Wednesday, June 12, 2013


"U.S. Army soldiers carry the flag-draped transfer case containing the remains of U.S. Army Spc. Robert A. Pierce during a dignified transfer at Dover Air Force Base, on June 6, 2013 in Dover, Delaware. According to reports, Pierce, who was from Panama, Okla., assigned to the 1st Battalion, 506th Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division, in Fort Campbell, Ky., was killed by a suicide vehicle-borne improvised explosive device while supporting Operation Enduring Freedom - Afghanistan."

Last week I was back at Dover Air Force Base covering a pair of dignified transfers.

While these transfers are an incredible honor to document, it's not an assignment I think any photographers look forward to. Documenting a dark day in anyone's life is never fun for a photojournalist, but it's important that we do so.

It usually isn't until I am driving up the highway that I reflect on what I had the honor to document. The opportunity to photograph fallen heroes will never fall by the wayside.

During this trip to Dover, as I always do, I asked the public relations team what type of aircraft the fallen will be transferred from. This allows me to properly prepare on what type of gear to bring out onto the runway. As in the past, the aircraft was a rear-loading Boeing C-17.

Familiar with the procedure, I decided to stick more to my wide angle in an attempt to document the dignified transfer as if someone were standing their witnessing it themselves. That resulted in the layered moment above which I think brings a sense of place to the assignment.

As always, thank you to the families for allowing the media to cover a somber day, so that others in the world can understand what is happening in conflict zones.


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