Assignment Afghanistan: Aggie Works to Defend Bagram Base

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BAGRAM, AFGHANISTAN As the sun sets over Bagram, Army Lieutenant Chris Torres and members of Alpha Battery, 3rd Battalion, 82nd Field Artillery rise.

"The best time for the enemy to hit us is when we're sleeping," he said, "so what we do is sleep during the day when we're supposed to be most energetic, and then we wake up at night and we control the nightlife."

As a platoon leader, the Aggie and his fellow soldiers secure things inside the wire. If the enemy tries to drop in or drop something in the base, Alpha Battery works to stop it.

"All these guys are well-prepared," he said of his men. "They're always out there ready to go do what they've got to do for us."

Torres says he came out of the womb an Aggie, to Aggie parents. He'd already made it to A&M when his dad revealed he'd been on the Fish Drill Team that took the national title in 1978.

"That when I found out I had a history, and my parents met there, so I decided that history could repeat itself for once," Torres said.

But Aggieland wasn't originally his collegiate stop. A Marine Corps scholarship at the Naval Academy fell through, and he was at basic training with the Marines when former A&M Commandant General John Van Alstyne offered Torres a full-ride Army scholarship.

"I didn't care what uniform I wore," Torres said. "I just wanted to be an Aggie, Class of 2012."

War zones are inherently stressful places, but for Lt. Torres, one of the most stressful times of all maybe came not in a firefight, but a snowball fight.

"At one point in time, I actually did throw my ring off because I've lost plenty of weight around here," Torres explained. "It was lost for three days until the snow cleared, and one of my soldiers found it for me.

"I do believe it was really heartfelt when I did lose my ring," he added. "However, I do believe my overall responsibility is making sure every one of these soldiers gets home alive and well to their families would be more heart-pounding.

"It's hard to mentally prepare yourself for what you're going to go through out here. However, I know after four years at A&M and the crucial, important facts they put into you and mindset they enstill, you'll be prepared for it."