The Irrelevant Ones: From Brazil to Baghdad


It was April 28th, 2003.

The teacher-turned-soldier sat in a schoolhouse in Fallujah, Iraq. He shook his head at the inconceivability of it all.

“How ironic,” he thought, “I’m a teacher, and here I am sitting in a school in Fallujah watching my buddies get hurt, and on my birthday, too.”

And, in an odd twist, April 28th was also Saddam Hussein’s birthday.

Far from his loved ones, Brazilian immigrant Túlio Tourinho was holed up in an Iraqi schoolhouse, advancing with the first infantry unit to cross the border into Iraq.

Like so many others, he spent those many months of deployment watching his first child’s first year unfold in precious snapshots.

Túlio was about a million miles away from anything he could have imagined. And yet it was exactly where he knew he needed to be.


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