BALTIMORE (WJZ)—The heat is intense, but imagine dealing with temperatures like 114 degrees while serving in Iraq.  

Mary Bubala reports troops from the Maryland National Guard will be some of the last to serve there, including one soldier who is best known for his take on local sports here.

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Mark Zinno, of WJZ-FM 105.7 The Fan, talked with Don Scott and Marty Bass Wednesday from a war zone. He’s there serving a second tour of duty with the Maryland National Guard.

“I am just proud to be a part of it, grateful that I have the opportunity to be part of the team that closes this chapter in American history,” Zinno said.

Major Zinno is among the thousands of U.S. troops now serving in non-combat roles. He’ll return this fall– with all troops out by Dec. 31.

His radio fans keep tabs on him through Facebook, where he often writes about his experiences, including the danger troops still face.

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“They all play a key role in team success, much like a football team or a baseball team,” Zinno said. “Everybody’s got their job to do, and this is what our job is now. But again we are all susceptible to the same dangers. This is still not a place you want to buy a summer home, and there is a specific reason for that. It’s still pretty dangerous here.”

Zinno is in charge of public affairs and deals with the media like Katie Couric. But what he’s most passionate about is Operation Proper Exit, a program that helps wounded warriors. And if the video that Zinno posted on YouTube gets a million hits, he’ll donate $1,000 to the cause.

“I guarantee you when you watch it, it will tug at your heartstrings and it should,” he said. “These people are a testament to what being an American is all about.  They are all about second chances and feeling grateful for still being alive.”

Click here to watch Zinno’s YouTube video.

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Watch This Web Extra Interview With Major Zinno: