Marines from an explosive ordnance disposal team detonate a homemade explosive device, which was discovered near a compound outside of their base. David Gilkey/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption David Gilkey/NPR

Vicki and Tom Apsey speak to their son, Marine Lance Cpl. Josh Apsey, who is serving in southern Afghanistan. Catherine Welch for NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Catherine Welch for NPR

First Sgt. Derrick Mays stands beneath the company colors outside of a tent at Camp Leatherneck in June. An 18-year Marine Corps veteran, Mays says his wife, Marcia, has a way of tolerating the long deployments. David Gilkey/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption David Gilkey/NPR