by Dave Tobin / The Post-Standard
Sitting outside a tent in Misan in southern Afghanistan, Spc. Daniel Hilsinger, 23, of Dryden, a Humvee gunner with Viper Team, part of the 27th Brigade Combat Team, talked about his service and his first firefight July 15:
My grandfather served in Vietnam. He volunteered three times to go to the worst place in the world, so as his grandson, I figured I might as well volunteer to go to the worst place in the world. I’m doing my part.
I went to three high schools in Texas. I moved around a lot because I was a foster kid. My mom died when I was six and my father left when I was three.
My grandfather died of diabetes in September 2000. I’m kind of glad that he didn’t have to see what happened to the world after that, but at the same time it would have been nice to have him here.
Both my uncles told me, “If your Grandpa were still alive, he’d be rooting you on all the way to the flight. Then he’d kick you in the butt for volunteering.” Yeah, probably.
During my firefight, I had been returning fire.
I was reloading my 240 (M-240 machine gun) that’s up on my truck, and I could hear pops and cracks over my head. I looked over the side for a second and I noticed they were starting to walk rounds in to my truck. Because I was the only one.
It just opened my eyes – this is really real! They’re actually shooting at me now! That doesn’t make me feel real comfortable.