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A few days before I deployed I picked this up at a local pawn shop to take with me. The idea was for it to be expendible. As soon as I got home I put on the nice gray MOTO pickguard. It got loaded onto a pallet and flown out a few days before I left. Weeks later, we re-connected on a broiling hot tarmac in Kuwait. The molded case was being crushed under some boxes; the whole pallet had been torn apart and repacked a few times. The case was distorted and it had melted some in the 140 degree heat. It looke like the box Gumby came in! I expected to find this Strat in splinters, or at least badly warped. I was however, pleasantly surprised to find it in great shape! So was the cheap-o little Rogue SS amp and the Line 6 POD I'd also brought.
Later, in Iraq I let anyone who wanted to play it have at it. A Chaplain from Ar Ramadi would drop in with five or six shell shocked troops and a couple of acoustic guitars, and we'd jam to Hendrix. One guy could no longer talk, but he picked up this Strat and could sing like an angel! He eventually snapped out of it and was returned to duty. Many dozens of soldiers played it between missions, not just the shell shock cases.
The young man in this picture was a tank driver, and he'd often volunteer to make the run from Fallujah to Habbaniya (where I was) just to play this guitar! It always gave me great pleasure to see the looks on these guys faces when they strummed that first chord!