One of the photographers wrote that the images are “an opportunity to open a dialogue about issues we are not necessarily comfortable with… and also issues that we are responsible for.”
A soldier may finish a tour overseas, but the war they witnessed first-hand will never truly fade. Such is a cold reality few understand. Photographers David Jay and James Nachtwey do, however, which is why they have been documenting young and badly wounded American soldiers following their return home from wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
“I have been a witness, and these pictures are my testimony. The events I have recorded should not be forgotten and must not be repeated,” wrote Nachtwey. Jay added that the images are “an opportunity to open a dialogue about issues we are not necessarily comfortable with… and also issues that we are responsible for.” He wrote,
“The images can be uncomfortable for the viewer. It forces us to confront our fears and inhibitions about life, death, sexuality, sickness, relationships, etc. Reality is not always pretty. This is reality. Let’s address it.”
#1 Bobby Henline
Bobby Henline was trapped inside a transport when he was hit by a roadside bomb in Iraq. He was the only survivor.
#2 Nicholas John Vogt
On November 12, 2011, Army first lieutenant Nicholas was severely injured by an IED while on a foot patrol in Panjwaii, Afghanistan. After asking Nicholas for his permission to post these images, this was his response: “The only thing that I want to pass on is this: Losing limbs is like losing a good friend. We wish we could still be with them, but it wasn’t ‘in the cards’. Then we get up, remember the good times, and thank God for whatever we have left. “
#3 Jerral Hancock
Jerral Hancock was driving a tank in Iraq. A roadside bomb pierced the armor, breaching the interior. Jarral lives in Lancaster with his two, beautiful children.
#4 Tomas Young
Tomas Young enlisted in the army two days after the 2001 September 11th attacks. Five days after being sent to Iraq, he was shot in the spine while riding in an unarmored vehicle in Sadr City, leaving him paralyzed. He died in 2014 (about a year and a half after this photo was taken) due to complications from his injuries.
#5 Jason Pak
First Lieutenant Jason Pak On Dec. 13, 2012 was on a foot patrol in Zangabad, Afghanistan when an IED exploded. The blast took Jason’s legs (and part of his hand) but it could not take his spirit.
#6 Bobby Bernier
Bobby was hit by incoming artillery, sustaining burns over 60% of his body. He is pictured here with his daughter Layla
#7 Cedric King
Cedric King lost both of his legs to an IED in Afghanistan. His daughters talked him into trying swimming, and from there he finished the 2014 Boston Marathon in just over six hours; completed a Half Ironman race, and the New York City marathon. He is also a motivational speaker.
#8 Spc. Marissa Strock
Marissa Strock was injured when her vehicle was struck by an IED buried in the road. She was 20 years old.