INDIANAPOLIS — Malachi Muncy has one word to describe his service in Iraq as a member of the Army National Guard.
His dad being a U.S. Army vet, Muncy grew up on bases. Yet he wasn't following in his father's footsteps when he joined the military.
"I think I really just needed a place to stay," Muncy said during a recent phone interview. "I had a lot of problems in my life I was trying to get away from."
Going to Iraq, however, wasn't the solution.
Muncy was a truck driver for his National Guard unit. Just 18 years old at the time, many of the convoys often came under attack.
"Our trucks didn't have any armor," Muncy said. He can't say if he had a lot of close calls.
"One is a lot. I had a few. One is enough."
Sleep deprivation and coming under fire began taking a toll. Muncy's behavior became erratic. He punched a truck window and was accused of pointing a loaded weapon at a fellow soldier. Eventually he was put on sleeping pills. He didn't particularly like them, but started abusing them in hopes of keeping on an even keel.
"Anytime I wasn't driving, I started popping them," Muncy said. "I wasn't necessarily trying to sleep, just dull my senses."
And yet after serving in Iraq from 2004 to '05, he went back in '06 and served another two years. Muncy says it's because his drug use got worse when he returned to the states, and he started getting into trouble with the law. Returning to Iraq, he thought, would be a geographical cure.
"The logic to me at the time was if I went back I could find myself where I had lost myself," he said.