Today, after spending most of the day travelling through much of the Jalyrez valley in the Afghan province of Wardak, I spoke to the Army Green Beret who lead the trip. This 20+ veteran of the Army Special Forces confessed he had been concerned:

"After seeing what American youth was like and knowing what previous generations had sacrificed during WWII, Korea and Vietnam, I wondered if this generation could make the grade."

I'm happy to inform the audience that this generation can.

I've been back in Afghanistan for less than a week and I have to admit I had forgotten about the two Americas. In one America, there are young men and women looking forward to sunny summer vacations and promising summer jobs. In the other America, there are men and women supporting a fight against really bad people in not so pleasant places. In one America celebrities are a fixation and text messaging a sport, in the other America troops focus on their duty and the survival of their buddies.

In the Southern Afghan province of Helman, 4,000 young men volunteered to join the United States Marine Corp knowing full well that such a decision could take them to one of the most dangerous places in the world, to fight one of the most ruthless enemies of our time.

As of this writing, one Marine has fallen and several are injured in what Marine Corps officials based out of Camp Leatherneck are calling "a very deliberate operation" to show the Taliban and other insurgents that the Marines have arrived.

It's hard to imagine what Americans back home are willing to risk their lives for, but here no imagination is needed. The reality of the tasks and sacrifices the infantrymen flowing into Helman leave very little doubt that Americans like the Marines fighting in Southern Afghanistan not only make the grade, they create a whole new class.

Matt Sanchez is a war correspondent and political commentator. He is currently an embed with U.S. forces in Afghanistan.