Trace Adkins' first visit to Iraq last September gave him a lasting impression, to say the least.

"It's an absolutely miserable place," says the country star. "The closest thing we can assimilate to it would be like being stationed in Death Valley for a year ... It's an inhospitable place; human beings are not supposed to be there. If that part of the world didn't have oil, nobody would even talk to them. There's no reason to go into those areas as far as I can see."

Adkins did have good reason to be there last year, as he is a staunch supporter of our military. The Louisiana native performed before 10,000 soldiers on his 10-day tour of Iraq and Afghanistan. He lived with the troops and experienced what they go through every day, including a bomb hitting close to where he was sleeping one night.

Being amongst the troops gave Adkins insight as to the mindset of the men and women who put their lives on the line every day. He says he came to realize that they view things in a different way.

"I saw what impact the level of danger and violence has on them, as opposed to what it seems to have on us and people in the media here," he says, citing the car bomb incident in Mosul, Iraq as an example. "That car bomb went off about 200 yards from where I was sleeping and nobody even woke me up. It went off literally outside the wall at the camp, but the place didn't go on high alert and nobody freaked out. When I woke up, the guys in my band were wigging, like, 'Dude you ain't gonna believe what happened!' I was talking to some of the officers there that were burdened with chaperoning us, and they were like, 'Oh yeah, there was a car bomb. Are ya'll ready to do your show?' It's not that big a deal to them."

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