'America's Battalion' In Afghanistan The Marines of the 2nd Battalion, 8th Regiment — known as "America's Battalion" — were deployed in Afghanistan from May to November 2009 as part of a surge of 21,000 troops ordered up by President Obama early in his term. NPR followed the Marines, and their families, during the deployment.
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'America's Battalion' In Afghanistan

The Marines of the 2nd Battalion, 8th Regiment, operated mainly in Helmand province.

Lance Cpl. Josh Apsey (second from left) takes a minute for one last photo with his wife, Carolyn (second from right), and parents, Vicki and Tom, before heading back to Afghanistan. Courtesy of the family hide caption

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Courtesy of the family

Marine Sgt. Maj. Robert Breeden, at Camp Leatherneck in Afghanistan on June 12, 2009. Breeden is now home from Afghanistan and trying to stay busy. David Gilkey/NPR hide caption

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David Gilkey/NPR

Lt. James Wende (right) with Fox Company, 2nd Battalion, 8th Regiment, keeps a watchful eye on his Marines while on patrol in Helmand province in southern Afghanistan. David Gilkey/NPR hide caption

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David Gilkey/NPR

Lt. James Wende, pictured on patrol in Helmand province, says he feels like a senior looking at the freshman class as he concludes his deployment in Afghanistan and hands over the territory to newly arrived Marines. David Gilkey/NPR hide caption

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David Gilkey/NPR

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

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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

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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

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David Gilkey/NPR