Reuters photographer Finbarr O’Reilly recently spent a month with the U.S. First Battalion Eighth Marines in southern Afghanistan’s Helmand province. While embedded at the remote Outpost Kunjak with the unit’s Third Platoon’s, Fourth Squad, O’Reilly documented camp life, patrols and combat operations, including one battle that saw four squad members suffer concussions from grenade explosions, including squad leader Sgt. Thomas James Brennan. This is Sgt. Brennan’s personal account of that day, and his reflections on what it is like living and fighting on the front lines of Afghanistan’s war.
It was one early March morning in 2007 while on my way to shoot an assignment in the Portuguese Language Museum that I found myself amidst a mass of people consuming crack in the heart of Sao Paulo. I had stumbled onto Cracolândia, or Crackland, and the party was one of the living dead. I was overwhelmed by the sheer number of people openly consuming the drug at such an early hour, oblivious to the flow of pedestrians heading to work in this megalopolis.