Posted 11/15/16 (Tue)
By Sydney Glasoe Caraballo
He pushes the mower over the summer grass, engaged in a classic American backyard chore, when a piece of cardboard crashes – blown by North Dakota wind – into the fence.
Joe Francetich ducks and crouches.
The sound has brought him back to Iraq and down low.
Francetich has been home in Williston for several months the summer of 2005 when he raises his head and realizes he has experienced a flashback.
Back to a convoy where he had volunteered to leave his headquarters job and fill in for a soldier in need of a day off from hunting roadside bombs. Francetich is positioned as the .50 cal. machine gunner when vehicles in the convoy stop ahead as they take enemy fire.
He joins the gunfight.
Francetich recalls this memory, his words quickening past that moment so he can testify that many in his unit experienced much worse and to emphasize that, for most, to return home unaffected would be impossible.