Men in every generation tell stories of the people they served with and the ones that never come home. You build incredibly strong bonds living so close to one another and sharing experiences that no one else will ever understand. You go overseas, live under intense stress for 365+ days then head home.
William Hamilton from Redondo Beach, California was not the Soldier of the Month or a Medal of honor winner. He was a guy that had your back and was desperately looking for people to have his. He joined the Army looking for adventure and fun. He got a whole lot more than most he bargained for.
I met him when we were both inprocessing into the 82 Airborne at Fort Bragg, We would do paperwork all day and every night we would go find an under 21 strip club and spend whatever money we could strap together. As a high school drop out, it had been years since I had a friend to hangout with. I think Billy felt the same way.
When we arrived at our unit in August the famous 2-325 A.I.R. they were already in Iraq. Having come into Iraq through Saudi Arabia and Task force Ranger. These were hard dudes. Fighting battles form the border up to Baghdad. Losing friends and living in unthinkable conditions. By the time we made it to them hey were living in different parts of an Iraqi mansion with running water and a small internet cafe. They looked at us cherries as undeserving of attention or respect. Which we were.