A Memorial Day Salute

Monday, May 25, 2009


AP Photo/David Guttenfelder

It may not be "Raising the Flag at Iwo Jima", but the picture above by David Guttenfelder makes an interesting addition to the history of war photographs - a genre we would of course be happy there were no more need for. Nevertheless it's a good picture of a real and courageous moment, so kudos to the photographer, who was embedded with the battalion.

Pictured here, soldiers from the U.S. Army First Battalion, 26th Infantry take defensive positions after receiving fire from Taliban snipers in the Korengal Valley of Afghanistan. Spc. Zachery Boyd was woken up by the gunfire and rushed from his bed to join his fellow platoon members without stopping to pull pants on over his "I ♥ NY" boxers.

As the picture made its way on to front pages around the U.S., Boyd was at first concerned he would be disciplined for being out of battle dress, but even Defense Secretary Robert Gates was moved to commend his courage. "The next time I visit Afghanistan, I want to meet Specialist Boyd and shake his hand." said Gates. "Any soldier who goes into battle against the Taliban in pink boxers and flip-flops has a special kind of courage!"

The soldiers next to Boyd are Spcs. Cecil Montgomery of Louisiana and Jordan Custer of Spokane, Wash. Spc. Custer is also out of battle dress with no socks and silver running shoes.

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