Soldiers' Stories Statement
Inactive Duty Sergeant First Class Mike Sprouse, Virginia Army National Guard, veteran of Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan, with wife, Tammy, and children, Peyton and Colin; Madison Heights, VA, August 2006
48”x 48” Chromogenic Color Print

We had one. Another platoon that operated in the same area actually hit one. They had hit one a couple months earlier too. Luckily they survived that. We lost two people from an IED [improvised explosive device] in the first two weeks we were in Afghanistan.

After coming back home, you think about Afghanistan and how it was driving there compared to here. Occasionally it will go through your mind, driving down the road, to look out for IEDs. It’s an instinct that is hard to turn off. When I went to drill last month, going to Winchester on 81, it happened. And it was just a tire from a tractor-trailer recap up ahead. It doesn’t happen every day. I could go a couple of weeks, a month, and not see it. But driving down the road, something’s going to click in your mind.

Mike Sprouse was deployed to Kuwait for a second tour as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2007–08. He is now retired from the military.

This text was transcribed and edited from interviews conducted by Jennifer Karady in August 2006.

© Jennifer Karady 2022, all rights reserved.