Capt. Jared Larpenteur plans a combat mission at the 82nd Airborne's Delta Company command center in Ghazni province, Afghanistan, earlier this year. Amy Walters/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Amy Walters/NPR

Darryl St. George, a Navy corpsman with Weapons Company of the 2nd Battalion, 8th Marines out of Camp Lejeune, N.C., reads a book as the sun rises over a temporary base nicknamed "Patrol Base Suc" in Helmand province, southern Afghanistan. David Gilkey/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption David Gilkey/NPR

A Marine walks along a mud wall while conducting a search and clearing operation in Afghanistan's Helmand province, as the dust from a wheat thrashing machine falls like snow. David Gilkey/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption David Gilkey/NPR

Marine Lance Cpl. Andrew Zemore, 23, from Fredericksburg, Va., is a self-described troublemaker who liked to party too much. Zemore said he fell into the Marine Corps and now is on a Explosives Ordinance Disposal team, searching out bombs with a hand-held metal detector. David Gilkey/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption David Gilkey/NPR