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The Hellmand Project / Press

““I know it sounds cliché, but I can sit down with Joe and Jason, and I lose myself,” Morgan said. He said their songs cover just about everything. “It is centered around our experiences there and our experiences back home, and with our family and dealing with the person we are when we return,” Morgan said. “No matter what military branch or MOS (military occupational speciality), the desert sticks on you in its own little way.” A car's reflection through the window on a sunny day makes Allen Morgan jump. A camera's flash has a similar effect. The Iraqi War veteran doesn't like to talk about the gunfire, explosions and death he encountered. Like many veterans, Morgan, 29, returned from his tour of duty in Iraq with post-traumatic stress disorder. He also was diagnosed with a traumatic brain injury after he was involved in three improvised explosive device blasts while serving in Iraq in 2004 and 2005. Morgan fought in 175 combat missions. In an Army Infantry unit, 1/”

“-Healing through music: Three Alabama veterans cope by forming The Hellmand Project band- "We're not looking for a pat on the back," Hallman said. "We're looking at it for people to understand this is what we did over there -- for whatever reasons we did it -- to make it back home in one piece. This is what we're like now. This is what's going on inside our hearts." Morgan was dying every day since returning from Iraq in 2005. Until checking into the VA, he experienced a suicidal thought daily. He tried to kill himself more than once, he said. "I wished some factor would happen that would cancel me out," said Morgan, a 29-year-old father. "During times of my deepest abuse, I would try to cancel myself out chemically." Morgan was like so many soldiers four months ago in the Tuscaloosa VA Medical Center -- an Iraq veteran fighting post-traumatic stress disorder that triggered suicidal thoughts and substance abuse.”

““A lot of the content deals with the horrors of war, the struggles that your family goes through when you’re gone. But we cover a wide range of things,” Morgan said. “Love, hate. Just about everything roped in together.” To learn more about The Hellmand Project and to listen to their music, visit their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/TheHellmandProject. ”

“The band's name came not only from a place many veterans would recognize, but as a play on how each of them are trying to rise from their own private torment. “I know I felt, for a long time, like I was alone in my cage in hell,” Hallman said. It wasn't just that the men were fluidly blending styles, but that the lyrics pouring out spoke often about combat experiences they could all relate to. "So many (veterans) don't even know they are sick. So many don't even know they are in a dark place,” said Morgan, who tried to start a band with non-veterans after returning from overseas, but found it difficult to overcome his problems with PTSD. It was only when sitting down with his fellow veterans that he was able to make music again. “The chemistry was just there,” Morgan said. “It was no accident.” ”