U.S. Marines wait for the beginning of the dedication ceremony of the National Museum of the Marine Corps in November 2006 in Quantico, Va. For more than 200 years, the Marine Corps has been hitting the beaches. But over the past decade, the Marines have operated like a smaller Army in Iraq and Afghanistan, far from the water's edge. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Haji Lala, a tribal leader in Sangeray, looks on as a U.S.-Afghan joint patrol enters the village looking for teenagers believed responsible for throwing grenades at coalition patrols. David Gilkey/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption David Gilkey/NPR

Capt. Dan Luckett wades through a creek while patrolling earlier this month in Afghanistan's Kandahar province. He lost his left leg and part of his right foot to a roadside bomb in Iraq two years ago. Spc. Joe Padula/U.S. Army hide caption

itoggle caption Spc. Joe Padula/U.S. Army

An Afghan national police officer (left) searches a man while Karim Jan (right) holds his arms. Jan is the district governor and a trusted ally of the U.S. forces. The counterinsurgency strategy relies heavily on local police and leaders, who live in the community, are closest to the people and should be able to spot insurgents. David Gilkey/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption David Gilkey/NPR

Afghan national police and U.S. soldiers on a joint patrol in a neighborhood on the outskirts of Kandahar city. The U.S. strategy in Afghanistan depends on training and equipping the Afghan security forces, making them self-reliant and allowing U.S. troops to withdraw. David Gilkey/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption David Gilkey/NPR

Afghan police and U.S. Army soldiers jointly patrol the outskirts of Kandahar city as a boy pushes another boy in a wheelbarrow. The U.S. effort in Kandahar province faces a key challenge: Security is needed to enable local government to flourish, but without a local government in place, security is difficult to establish. David Gilkey/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption David Gilkey/NPR