As we approach the New Year, it is customary for individuals, organizations and of course the media to take a look at the “old year.”
The American Forces Press Service is doing exactly that.
In its “The Year in Photos 2012″ the Press Service offers the best photographs taken in 2012 by U.S. military photographers: Photos “of troops as they conduct operations around the world, compete in athletic events such as the Olympics, and reunite with their families.”
As we have followed our men and women of the U.S. military on these pages throughout the year, at play and at war, in sports and during humanitarian missions, some of these images may have appeared before.
I apologize for that, but otherwise enjoy them and please join me in wishing our troops and their families a good New Year and, most important, a safe return home.
(All the photos and captions are courtesy of the Department of Defense and will be published in two or three parts)
An Afghan soldier directs fellow soldiers during a firefight near Combat Outpost Giro while a U.S. Army paratrooper fires on insurgent positions in Afghanistan’s Ghazni province, May 17, 2012. U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Michael J. MacLeod
Wounded warriors practice track events at the first Wounded Warrior Pacific Trials on Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, Nov. 14, 2012. Wounded, ill and injured sailors and Coast Guard personnel from across the country are competing for one of 35 places on the 2013 Warrior Games Navy-Coast Guard team. U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Jon Dasbach
A South Dakota Army National Guard UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter drops 600 gallons of water on a fire in Rapid City, South Dakota, March 9, 2012. The helicopter crew is assigned to the Army National Guard Aviation Support Facility. U.S. Army photo by Master Sgt. Don Matthews
A UH-60 Black Hawk medical evacuation helicopter lands as U.S. Army paratroopers secure the area in Afghanistan’s Ghazni province, July 23, 2012. The soldiers are assigned to the 82nd Airborne Division’s 1st Brigade Combat Team and the helicopter crew is assigned to the 82nd Combat Aviation Brigade. The soldiers evacuated a wounded insurgent. U.S. Army photo by Capt. Thomas Cieslak
Air Force Master Sgt. Dean B. Burlew hugs his children after returning to Egg Harbor Township, N.J., April 18, 2012, following a six-month deployment to support Operation Enduring Freedom. Burlew is assigned to sustainment services, 177th Fighter Wing, New Jersey Air National Guard. Family, friends and unit members welcomed home nine airmen from the unit. U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Mark Olsen
U.S. Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Jason Querido directs aircraft onto the waist catapults to prepare for launch from the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson under way in the Arabian Gulf, Feb. 22, 2012. Querido is an aviation boatswain’s mate. U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class James R. Evans
U.S. sailors jump off an aircraft elevator during a swim call aboard the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson in the Arabian Sea, March 23, 2012. The Carl Vinson and Carrier Air Wing 17 are deployed to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility. U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class James R. Evans
A military mom gets a hug during a Joining Forces Mother’s Day event for military families hosted by First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden, wife of Vice President Joe Biden, at the White House in Washington, D.C., May 10, 2012. DOD photo by Linda Hosek
U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Jonathan Hill, left, directs villagers to his Mi-17 helicopter in Shewa village in Afghanistan’s Badakhshan province, Jan. 24, 2012. Hill is an Mi-17 helicopter engineer assigned to the 438th Air Expeditionary Advisory Squadron. U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Shane A. Cuomo
Marines and sailors assigned to the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit step off a landing craft utility vehicle onto the shore of Breezy Point, a small coastal community in New York, Nov. 9, 2012. They and troops from other units partnered with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the National Guard to help the residents of New York City in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. U.S. Marine Corps photo.
U.S. Army Sgt. Adam Serella bonds with his military working dog, Nero, as children look on during Operation Clean Sweep in Kandahar City in Afghanistan’s Kandahar province, Oct. 3, 2012. Serella, a narcotics patrol detector dog handler, is assigned to the 3rd Infantry Division. U.S. Army photo by Spc. Tyler Meiste
A shy Afghan boy shakes hands with a U.S. paratrooper on patrol along Highway 1 in Afghanistan’s Ghazni province, April 20, 2012. Highway 1 is the country’s main thoroughfare between Kabul to the north and Kandahar to the south. U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Michael J. MacLeod
Top Photo: U.S. Air Force 1st Lt. Drew Parks communicates with a U.S. Navy F/A-18 Super Hornet crew during Operation Spartan Shield in Southwest Asia, Sept. 11, 2012. U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jonathan Snyder