KABUL, AFGHANISTAN—Recently deployed to participate in counterinsurgency operations outside of Kabul, 19-year-old Pvt. Robert Welsh told reporters Monday that for as long as he can remember, he has wanted to serve his country by fighting in Afghanistan. "My most vivid childhood memories are of seeing the war on TV and imagining one day I'd be able to grow up and come over here to fight for my country," said Welsh, who has followed the U.S. struggle against the Taliban for more than half his life and once spent recesses at school make-believing he and his fellow third-graders were fighting the war on terror. "I honestly never thought I'd get the chance to participate all these years later, but here I am." Welsh went on to say that while he doesn't want to get his hopes up, he remains cautiously optimistic that his own children will one day follow in his footsteps by fighting in Afghanistan.