Like so many other veterans when they return home, Nathan Noble had some trouble adjusting to life in the United States. After serving two tours in Iraq and one in Afghanistan, Noble was a new man when he returned stateside five years ago.
"He'd been doing something he felt so strongly about that was every day absolutely a matter of life and death," Nathan's mother, Beth, recently told the Louisville Courier-Journal. "Then you come home and nobody really relates to you. They expect you to be the same 18-year-old that left."
Now 28, Noble joined the Marines after graduating from high school about 10 years ago. In April 2003 he was deployed to Iraq, and eight months later he was deployed to Afghanistan. That tour lasted two years, and before long he returned to Iraq, where he was stationed in a dangerous part of Baghdad. Firefights and roadside bombs were common.
"We’d joke about things like getting shot, because that’s how we coped," Noble told the Louisville Courier-Journal. "But in the back of our minds it was very much a reality that, 'Hey, I might never see you again when you get blown up five minutes from now.'"
When Noble returned from Iraq, it took a while to adapt to civilian life. A skilled soccer player in high school, Noble helped a friend coach a middle school team and then eventually scored a gig as an assistant men's coach at Georgetown College in Georgetown, Ky.
Noble, who had spent some time kicking a football during a brief stay in Uzbekistan, worked out with the Georgetown football team and routinely nailed 50-yard field goals. He discussed the possibility of walking on, but because Georgetown is a private school, the GI Bill would not cover the entire cost of tuition.
So Noble has gone back to training several days a week, hoping to play somewhere next year. He enrolled in classes at Kentucky in 2009, and since the NCAA allows students a five-year window to play intercollegiate athletics, Noble only has one year of eligibility left.
"I just hope I get a shot," Noble told WDRB in Louisville. "Whatever comes of that, I'll do whatever the team asks me or the team needs me to do."
For Noble's entire story, see here.
(H/T to Hot Clicks)