By Steve Hunley, Publisher

In 2008, Kyle Ward was a twenty-one-year-old senior in the second semester of his final year of college.  Ward had plans to finish college when news came that a young man he had known for most of his life, a good friend he had gone to school with and played sports with, had been killed in the service of his country.  The loss of his childhood friend had a profound impact upon Kyle Ward.  After attending his friend’s funeral, Ward went straight to the recruiting office to enlist.  “My Dad was not happy,” Ward remembers.  “He was really supportive afterwards, but at first, he was not at all happy.”  Still, it was a choice Ward doesn’t regret.

Kyle Ward went to boot camp and was initially stationed at Langley and went into intelligence.  Ward showed promise and applied to the elite Joint Special Operations Command and was accepted.  Kyle Ward was twice deployed to Afghanistan.  An impressionable young American who became friends with many local Afghans, Ward recalls them wanting exactly what too many Americans take for granted: basic freedoms.  “They wanted to send their children to school, be able to open their own businesses, have running water,” Ward said.  “They loved the idea of American freedom and democracy.”

The current situation in Afghanistan is painful for Kyle Ward, who still carries with him losses that are deeply personal to him from his deployments.  Once seen, things can never be unseen.  Ward has been somewhat quieter than usual lately, which has been noticed by his friends.  Friends like Andrew Davis and Devin Driscoll check in regularly just to see how Ward is doing.

“I’m just really angry and very sad,” Kyle Ward sighs.  “I’m sad for the people.  Men and women have gone over there and spilled blood and shed blood and lost friends.  It’s just unbelievable how badly this has been botched.”