On the heavy weapons firing range at Ft. Bragg, Private First Class Nicholas Trimble asks the weapons officer if he is clear to fire.
“Whenever I’m ready?” said Trimble, 29, who is sitting in the gunners seat of a Humvee, where he is given the go ahead and releases a pin on the .50 caliber machine gun. He charges the handle back and fires the massive gun. The sound causes ordinary people to shake, but Trimble is calm and steady. This is the last weapons training exercise before his deployment to Afghanistan where he will serve for 12 to 15 months.
Trimble was delivering pizzas for Dominos when the economy collapsed a little more than a year ago, and he wanted some financial stability for his family. He decided to follow his grandfather and uncle into the U.S. Army.
“It’s a steady paycheck. The medical benefits you can’t beat. I get to continue my education, which is something I’ve always wanted to do," he said.
The New Jersey native admits to Fox News that he is nervous about his deployment.
"There’s always that chance that something could happen. There’s always that 'What if' factor —wrong place at the wrong time,” he said. Trimble has orders to serve in Western Afghanistan to train Afghan soldiers with the 82nd Airborne.
As his departure date approaches, Trimble thinks more about life without his wife, Angelina, and their two children – four-year-old Sean and two-year-old Catherine.
"I’ve gotten so used to giving my son or daughter a kiss before I go to bed, tuck them in, read them a story," he said. "Hopefully I’ll be able to read them a story over webcam or phone so I’ll deal. That’s really all you can do.”
Trimble is now part of a frontline force deployed to the most dangerous war zone.
“It’s always worrisome when your other half goes overseas — knowing that they’re going to be shot at and wondering every day if things are going to work out ok,” said his wife, Angelina.
The Trimble family views the deployments as part of the job. When Trimble joined the Army, both he and his wife knew he would likely serve in a war zone.
“Without people wanting to stand up and defend our country — where would we be? If people weren’t willing to step up and give the ultimate sacrifice, or be willing to accept the ultimate sacrifice, I really don’t know where we would be,” he said.
Nevertheless, Trimble is not looking forward to many months spent away from his family.
"I’m going to miss just watching them grow up. I’m going to miss other than just give them a hug and kiss every night — just watching them, seeing what they learn and what they discover.”
Nicholas Trimble tucks his son into bed and treasures the moment. He hopes to be home to celebrate Thanksgiving and Christmas next year with his family.
This article highlights the story of Private Trimble as part of Fox News' ongoing series “On the Homefront.” The next segment will air tonight at 7 p.m. ET on "The Fox Report with Shepard Smith."