In the last century the US has consistently revised and updated the way it approaches war. We have moved away from having a large number of combatants and placed a greater reliance upon technology and non-fighting participants. Today, the support personnel in war zones far outnumber the operators. Contractors and non-DoD (Department of Defense) personnel play a larger role than in any previous conflict. Jobs abound and vast numbers of people with no military experience have found themselves going to Iraq and Afghanistan to support the war effort.
I found myself going over in 2004 with a non-DoD agency. I had no military background but within a month began participating in raids and various enforcement operations all over the country. They say, “Experience is what you get when you don’t get what you wanted.” I quickly got lots of experience. Most of what I learned was from working with career military operators and following the lead of the men who were there before me. I stayed for a year and I have continued to return regularly for temporary tours ever since.
Since leaving Afghanistan, I have stayed active in a number of different programs that involve both US government employees and contractors. When I helped train them for their first deployments, they inevitably have questions about what kind of gear they will need in country.