Sergeant John Bruhns is sharply critical of soldiers who go AWOL.
"I feel that if you are against the war, you should be man enough to stay put and fight for what you believe in," he
also doesn't believe in making a secret of his
opinions about the war.
"I'm very proud of my military service," he
tells me from his
post with the Army's
1st Armored Division in
returned in February from a one-year deployment in
is due to complete his
Army service next March, but his
unit may be "stop-lossed"-their terms extended beyond their discharge dates to meet the Pentagon's desperate need for troops.
Critics have called this a backdoor draft, a way to force a volunteer military into involuntarily serving long stints in an unpopular war.
A California National Guard member has filed a lawsuit challenging the policy, and Bruhns
has considered joining the case.
"I'm really a patriotic soldier," the 27-year-old infantryman tells me; he
addresses me as "sir" and stops periodically to answer the squawk of his
signed up as a full-time soldier in early 2002, after serving five years in the Marine Corps Reserve.
"I was really upset about what happened on 9/11," he
recalls, "and I really wanted to serve.
says, left him disappointed.
"We were fighting all the time.
fellow soldiers, Bruhns
adds, a majority still support the war.
notes, "This is a new generation.