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Last week, there was an announcement from Defense Secretary Robert Gates that they are phasing out stop-loss, with Gates blaming it for "breaking faith" with the troops -- and that it will be phased out by 50 percent next year. It only took them several years and the high suicide rates to catch on to that, but that's one good step that they're doing.

I was stop-lossed last time I was deployed, and held past my time.

You talked on the show about being interested in film.

Were there any opportunities that arose after being on the show that are now on hold? I've met a lot of people and there are a lot of avenues that I want to approach and get into. Obviously there's work with the IAVA and veterans organizations that I want to get into. That's my passion and I can see myself doing that as long as I'm alive, I guess.

"I don't want to put my parents through that again," he says, his voice fading to a whisper.

It's a soul-crushing scene, far more real than we're prepared to expect from television.

What did you learn from the "Real World" that you actually can bring to the real world? I guess coming in from a small town and only having the Army experience behind me, which was like living in a fraternity house ...

Music obviously is always still there; that's more of a hobby than a passion.

I don't feel like I'm missing out on anything right now.

I learned to be more open-minded with different things.

Whether I accepted them or not, at least I was open enough to experience them.

That was one thing about the show that got me when I watched the episode -- people are going to think I'm crazy. Reproduction of material from any Salon pages without written permission is strictly prohibited. Associated Press articles: Copyright © 2016 The Associated Press. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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