I have been spending the past few days editing a video for a Joint military exercise called Global Medic (formerly called "Golden Medic") The exercise helps Army field medical personnel learn casualty evacuation procedures and familiarizes them with the Air Force's role in that realm. Many of the participants and trainers have been deployed to OIF, OEF, and a host of humanitarian missions. They have seen death in all shape and form.
One of our photographers saw the patch on a flight helmet and he grabbed the shot. I saw the image when I was reviewing everyone's footage and it stopped me cold. It was funny, heartbreaking and inspiring at the same time.
The day I saw this picture I learned that the husband of my college roomie and dear friend, Julie, was diagnosed with ALS. He is a Marine. He ran 5 miles before he had the blood work done. Their lives changed in an instant. Julie survived cancer when we were fresh out of college. She got better and stronger and had 2 beautiful children with Tim. And now...this.
I glanced from that email to this photograph and saw summed up in just a few words what all of humanity, and especially deployed military, are feeling when death is finally perceived as inevitable: Fear. What I found inspiring about this photo is how we in the military are taught, in a way, to rapidly distill all of those emotions, acknowledge the fear, the inevitable, and keep moving. You learn early that when you say, "I'm tired" you have to instantly think, "We're all tired, damn it. Keep moving. Stop screaming! I'm scared, too!" The knowledge that you are not alone is crucial to your survival.
I think Tim will appreciate this photo.
This most excellent picture was taken by SMSgt Dennis Martin of the most excellent 4th Combat Camera Squadron, which is a group of most excellent people.