In Afghanistan, life was simple

November 11, 2018

FLORENCE, S.C. -- Florence native Allan Cusack is beginning the process of adjusting to civilian life after serving in Afghanistan.

“The reintegration was a little bit more than anticipated, and the government kind of decided the best thing for me was to figure out how to be a civilian again,” Cusack said. “Over there, everything was very simple. It was you had a task to do, and you did said task, and everybody with you helped accomplish that task no matter who completed the task. Here, it’s not that way.”

In 2010, he went full time in the South Carolina National Guard and was deployed to Afghanistan, where he served as a combat attachment for both U.S. and South Korean Special Forces for the Provincial Reconstruction Teams in central and northern Afghanistan.

“Afghanistan is just Afghanistan,” Cusack said. “Some places are more dangerous than others, but it’s different. I don’t think it’s any more dangerous. I mean, we have places here that are extremely dangerous, but like Florence isn’t Detroit, Afghanistan is not Florence.”

He added that there were missions where things could have gone “horribly wrong for everybody.”

“I was with some of the best guys in the world,” Cusack continued. “They made sure I knew my job and they knew their job, and everything worked out the way it was supposed to work out.”

In Afghanistan, Cusack bonded with several soldiers from the United States and South Korea. Even eight years later, he continues to talk via social media with his South Korea “brothers.”

Cusack served in the National Guard from 2007 until 2015.

Cusack said he grew up in Florence and attended West Florence High School. He said he dropped out of school in the 11th grade. Cusack then became a bull rider for a while before entering the Army.

He joined the Army around the age of 23 or 24. Cusack said he joined the South Carolina National Guard as a way of supporting his second wife and their child.

“It was something I wanted to do as a child,” Cusack said. “My grandfather served, one of my uncles flew the president. It was something I had always been around. The rest of my family was in law enforcement, so I didn’t really like the idea of law enforcement, so I went military.”

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