Lieutenant Mark Radlinski (L) and his brother Lieutenant Luke Radlinski (R) both served in the Navy.
When they came to StoryCorps, they talked about Mark’s deployment to Iraq in 2006 and his homecoming in March 2007. They also remembered how, right before Mark's departure, they had a fight and parted on bad terms.
Luke also deployed to the Persian Gulf in 2001, in support of the war in Afghanistan.
Click here for the transcript.
Mark Radlinski (MR): Yeah.
LR: So I sent you a long email. And it just picked back up again.
LR: And then I went through other personal issues--getting divorced and everything and... here you were, getting shot at, and helping me out through that time. That meant a lot. And when you came home, that day, if it’s not best day ever, it’s top five days ever.
MR: Interesting thing for us coming off the plane--it was a combination of best day ever and worst day ever. You hear all these people clapping for you. I don’t want to say you don’t feel worthy, but I’m here, 10 fingers, 10 toes, two legs, two arms, and I felt… like I didn’t deserve this kind of reception, because you left a lot of guys, gals back down range.
LR: I think it took you a couple months just to get adjusted.
MR: It did. I still remember walking into Banana Republic with fatigues and buying clothes and just being like 36 hours ago I was jumping on a Black Hawk. It was just bizarre. It didn’t feel like home. I tell you, for the first three weeks after I got back, I was looking at every opportunity I could find to go back down range.
LR: That’s the first time I’ve ever heard that. Like you said, a lot of people didn’t come home. But uh... you are my brother, so I’m going to go ahead and still be happy that you did. That’s why I still look back at that day in late March 2007 and think Best day ever.