When 1st Lt. Eric "Moose" Petrevich sent me this photo (top image) from his deployment in Iraq, I was blown away – not just because I noticed the Tools cover on the workbench next to his slider, but because I read in the accompanying letter about how he and his fellow soldiers use their workshop to build their own weapons racks and body-armor stands to make life a little easier "in the big sandbox," as he calls it. And I loved hearing about how soldiers in his unit fight over each copy of Tools that Lt. Petrevich receives. Hoo-ah, Lieutenant – I'll send extras next time.

We're all used to seeing images from Iraq and Afghanistan of our troops on patrol, searching for bad guys in very bad places. But everyone on deployment, no matter what they're doing, is at risk. And a lot of what goes on involves tools. Lt. Petrevich makes his weapons racks in between patrols – now in Afghanistan – sidearm strapped to his thigh. Combat engineers in both areas of operation build, repair, and replace the buildings and infrastructure that support every mission, like the Seabees' 30th Naval Construction Regiment pictured at right at Kandahar Airfield in southern Afghanistan, preparing for the troop surge that began earlier this year.

We at Tools of the Trade honor these brave men and women and wish them safety, success, and a swift return home. And the next time those of us here in the States pull out our tools, we'll think of these ToolHounds using the same tools – under much different conditions. (Check out www.helmetstohardhats.org and see if you can help out when they get home.)

– Rick Schwolsky