Day in and day out soldiers carry the necessities that they need to survive. They carry pocket knives, M-16, and M-60, and more. Soldiers not only carry their equipment, they carry the physical and mental strain that the war puts on them. This country was built on war, and soldiers need help to cope with the realities of war both during and after. Tim O'Brien describes the days of war and what the soldiers' daily struggles are in the story "The Things They Carried." Soldiers go into war with a mindset that they are going to protect their country and their loved ones. However, war has a way of changing a man mentally. The experiences that soldiers have to face while at war are very challenging. Tim O'Brien describes how each soldier carries something personal with them. Just like Lt. Cross carries love letters and two pictures from a young lady, Martha, who he wishes loved him, theses personal memorabilia keeps the soldiers going when the war gets tough or they are scared. "Letters and diaries also testify to the widespread adoption of fatalism, particularly in extreme adversity" (Alex Watson). When a person is not in contact with the surrounding world, it can cause a mind to imagine unpleasant imaginations. .
"The emotional cycle of an extended deployment, six months or greater, is readily divided into five distinct stages. These stages are comprised as follows: pre-deployment, deployment, sustainment, re-deployment and post-deployment. Each stage is characterized both by a time frame and specific emotional challenges, which must be dealt with and mastered by each of the Family members. Failure to adequately negotiate these challenges can lead to significant strife - both for Family members and the deployed Soldier" (Military Family Perspective). "Rather than being culturally specific, such humor may represent a human response to the situation confronting both sets of belligerents.