by Jon Hamilton [GRAPHIC: Katherine Du, NPR]
“The first time Kit Parker’s phone rang, everything seemed fine. It was January 2006, and Parker’s old Army buddy Chris Moroski was calling to say hi.
“Parker and Moroski had jumped out of airplanes together in the 1990s when they were paratroopers in the National Guard. But after the attacks on Sept. 11, Parker had been deployed to Afghanistan, his friend to Iraq. They’d lost touch.
“Parker had come back from his tour in 2003 to start a new job as a biophysicist on the faculty at Harvard. At 6-foot-5, with a shaved head and a booming drawl, he’d never exactly blended in on campus. But he’d avoided talking about military stuff. And he’d worked obsessively to establish his scientific credentials as an expert on heart muscle cells.
“Now Moroski was back too. But his return had been rougher. He was calling from Dwight D. Eisenhower Army Medical Center at Fort Gordon, Ga. He’d ended up there after an IED had blown up his vehicle during a patrol near Ramadi. Moroski had been hurt, but his doctors promised he’d recover.
“The men made small talk, exchanged insults and joked about the Army. Then they hung up.”
What happens next?