Byline: TIMOTHY J. GIBBONS
Mike Murray got back to Mayport Naval Station from Afghanistan eight months ago, but his experiences there haven't faded.
"I haven't had a good night's sleep once since I've gotten home," said the petty officer first class who spent a year in Kabul helping the Afghan air force.
Murray volunteered for the assignment as an individual augmentee, the Navy's term - commonly abbreviated IA - for a sailor sent to serve with the nation's ground forces. The job was fun, he said, but there was the constant sound of rocket-propelled grenades hitting the NATO base where he worked and regular high-pitched explosions. Such things have a far-reaching impact.
"You become numb to it," he said. "You get used to throwing on your body armor, to throwing your flight suit on over your pajamas."
When he came home, he had trouble even driving, the result of leading around two or three dozen convoys through the crowded streets of Kabul.
"The first time I drove by myself [at home], I had to pull over twice because of anxiety," he said. "I would pull up to crowded stoplights, and instinct and urge would make me want to drive around the cars and through the intersection. We never stopped with convoys."
The long-lasting aftershocks of his experiences aren't unusual.
"We're not equipped to go and see that stuff and …