As Leif Collins ’10 emerged from the gate at BWI airport in 2006, he carried far more on his shoulders than the weight of his Army-issued rucksack.
Just 24 hours earlier, Collins had been on the ground in Iraq. It was his second deployment in a war that had been raging for nearly three years. But now, he found himself suddenly transported home—a surreal return to a place where the Green Zone was a Newsweek infographic and IEDs disappeared simply by turning off the TV.
That night, he struggled to have a conversation with his fiancée and family. They didn’t know what to ask. He didn’t know what to say.
“I felt detached,” recalls Collins. “How could I explain my daily life in a way that anyone could ever understand? I didn’t talk much at first.”