Still, Ross said the experience changed him.
He said he realizes now how much he has taken for granted about the "little luxuries" in life, especially after seeing Iraqis washing their clothes in a river or slaughtering their own lambs to feed their families.
"I come back and I love living in a free country," he said. "I'm still a punk 19-year-old, but some things I have a lot more adult outlook on."
Doerfler, too, said the year at war has changed him for the better, even if there's some difficulty getting back into the swing of things.