My name is Chris Skeeters. I got out of the Marines in 2012.

I could tell story upon story of experiences while I was in, but instead I’ll tell you about an entire deployment.

I was assigned to Combat Logistics Battalion 2. During our time deployed to Afghanistan, we experienced many hardships and tough days.

There were good times, but most were outweighed by the bad.

There were times when we wanted to leave, but we knew we couldn’t because it would mean giving up on our oath to our brothers.

It was around Thanksgiving and we were all joking around trying to keep good spirits because we all wanted to be home for the holidays. We sat in the mess hall joking and talking about what we would do when we got home.

We never knew some of us would not make it another week and this would be our last holiday together.

The following week was very hard. It happened in an instant and there was lots that was left unsaid.

This story is familiar to thousands of deployed service members throughout every branch.

Why did it happen to them?

Was there anything I could have done?

And why wasn’t it me?

Chris Skeeters is a U.S. Marines veteran, professional bull rider, and member of Warriors and Rodeo.