When Chris Magallanez enlisted in the army after high school, he chose to go into an infantry unit, because he thought it's where he would see the most action.
"They told me, for sure, I was going to deploy as an infantry unit," says Magallanez.
He was stationed at Fort Bragg where he quickly met his 22 year old wife, Yasmin. The two were married on July 24th of last year and two weeks later, he left for a one year deployment in the Middle East.
"We both went into it knowing we weren't going to see each other for a long time, and we prepared ourselves as best we could," says Magallanez.
Magallanez says most of his days in Tikrit are quieter than you might expect, filled with briefings, and security patrols. But then, he says, there are days when the insurgency takes sharp aim at his company, driving home the reality of the tense situation.
"We had a humvee blow up from the inside, the inside tank grenades. What they like to do is hide in the crowd, and then throw them into our humvees where the turret is, where the hole is in the top of our humvee," says Magallanez.
Magallanez says thankfully, no one was killed in that attack or any other attack targeting his company. He says any time there's a U.S. casualty, even if he doesn't know him, he loses a brother or a sister.
"It lights a fire under you. You want to get out there, and you don't want to mess up. You work harder and do things better than you would," says Magallanez.
As he heads back to Tikrit on Thursday, Magallanez says he's indifferent to President Bush's plans for a troop surge that could begin next month. What he knows for sure is that he is willing to stay as long as it takes to get the job done.
When his time in the army is finished, Magallanez says he hopes to return to East Texas and go into law enforcement.