capped mountains ringed the combined U.S.-Afghan base. C-130 transport planes and Apache helicopter gunships roared overhead at regular intervals.
“You wanna see where the rocket landed?” he asked me.
“Yeah, of course,” I replied.
“How you doing?” he asked, knowing what was in store for me later.
“I’m fine,” I replied automatically, not knowing if it was a lie. “I’m sure it’ll sink in later.”