The Maino Project: After the war
GREEN BAY - We welcome home our local troops with banners and parades, but what happens once the celebration is over? When our combat vets try to settle into normal everyday life, how easy is it to leave the war behind?
For American soldiers, Afghanistan has been one of the most dangerous places on the face of the earth.
"Even now watching movies and my heart starts racing because it's like, holy cow, I did that, I've seen that. Watching a movie, it can't even hold a candle to that, just the feeling of putting your boots on the ground and going and searching for IEDs and taking care of business like we had to," says veteran Ryan McGregor.
"I can't describe in words what it's like, just the feelings and emotions that you get from being on a mission, just the feelings and emotions that you get from being on a mission, just the anxiety and the pressure and the constant, just constant danger," says veteran Tye Gouin.
So after a year in an explosive detonation unit, of riding down hostile roads, of losing friends, seeing other badly hurt, they all had one thing in mind: making it home safely. In the most ironic of twists, now that they're home, the think of being back there.
"It's weird. It completely 180-ed. Like being over there, all I wanted was to be home with my family and my daughter, and then coming back here it's just like, 'this sucks.' I'd give anything to be back over there and continue doing what i was doing. It's the weirdest feeling," Tye says.
Perhaps it was the support and camaraderie of brothers in arms. "After a mission you'd just move on to the next day. You know, if something bad happened you just rolled with it. If you kept holding onto it, you're not going to get anything accomplished. You're going to put other people's lives in danger if you're thinking about stuff like that. So you just try to drive on every single day," says Ryan.
Or maybe it's facing down and surviving one of the toughest challenges a person can face. "I don't know. Sometimes I wish I could just forget it all, like it never happened. But I also think that those experiences that I went through also made me who I am today," says Tye.