Dan Talley began military service in 1986. In 1990, he was deployed with the 82nd Airborne Division to Saudi Arabia for Desert Shield. In 1991, he remained in the Middle East to serve in Desert Storm.

In 1995, he left active duty at Fort Bragg and rejoined the Mississippi Army National Guard. In 2004, he was at Camp Shelby preparing for the 2005 deployment to Operation Iraqi Freedom. With the 150th Combat Engineer Battalion, based in Meridian, Dan participated in active duty in Al Anbar province, southwest of Bagdad.

By 2010, Dan could have easily retired and lived peacefully at home with his family. However, because he knew his men were going to combat again, instead of feeling peaceful he maintained an overwhelming desire to return and lead his men. When he told his wife what he was considering, she was horrified and began praying that her husband would not go to war again. Dan’s 19 year-old son became extremely angry that his father would consider such a move; family arguments ensued. It was his 9 year-old daughter who voiced the whole family’s feelings when she asked, “Dad, if you go, will you come home again?”

Dan did not know how to answer his daughter’s question, but the truth was that he had a strong feeling he would survive but return wounded, changed, or altered in some way.

Nevertheless, he spent every morning in prayer and Bible study, searching for answers. “Lord, is this my idea or yours?” Dan asked. “What is my reason for doing this?” In return, God asked Dan, “What was your reason for joining the army?” Dan’s answer was, “I felt I had to do my part.” Then God said, “The reason has not changed.” Peace replaced anxiety, and Dan knew he must go. Again he would do his part.

After a change of heart, Dan’s son, Sam, dropped out of college to attend basic and technical training, and then deployed to Afghanistan. Father and son, usually in different platoons, would perform what is called route clearance, a daily search for bombs and the disposal of bombs. Dan is convinced that he, Sam, and their brothers in arms were able to accomplish their part and return home alive because of constant prayer.

Before going to Afghanistan, Dan began journaling his thoughts, experiences, and feelings. His wife and son also kept journals. These would be used later to tell a story.

When Dan Talley completed his God-given assignment and returned home, he was given another assignment—to write a book about his family’s recent combat tour. It is the story of a family’s faith to work through fear and conflict, of brave men who served their nation, and an honest look at the after effects of war.

Although Dan survived, he returned home wounded and changed. Having incurred a traumatic brain injury, he suffers from post concussion syndrome, complicated migraines and back pain, in addition to symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

The burden which weighs heavily upon Dan today is the awareness of the many people who are suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. He grieves over the sobering fact that 22 soldiers commit suicide every day as a result of the horrors of war. Many of Dan’s men have experienced alcoholism, drug abuse, divorce, depression, incarceration and suicide.

Sergeant Dan Talley completed his book assignment and is searching for a publisher for The Stan.

You may contact Dan Talley at topdale39@gmail.com.

You may contact Virginia Dawkins at jtdawk06@aol.com.

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