The Digital Journalist
© Nina Berman

"I really have no idea what my mission was. We were trying to catch the people that were doing stuff. Looking for AKs, looking for RPGs, just stuff like that. We found some weapons, but most of the time we would just go to get the people for information. And when we weren't doing that we were sleeping or eating. We had TVs and Play Stations.

I liked it. The excitement. The adrenaline. Never knowing what's going to happen. I mean you could walk in the house and it would blow up. Or you could go in and get fired at. I'm an adrenaline junky and I like that. I want to get out there and hump stuff on my back. That's what I was doing. I was doing what I wanted. I did something with my life instead of sitting around and doing nothing.

Yeah they (Iraqis) were scared. You have like 9 Americans busting into your house just screaming pointing weapons. Yeah they were scared. We would go in when they were sleeping and we would just bust in and wake them up so they didn't have enough time to get their stuff.

I have no political feelings. I'm just a soldier out there. You know, we're trying to help them live like us so they can be free and not be scared to do anything. Trying to set them free. That's how we looked at it. Sometimes we hated being over there because they just didn't respect what we were doing. We were trying to help them and they didn't want us there at all...

It was a car bomb. A suicide bomber. He came just ripping through the gate and he exploded the car and himself. I got hit. My nose was sitting over here like on the left side of my face and I couldn't breathe so they had to cut a trache in. I was bleeding extremely bad. They kept me in a room by myself because I was just like really bad looking. I had tubes running all through.

All the excitement that was going on, now it's nothing. You just watch the news or you watch the war movies on TV. Full Metal Jacket, there's a couple of other ones. I want to find Hamburger Hill, that's a good one about the 101st. My dad, we'd sit there and watch them. A lot of John Wayne movies too, you know the cowboys and Indians, and then the war movies."

PFC Randall Clunen, 19, 101st Airborne, stationed in Tal Afar, was pulling guard December 8, 2003 when a suicide bomber broke through security and exploded himself and his vehicle. Chunks of shrapnel ripped into Clunen's face. Photographed at home Salem, Ohio February 14, 2004.