But, observes Dave Price, that isn't all they need to get through each day.
The Early Show weatherman and features reporter just got back from a five day trip to Iraq and Kuwait, where he, along with the Charlie Daniels Band.
Nearly every soldier and Marine in Iraq carries something personal with him or her at all times, as good luck charms, Price reports.
"We call them warriors," he remarked. "But they're the sons, Brothers, dads, mothers, sisters and friends we miss. And. as they dress each day for battles they pray they never see, most carry a little piece of us with them."
"This is my baby," one soldier remarked to Price, pointing to a picture in her wallet. "This is my son. This is my good luck charm."
Another said, "I always carry this with me. It's a picture of my little sister. It goes with me every time I go out on a mission."
Tucked into pockets and hidden in body armor, photos are by far the most common reminders of home, Price notes.
"It's with me everywhere I go," one troop said of a snapshot of her children.
"She keeps me safe," said another, of a photo of a woman about his age. "She's my good luck charm and I know, as along as I have something of hers right by me, nothing bad will happen to me."
"I got a lot of pictures," said one soldier, "but this is the first one my wife sent me of my daughter smiling."
"This is Cassidy," said a soldier and mother of a photo. "She's my 6-year-old daughter."
One GI was glad Price asked what he carries around, because it reminded him that he'd left his good luck charm, his dog tags, with a picture of his daughter on them, in his room. And he insisted he wouldn't leave before getting them, saying, "Damn right."
For some soldiers, Price says, there are more tangible reminders of the life they left behind.