Photo by Patrick A. Albright

When Staff Sgt. Jeffery Dawson joined an assault force to kill or capture a high-value Taliban leader in Kandahar, Afghanistan, he thought the mission would be quick and easy.

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Photo by David Stanley

This month, the United Nations Commission of Inquiry on Human Rights in Eritrea released a 500-page report detailing “systematic, widespread and gross” human rights violations that have spurred hundreds of thousands of people to flee the totalitarian East African country.

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AP Photo/Joe Cavaretta

The March 23, 2003, ambush of 507th Maintenance Company in Nasiriyah, Iraq, was both a military and public relations disaster. Of 31 soldiers who made a wrong turn into the city during the chaos of the invasion, accompanied by two soldiers belonging to the Army’s 3rd Forward Support Battalion, 11 were killed, seven captured, and nine wounded, according to the U.S. Army’s official report of the ambush. Pfc. Jessica Lynch, initially hailed as a hero by the Bush administration and the news media, testified before Congress that she lost consciousness early in the attack and never actually fired a shot.

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Photo via U.S. Army

Spc. Dennis Weichel, Jr., 29, was less than a month into his March 2012 deployment to Afghanistan when he and other members of his unit noticed multiple Afghan children were running into the path of their convoy, according to an Army news release. They dismounted to direct the children to safety, as hulking MRAPs barrelled down on them.

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Photo by Staff Sgt. Sharon Singer

Amid the celebratory mood of the Coast Guard Academy’s commencement ceremony May 20, President Obama told cadets in his keynote speech that they hold a special distinction in America’s maritime history — one that means new dangers and responsibilities.

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