My job here in Afghanistan is done. I’m in the cockpit of an Air Force C-17, leaving Kandahar and riding off into the sunset. It’s like an old Western movie, except in this case the heroes are not the ones making the cinematic exit, they are staying behind. The comedians – Vargus Mason, Robert Zapata, Tamer Kattan and I – are heading out of Dodge with a greater respect and understanding for the sacrifices made by those heroes.
We became familiar with the various ways the soldiers, sailors, marines and airmen deal with the vast distances that separate them from their loved ones back home: video games, movies and the gym. But there was another, far more visible, more enduring pastime: art.