Losing them, fixing them, forgetting to put them in
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Elliott D. Woods is a veteran of the war in Iraq and has been covering Afghanistan as a photographer and writer since 2009. His long-term project, Assignment Afghanistan, won a National Magazine Award, and his work has been featured in Mother Jones, Granta, Time, and The Virginia Quarterly Review, where he is a contributing editor. He lives in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Four months into their seven-month tour, the mostly nineteen- and twenty-year-old marines at Patrol Base Fires in Sangin, Afghanistan, had seen enough violence to permanently line their boyish faces. Two of their platoon’s men had been killed by improvised explosive devices [IEDs], one of them blown literally in two.