Inside the medevac helicopter in Afghanistan, U.S. Marine Cpl. Burness Britt bleeds profusely from his neck. He and two other Marines have just been hit by shrapnel, with Britt's injuries the most serious. The medevac crew chief clutches one of Britt's blood-covered hands as he is given oxygen. I take hold of the other.
In my 20 years as a photographer, covering conflicts from Bosnia to Gaza to Iraq to Afghanistan, injured civilians and soldiers have passed through my life many times. None has left a greater impression on me than Britt.
When we finally met Dec. 13 at the hospital, I saw him in the distance. He walked with difficulty, trying to control his right arm and leg. He was wearing a plastic helmet to protect his head where part of the skull had been removed. His brain had swollen to nearly twice its size because of his injuries and doctors had to open the skull to relieve the pressure.
His helmet had a camouflage cover on it emblazoned with the 3rd Marine Division emblem on its side.
He had just started to regain his speech, working his way back from months of "thumbs up, thumbs down conversation," says his 22-year-old wife, Jessica.
He will undergo more surgeries next year to rebuild his skull.
I'm glad Cpl. Britt is on the mend and don't mind even a bit helping pay the tab for, quite literally, his "million dollar wound".
We better not let Repugs get in power. They know military funerals are a lot cheaper and they love to see the flag draped over a coffin a lot more than they like to see Disabled American Veterans, the leeches who take money for care that the Repugs would rather have in their pockets.