Re-visiting Afghanistan

Last week, The Washington Post ran a story entitled “Glimpses of War” written by Greg Jaffe. The piece examined how disconnected Americans are from the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. I sat in bed with my husband and opened the paper to see pictures I shot almost two years ago for The Washington Times.

I knew this was coming as I had received an email from both Greg Jaffe and one of the soldiers in the story, First Lt. Mark Wise. Wise wrote, “I am a subject in some of your photos”. I now had a name to go with pictures I had shot in 2009 in Afghanistan.

I was aboard a Blackhawk medevac helicopter with US Air Force Pararescuemen or “PJs”, (Para-jumpers) of the 55th Expeditionary Rescue Squadron flying near Kandahar, Afghanistan when we picked up Lt. Wise. He was badly wounded from a mine blast that had killed his radioman Pfc. Devin Michel.

I was deeply impressed not only with the courage displayed by the crew as they flew through enemy fire and hovered the helicopter in a “hot” landing zone as soldiers loaded Lt. Wise aboard, but also with the tenderness and compassion that I witnessed, as Staff Sgt. Joshua Keyes, 30, Alturas, Calif. administered emergency medical care to Lt. Wise.

If anyone had a right to leave the war behind him it was Lt. Wise. Instead, as a student at Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business, he joined the McDonough Military Association and participated in the second annual “Free Beer and War Stories” night, showing the pictures I shot of his rescue and talking about his experiences fighting in Afghanistan.

I am very happy that he is doing so well and I look forward to meeting him in the near future.


Posted on Wednesday, September 14th, 2011 under Blog. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

2 responses to “Re-visiting Afghanistan”

  1. Aaron Weaver says:

    Hello ma’am my name is Aaron Weaver. I was there this day as well. This day was the day my best friend was killed. An a great leader was wounded. I was the first person to get to Lt. Wise an also had found Devins remains. I’m the one who in one of your pictures was yelling at you. I yelled at you at the time due to all the variables of that day. But look back and understand why you were there to document our story to tell the story of how my brothers were wounded an killed. I would like to thank you.

  2. Aaron Weaver says:

    I will forever remember this day as my brothers an I fought and fought to not just defeat enemy fighters that day but to save our Platoon Leaders life. It was a rough day in particular as Devin was one of my best friends, an that is why I too am in these photos. I am the one yelling at miss Calvert for taking pictures of our fallen and wounded but now am thankful as she helped tell our story.

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