Add Rodney Atkins to the list of country singers who made the trek overseas to entertain the troops. Following in the footsteps of Toby Keith, Kellie Pickler, Trace Adkins, Montgomery Gentry and others, Rodney told Taste of Country how the experience has effected his life forever.

He spent 10 days overseas entertaining the U.S. troops and left the war zone with a new humbling view on his own life challenges and how to battle them from here on out. “I came out of Afghanistan saying I will never complain again for the rest of my life after seeing what those men and women do,” Rodney admitted.

He even opens up about the experiences he had when he wasn’t performing and instead sitting one-on-one with soldiers. One truly inspiring story was when Rodney watched one of the Marines running drills at 3 a.m. “I finally asked one of the Marines ‘Why are you doing it now? Are you on the clock right now? Why now‘,” as the man carried 300 pound sand bags back and forth 50 yards at a time, dropping the bag and picking them up to start all over again. The Marine’s response? “Because I never know when I’m going to have to carry my brother back through the gates of hell.

Rodney left the interaction with a new found view on the world. Things that seemed so big back home were now miniscule compared to what the troops were dealing with. But it wasn’t just memories that he brought home. “They don’t wear a lot of identification,” he continues with Taste of Country. “They have a pistol and they have patches with their last name and their blood type. These guys would come up and take their patches off and handing them to me, saying ‘Give that to your little boy.’ I wound up with a whole bag full of this stuff.”

Expect entirely new meanings to Rodney’s hit songs, especially “Going Through Hell” from here on out. “They’re so young and so focused and they have each other’s back. They’re in my prayers every night.”

Rodney Atkins “If You’re Goin’ Through Hell”

-Jodi Phillips, The New 103.7

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