Demanding pace takes a toll on the troops.

By Anna Mulrine, U.S. News & World Report

BAGHDAD—At Combat Outpost Aztec, the Company D (Dog Company) platoons of the Army’s 2nd Stryker Cavalry Regiment spend eight hours a day patrolling the tough, rural roads of their palm grove-rich stretch of southeastern Baghdad. They search for militia thugs and keep an eye on the new civilian neighborhood watch patrols. Then, they have another eight hours a day of duty guarding the old meatpacking plant where they live. And in rare quiet hours, the soldiers have spent time literally counting sheep, in an effort to gauge local livestock health.

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