Local soldier recounts combat tour in Afghanistan

In November 2011, Charles Cohen III of Bowling Green was deployed to Afghanistan.

Charles was the gunner in a squad that provided security for American military and civilian leaders in Kanduz Province.

Before joining the Ohio Army National Guard Charles was a college student. "You go from sitting behind a desk with a pencil to this mountainous terrain, it was kind of a shellshocker," Mr. Cohen said.

Charles recounted the night when he and his convoy were ambushed. "I won't talk too much about it but it happened at pitch black, the truck I was driving in was hit by an RPG(rocket propelled grenade), and we did what we had to do to get out of the kill zone," Specialist Cohen said.

A strong bond with his fellow soldiers and faith in God helped him get through his deployment. "I prayed every night that everything would be alright and I prayed for my brothers to the left and right of me and for my family and friends back home," Mr. Cohen said.

Charles returned home last September. He enrolled at Owens Community College four weeks after the Fall semester had started but was still able to catch up. He is pursuing a degree in computer networking. "I plan to take my skills back to Afghanistan and work as a private contractor on US military bases," Specialist Cohen said.

Charles has a 4-year-old son named Peyton. Charles is also an avid weightlifter and since returning from combat the hobby has been a way for him to deal with the stress related to his combat mission. "My escape from all of the stress and bad memories is going to the gym every morning before class," Charles said. He plans to be a contestant in a bodybuilding competition this spring.

Feel free to contact Charles on Twitter @CFC_Trifecta.