Scott Noe was a "different" child, his dad said.
In junior high school, Scott wrapped up a tin of horse manure and gave it to a classmate in a gift exchange.
During his senior year of high school, Scott was suspended and had to go to a "tough love" high school to get his diploma.
Not even the bulls of the rodeo could keep Scott down. While he never spent eight seconds on a bull, his dad has lots of pictures of Scott getting up out of the dirt.
Scott Noe, 21, was supposed to return this month from his stint in Afghanistan as a member of the 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment. His time was extended to November.
But he won't let the extension or the 130-degree days get to him, either.
"I love being over here. I am living my dream. I spend all day ridding the world of Al-Qaida and Islamic extremists, fighting the war of my generation like many before me have fought hard the wars of their generation. Everything I've done in life has led me here," he wrote in a recent letter to his father.
Scott now spends weeks on end on missions near the Afghanistan-Pakistan border. He said that he guards the border, trying to keep the bad guys out. One mission was especially harrowing.
"The other day we had a mission. Halfway through we changed our route. After it was over we found out from intel that there were 30 enemy soldiers set up to ambush us on our old route. Guess we got lucky," he wrote.
Not every day is a challenge. Scott wrote that his group just installed air conditioning in their tents, and they also have access to phones and the Internet.
"The food isn't the greatest, but I've eaten worse," he wrote.
Scott and his comrades also throw candy to the children on the streets. He wrote that he used to talk to a couple of them while he was on guard. He named them Johnny Knox and Tony Hawk.
Scott's father, David Noe of Hondah, Ariz., tries to make things easier for his son by sending packages. So far he has sent trail mix, beef jerky, dental floss, Carmex, vitamins and the "Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition."
"He's a career soldier. That is his life," Noe said. "I'm proud of him. Proud there are kids out there like Scott, doing this for the rest of us."
Noe said he doesn't resent having to see his son go to Afghanistan.
"He wants to fight. I would resent it if he didn't want to," he said.
When Scott returns, he and his dad will spend some time together before he goes to his next job -- training with the Special Forces.
While his dad shows worry in his eyes, Scott's words seem to show no fear.
"Now I stand ready to face the enemies of my country and defeat them on the field of battle," he wrote. "I am now a veteran. I will always know I served my country the greatest way possible -- on the front lines with a rifle in hand, fighting shoulder-to-shoulder next to the finest Americans I'm proud to serve with."