U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Mark Fayloga

In early January 2010, a squad of Marines from Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 6th Marines, got pinned down in a gully under fire from Taliban fighters holed up in an adobe farm compound on the outskirts of Marjah, Afghanistan. It was the beginning of Operation Moshtarak, the attempt to wrest the town from the Taliban’s grip.

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U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jason T. Bailey

In February 2010, among Helmand province’s perpetually hot and arid wadis and fields, 22-year-old Nick Rudolph, a Marine infantryman with 1st Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, was in the middle of a deadly gunfight in Marjah, Afghanistan.

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