Christopher Jones served as a machine gunner in 3rd Battalion 9th Marine Regiment from 2010 to 2014. He deployed to Helmand province twice, once in 2010 and again in 2013. He is currently a student at Columbia University pursuing a degree in nonfiction creative writing while working as a freelance photojournalist.
Rahmatullah says he was a farmer who fled his hometown of Sangin, in Afghanistan’s restive Helmand Province, after U.S. Marines began combat operations there in 2010. “For seven days we were stuck in our home, with the Taliban on one side and the Americans on the other,” he told me, wiping tears from his eyes. “Then a bomb landed on our house, killing my mother and son.”
I visited New York City’s VA Medical Center for the first time three years ago. I’d been a veteran for all of five months, and had only lived in the city for a week or so before I received an email from the VA instructing me to check in with my new primary care provider and to see someone for my freshly diagnosed PTSD.
U.S. Marine Corps photo by Photo by Lance Cpl. Tommy Bellegarde
Last year, thousands of Iraq combat veterans watched the country they'd fought in fall to ISIS. Days ago, a dusty city named Marjah made headlines after a Special Forces soldier was killed there. The same dusty goat trails and wadis I walked through for two years scrolled up the screen as I read of yet another American killed in a city American contractors built in the 1950s.