Soldier and Family Live with Harsh Realities of War, Economy

A typical U.S. Soldiers' patrol of an Iraqi village, April 2009. Photo courtesy of the Army website.

I heard the compelling voice of U.S. Army Specialist Jeff Taylor on National Public Radio Tuesday morning. Taylor was 22 and stationed in Baghdad when he was first interviewed by NPR’s David Greene in 2009. The economy was bad, Taylor was worried about finding a job to support his wife and two children, so he reenlisted. There was a $12,000 bonus for him to sign up for another six years and he went back to Iraq.

“I know I’m going to have food at the table. I know we’re going to have money for what we need. We’re going to be taken care of,” Taylor told Greene.

Although she wanted her husband home, Sarah Taylor told Greene she agreed it was better for their family for her husband to reenlist. “It’s stable, it’s secure. And you have to really mess up to get fired. And you can’t quit. So the deployments are risky. But, I don’t know…”

And it did get risky, while deployed Taylor developed an extreme anxiety disorder and eventually had a psychotic breakdown in Iraq and had to return to the U.S.

“I was seeing things and hearing things that weren’t there,” Taylor told Greene. “I didn’t really want to be around large crowds.”

You  can read a full transcript of their conversation HERE.

You can listen to the interview HERE.

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