Memorial Day: Of Saints and Soldiers
In August, the 143rd month of the conflict, 53 coalition forces based in Afghanistan were killed -- the most in a single month since last September. Of these, five were from New Zealand, five from Australia, three from the UK, one from France, and the rest from the United States -- 50 men and 3 women ranging in age from 20 to 55. Collected below are images from the many ceremonies honoring the return of these 53 fallen soldiers. While the photographs may bear some similarities, keep in mind that each one represents a separate individual life lost in Afghanistan just last month.
Could it be that we have lost the true cost of war as we mourn its dead ~ could it be that flowers and flags can never justify the inhumanity of war ~ could it be that all wars are lost because there are no true winners and lastly why are we continuing to justify our current illegal occupations by falsely calling them wars. In wartime, everything is done to subvert the force of love but in the end ~ only love prevails:
Make no mistake. America is directly or indirectly responsible for most world conflicts. Across North Africa, the Middle East, and Central Asia, it plays the lead role.
Afghanistan has been occupied for nearly 11 years. US air and ground attacks murder civilians daily. Pre-2003 Iraq no longer exists. America destroyed the cradle of civilization.
People are massacred in cold blood. Propagandists call it humanitarian intervention. War is peace. Orwell warned us long ago.
Only imperial dominance matters. Hegemons accept nothing less. Human lives are of no consequence. It’s been that way since America’s beginning. It’s ongoing today with WMD ease.
Plans were readied months ago for ground and air attacks on Syria. Proxy war is prelude to full-scale conflict. Libya 2.0 looms. Media propaganda plays the lead role. Public opinion is being massaged, softened, and manipulated to accept more bloodshed.
It never ends. One war segues to another. After Syria comes Iran. How many more millions will die? How much more human suffering is enough? How much are media scoundrels paid to support what they should condemn?
People have a right to know. They pay for it multiple ways. Their tax dollars go for killing and mass destruction, not vital domestic services. They’re increasingly on their own to fund America’s war machine. Police state harshness targets dissenters.
Bipartisan complicity threw them under the bus long ago. Imagine what’s coming post-election. Both parties are committed to endless wars without mercy. Revolutionary resistance is the only way to stop them. Hardly a sign of it exists.
Drumbeat warmongering drowns out activists needing much greater support to matter. Western media managed news misreports on nations Washington targets.
Their hands are as blood drenched as imperial planners. They’re virtual subcontractors. They’re complicit in mass murder and destruction. They risk letting the entire Middle East explode.
They ignore fundamental international law principles. They support foreign wars and ones at home against freedom. They’re for wealth and power interests only. Destroying Syria and Iran get top billing.
The Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) features a “Crisis Guide: Iran.” Lies substitute for truth. A nonbelligerent nation is maliciously maligned. “(T)he Islamic Republic….threaten(s) the region’s balance of power,” claims CFR. No proof whatever suggests it.
“Iran’s support for militant groups, combined with its pursuit of a nuclear program, has aggravated relations with countries in the region and the West.”
CFR and other imperial supporters build their case for war on a foundation of lies and suppressed truth.
Iran’s support for Hamas and Hezbollah are “tools to project influence (and create) hostility (with) Israel” and America’s regional allies. Its nuclear program “generate(s) concern among experts.”
Options CFR endorses include sanctions, covert action, and preventive strikes. Diplomacy is mentioned but gets short shrift.
CFR’s Robert Danin says “Lebanon Erupts, Syria Boils….” Let’s have another war and cool things down.
Foreign Policy (FP) contributor Gary Gambill headlines “Two Cheers for Syrian Islamists.” Jeffersonians they’re not but who cares. It’s reminiscent of Franklin Roosevelt’s remark about Nicaragua’s Anastasio Somoza, saying:
He “may be a son of a bitch, but he’s our son of a bitch.”
Gambill calls Islamic militants vital for US interests. They’re willing proxies. They’re battle hardened. They’re better fighters than secular counterparts. They willingly perform suicide bombings.
They’re “strategically preferable” to Assad. How they terrorize Syrian civilians doesn’t matter. Establishing another regional puppet state is all that counts.
They’re needed to defeat Iran. The Islamic Republic “constitutes a far greater and more immediate threat to US national interests.”
“So long as….jihadis are committed to fighting (as US proxies), we should quietly root for them….”
Weeks ago, hawkish American Enterprise Institute’s Danielle Pletka urged more direct US help for Syria, saying:
“Washington must stop subcontracting Syria policy to the Turks, Saudis and Qataris.” It’s time for direct involvement.
On August 31, Foreign Policy (FP) contributor James Traub headlined “The Time for Action,” saying:
More active US intervention is needed to oust Assad. The “moral case” for doing so is “incontrovertible.” A no-fly zone “could turn the tide.” So might safe havens.
If America “wants the rebels to win, then it should be doing everything it can to help them….to (stay) on the right side of history.”
Traub wants America off the sidelines and on the field. Delaying until post-election is “consummate cynicism. (Obama) should act now, before it’s too late.”
The latest Washington Post pro-war screed headlines “The UN’s unworkable plan for Syria,” saying:
Peace and diplomatic initiatives accomplished nothing. New ones won’t do any better. They give Assad “time and cover….The regime has no intention of capitulating….bloodshed will continue and probably worsen.”
“The fighting in Syria will end only when (Assad) is forced to stop – or he succeeds in killing his way to victory.”
Comments like these endorse direct intervention. The Post itches for more war. It inverts truth as justification. It blamed victims since last year. It ignores US-sponsored death squad invaders. It calls self-defense wanton killing.
It suppressed information about NAM countries declaring support for Syrian sovereignty and opposition to Western hegemony. They condemned unilateral US sanctions. They violate UN Charter provisions and other international law principles.
They oppose any form of outside interference into the internal affairs of other nations. Doing so is blatantly illegal. International law is clear and unequivocal.
They’re against Western forced no-fly zones or safe havens in Syrian territory. In mid-August, Law Professor Francis Boyle emailed this writer saying:
“Without authorization by the United Nations Security Council and express authorization from the US Congress pursuant to the terms of the War Powers Resolution, for President Obama to establish any type of so-called ‘no-fly zone’ over Syria would be illegal, unconstitutional, and impeachable.”
The same goes for safe havens in Syrian territory. They constitute ground-based no fly zones. Either or both assure war. Libya’s experience proved what’s incontrovertible.
With or without them, Obama plans intervention. So does Romney if elected. His web site calls Assad “an unscrupulous dictator, a killer, and a proxy for Iran.” He urges “redoubl(ing)” US efforts to oust him. He means whatever it takes including war.
The business of America is war. Profiteers demand it. Permanent ones are waged on their behalf and to further US global dominance.
Peace in our time is illusory. It’s bad for business and imperial Washington’s interests. Expect permanent wars without end. Homeland police state crackdowns will accompany them.
Lance Cpl. Greg Buckley Jr.'s father Greg, center, is escorted from St. Agnes Cathedral after his funeral Mass,on August 18, 2012 in Rockville Center, New York. Buckley Jr. was barely 21 years old when he was killed in an attack by a policeman in Afghanistan. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer) #
New Zealand soldiers pay their respect during a ramp ceremony for Corporal Luke Tamatea, Lance Corporal Jacinda Baker and Private Richard Harris at Bagram Air Base on August 21, 2012 in Bagram, Afghanistan. The three New Zealand soldiers were killed in Afghanistan on August 19 after their vehicle was hit by a roadside bomb. (New Zealand Defence Force via Getty Images) #
Family members of Corporal Luke Tamatea pay their respect during a combined memorial service for fallen soldiers Corporal Luke Tamatea, Lance Corporal Jacinda Baker and Private Richard Harris at Burnham Military Camp in Christchurch, New Zealand, on August 25, 2012. The three fallen New Zealand soldiers were fatally wounded in action on August 4, 2012, in the Bayman Province in Afghanistan. (Martin Hunter/Getty Images) #
Army pallbearers carry the coffin of Private Richard Harris at a Military ramp ceremony held for Corporal Luke Tamatea, Lance Corporal Jacinda Baker and Private Richard Harris on August 23, 2012 in Christchurch, New Zealand. The soldiers are performing a haka, acknowledging the lives and feats of their fallen comrades. The powerful, moving ceremony can also be seen here, in a video from the New Zealand Defence Force. (Martin Hunter/Getty Images) #
Lance Corporal Jacinda Baker's mother pays her respect during a combined memorial service for fallen soldiers Corporal Luke Tamatea, Lance Corporal Jacinda Baker and Private Richard Harris at Burnham Military Camp in Christchurch, New Zealand, on August 25, 2012. (Martin Hunter/Getty Images) #
A U.S. Navy carry team transfers the remains of Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class Clayton R. Beauchamp, of Weatherford, Texas, at Dover Air Force Base, Delaware, on August 9, 2012. Beauchamp was assigned to 1st Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team 6, 1st Marine Division (Forward), I Marine Expeditionary Force (Forward), Camp Pendleton, California, (USAF/Roland Balik) #
U.S. Air Force soldiers carry the flag-draped transfer case containing the remains of Air Force Maj. Walter D. Gray, during a dignified transfer at Dover Air Force Base, on August 10, 2012. Gray, who was from Conyers, Georgia, was killed alongside two other American troops in a suicide attack in Kunar province, while serving in the Air Force in Afghanistan. (Patrick Smith/Getty Images) #
Marines with Bravo Company, 2nd Tank Battalion, pay their final respects to Cpl. Daniel L. Linnabary II during a memorial ceremony in the sweltering Afghanistan sunlight, on September 1, 2012. Linnabary, 23, from Hubert, North Carolina, was a tank gunner with 2nd Platoon, Bravo Company, 2nd Tank Battalion. He was killed August 6, while conducting combat operations in Now Zad District. This was his first deployment to Afghanistan. During the ceremony, commanders and friends spoke of the man and Marine Linnabary was and what they would remember most about him. (USMC/Cpl. Mark Garcia) #
The transfer case containing the remains of Marine Cpl. Daniel L. Linnabary II of Hubert, North Carolina, sits at the end of the loader ramp upon arrival at Dover Air Force Base, on August 8, 2012. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana) #
Chelsea Linnabary, the widow of US Marine Corps Corporal Daniel L. Linnabary II is consoled during burial ceremonies at Arlington National Cemetery, in Arlington, Virginia, on August 23, 2012. (Paul J. Richards/AFP/Getty Images) #
A Navy carry team moves a transfer case containing the remains of Petty Officer 1st Class Sean P. Carson on Dover Air Force Base, on August 19, 2012. According to the Department of Defense, Carson, of Renton, Washington, died while supporting Operation Enduring Freedom. Already in the vehicle are transfer cases containing the remains of Army Chief Warrant Officer Brian D. Hornsby of Melbourne, Florida, case not shown, Army Chief Warrant Officer Suresh N. A. Krause of Cathedral City, California, case not shown, Army Spc. James A. Justice of Grover, North Carolina, second case from right, and Army Spc. Richard A. Essex of Kelseyville, California, right case, who, according to the Department of Defense, all died while supporting Operation Enduring Freedom. (AP Photo/Steve Ruark) #
A French Army carry team moves a transfer case containing the remains of Major Franck Bouzet, 45, at Kabul military airport, on August 9, 2012. Franck Bouzet was killed on August 7, during a shootout with insurgents. (AP Photo/ECPAD, Jean Francois d'Arcangues) #
21-year-old Spc. Mabry J. Anders, 4th Special Troops Battalion, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, from Baker City, Oregon. Anders died in a "green-on-blue" attack, killed along with Sgt. Christopher J. Birdwell, both shot by a member of the Afghan National Army who had turned his weapon on them in Kalagush, Afghanistan, on August 27. (U.S. Army) #
A Marine carry team moves a transfer case containing the remains of Sgt. Justin M. Hansen at Dover Air Force Base, on July 26, 2012. According to the Department of Defense, Hansen, 26, of Traverse City, Michigan, died July 24, 2012 while conducting combat operations in Badghis province, Afghanistan. (AP Photo/Steve Ruark) #
U.S. Air Force Colonel Gretchen M. Wiltse, right, and U.S. Army Major General Al Aycock, second from right, salute as an Army carry team moves a transfer case containing the remains of U.S. Army Private First Class Patricia L. Horne, on August 26, 2012, at Dover Air Force Base. Horne, of Greenwood, Mississippi, died while supporting Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon) #
U.S. Army soldiers carry the flag-draped transfer case containing the remains of U.S. Army Maj. Thomas E. Kennedy, during a dignified transfer at Dover Air Force Base, on August 10, 2012. Kennedy, who was from West Point, New York, was killed alongside two other American troops in a suicide bombing, while serving in the U.S. Army in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. Kennedy was assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, Fort Carson, Colorado,(Patrick Smith/Getty Images) #
The remains of Army Staff Sgt. Carl Hammar arrive on a caisson for a burial ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia, on July 30, 2012. Hammar, 24, of Lake Havasu City, Arizona, died July 14, in Khost province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered from enemy small arms fire. He was assigned to 1st Battalion, 501st Infantry Regiment, 4th Airborne Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta) #
Parents of of Army Staff Sgt. Carl Hammar, from left, Ulf and Judy Hammar and his sister Tabitha Gordon, watch an Arlington Lady (left) speak to his son Lux Hammar and daughter Valeroia Hammar during a burial ceremony for Hammar at Arlington National Cemetery, on July 30, 2012. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta) #
An Army carry team moves a transfer case containing the remains of Pfc. Jose Oscar Belmontes at Dover Air Force Base, on July 30, 2012. According to the Department of Defense, Belmontes, 28, of La Verne, California, died July 28, 2012 in Wardak province, Afghanistan of wounds sustained from enemy small arms fire. (AP Photo/Steve Ruark) #
A combination picture of the official portraits of Australian Private Nathanael Galagher (left) and Lance Corporal Mervyn McDonald, who were both killed in a helicopter crash in Afghanistan on August 30, 2012. (Reuters/Australian Defence Ministry/Handout) #
Transfer cases containing the remains of Army Spc. Benjamin C. Pleitez, (left case) Army Sgt. 1st Class Bobby L. Estle, (right case) and Army Pfc. Jose Oscar Belmontes, (not shown) sit on a loader during a prayer at Dover Air Force Base, on July 30, 2012. According to the Department of Defense, Pleitez, 25, of Turlock, California, died July 27, 2012 in Mazar-e-Sharif, Afghanistan and Estle, 38, of Lebanon, Ohio, and Belmontes, 28, of La Verne, California, both died July 28, 2012 in Wardak province, Afghanistan, of wounds sustained from enemy small arms fire. (AP Photo/Steve Ruark) #
Solders pay their final respects to U.S. Army Spc. James Justice of Chosen Company, 1st Battalion, 503rd Infantry Regiment, 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team, during a memorial ceremony at Combat Outpost Sultan Khyel, August 24, 2012. (U.S. Army/Sgt. Michael Sword) #
U.S. Army soldiers carry a flag-draped transfer case containing the remains of U.S. Army Spc. Richard A. Essex during a dignified transfer at Dover Air Force Base, on August 19, 2012. Essex, who was from Kelseyville, California, was killed while serving in the U.S. Army in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan. (Patrick Smith/Getty Images) #
A U.S. Army carry team transfers the remains of Army Chief Warrant Officer Suresh N. A. Krause of Cathedral, California, at Dover Air Force Base, on August 19, 2012. Krause was among four soldiers who died of wounds suffered on August 16, as the UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter they were manning crashed in Afghanistan. He was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 25th Aviation Regiment, 25th Combat Aviation Brigade, 25th Infantry Division, Schofield Barracks, Hawaii. (USAF/Adrian R. Rowan) #
A U.S. Army soldier shuts the door of the transfer vehicle as five flag-draped transfer cases lay secure containing the remains of five U.S. Army and U.S. Navy soldiers, during a dignified transfer at Dover Air Force Base, on August 19, 2012. Those killed while serving in the U.S. Army in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan, were: U.S. Army Chief Warrant Officer 3, Brian D. Hornsby, U.S. Army Chief Warrant Officer 2, Suresh N. A. Krause, U.S. Army Spc. James A. Justice, U.S. Army Spc. Richard A. Essex, and U.S. Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Sean P. Carson. (Patrick Smith/Getty Images) #
Senior Airman Joshua Fernandez pauses after closing the doors of a transfer vehicle that holds a transfer case containing the remains of Sgt. 1st Class Coater B. DeBose at Dover Air Force Base, Delaware, on August 22, 2012. DeBose, of Stateline, Mississippi, was killed in Spin Boldak, Afghanistan, from injuries suffered from small arms fire. Two Afghan policemen reportedly opened fire on a group of coalition and Afghan troops, killing DeBose and an Afghan police sergeant. (AP Photo/Ann Heisenfelt) #
An Army honor guard carry the coffin of Army Staff Sgt. Richard Berry of Scottsdale, Arizona, during a burial services at Arlington National Cemetery, on August 14, 2012. According to the Defense Department, Berry died July 22 in Kandahar, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered from an enemy improvised explosive device. He was assigned to the 508th Special Troops Battalion, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, North Carolina, (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta) #
The remains of Lance Cpls. Pralli Drurrer and Rory Malone are carried off a military transport plane in a ceremony in Christchurch, New Zealand, on August 10, 2012. The two were killed in a gun battle in Afghanistan over the weekend. (Sam Shepherd/NZ Defence Force via Getty Images) #
Soldiers perform a haka at the Military Commemorative Service for LCPL Durrer and LCPL Malone at Burnam Military Camp in Christchurch, New Zealand, on August 11, 2012. The soldiers are performing their unit haka, acknowledging the lives and feats of their fallen comrades. The powerful, moving ceremony can also be seen here, in a video from the New Zealand Defence Force. (Martin Hunter/Getty Images) #
For the love of Vera: D-Day Lancaster bomber crew identified 68 years on by poignant inscription on dead airman's ring
They set off in the early hours of D-Day, never to return.
The crew of the Lancaster bomber – among the most highly decorated in the RAF – were all killed when their plane was shot down by a German aircraft over Normandy. Their remains have never been found.
Now, 68 years later, thanks to the chance discovery of a gold ring, the mystery has been solved.
In a spin: One of the propellers of the Lancaster, which was found at the newly-discovered crash site
Ring: A metal detector found a gold ring which bore the initials ‘AC’ and the engraved inscription ‘Love Vera’. .A piece of history: Tony Graves (right, pictured with a German bullet found at the crash site) discovered the AC referred to ‘Albert Chambers’ (left) who wed Vera Grubb, 21, just eight months before he died on D-Day
Marriage certificate: Albert Chambers and Vera Grubb, who wed at a church in Normanton, Derbyshire, in 1943
Luftwaffe ace: Oberleutnant Helmut Eberspacher in his German Foker-Wulf 190. He shot down the RAF Lancaster over Normandy on D-Day
'We were at war and the enemy had to be combated': Eberspacher wrote in his log of shooting down three Lancasters that day
The mangled ring, found in a marsh by a French metal detector enthusiast, bears the initials ‘AC’ and the engraved inscription ‘Love Vera’.
British aviation archaeologist Tony Graves believes the AC refers to a flight lieutenant called Albert Chambers who was on board Lancaster ND 739 which went missing following a dawn mission on June 6, 1944.
The name Vera refers to his wife, Vera Grubb, whom he had married just eight months earlier.
Born in Derby, Flight Lieutenant Chambers had an extraordinary career. He had flown 58 operational sorties and had won a Distinguished Flying Cross and Bar before his death at 23.
Chambers was 97 Squadron’s signals leader and was wireless operator and air gunner on the D-Day flight.
He had flown Stirling bombers and as a 20-year-old he was forced to bale out over England when his aircraft ran out of fuel returning from Hanover after it was attacked by German fighters.
Mr Graves has found hundreds of twisted parts from the Lancaster as well as a string of personal items, including a silver-plated cigarette case and a watch.
Big project: Excavating machines dig a 25ft hole on September 29 at the crash site of the Lancaster in France
Uncovered: Aviation historian Gordon Ramsey holds one of the propellers of missing Lancaster ND 739
Dig team: The wreck is believed to be of the Lancaster which was sent on a dawn mission to attack a German coastal battery at Pont Du Hoc in the crucial hours before the Allied invasion on June 6, 1944
Amazing discovery: Aviation historian Mark Kirby uncovers a tyre from the wreckage of the Lancaster
Astonishing: A piece of fuselage which still has traces of red paint from the RAF Lancaster call sign Z-Zebra
Well-built: A parts tag from an engine carburetor of the RAF Lancaster, which was shot down by a German
In hand: An airman's glove which has been recovered from the French field by the archaeologists
Big dig: The dramatic discovery of the missing Lancaster was made by Mr Graves, who has excavated more than 400 Battle of Britain aircraft and spent years pinpointing the exact spot
Holding history: A digging volunteer finds a piece of undercarriage from the RAF Lancaster in the field
The bomber was piloted by Wing Commander ‘Jimmy’ Carter. His seven-man crew boasted four Distinguished Flying Crosses and three Distinguished Flying Medals for gallantry between them.
They had taken off from RAF Coningsby in Lincolnshire at 2.56am on D-Day and carried out a bombing mission at Pointe du Hoc on the coast of Normandy.
But their plane came under fire from Luftwaffe pilot Oberleutnant Helmut Eberspacher, shortly after 5am as he shot down three Lancasters in five minutes.
Famous sight: Archive photo of PA474 Avro Lancaster Bomber, similar to the one discovered in France
This Lancaster is one of only two airworthy Lancasters in the world still flying. She wears the markings of EE139 ' The Phantom of the Ruhr' 100 squadron
Deadly: The newly discovered Lancaster wreck was shot down by a pilot flying a Focke-Wulf, like the one pictured
The aircraft’s last contact came at 5.04am acknowledging a message from a controller, before falling silent.
Eberspacher was scrambled to patrol the Normandy coast in his Focke-Wulf 190 fighter as a wave of RAF bombers headed towards their target.
Carter and his crew had successfully completed their mission and turned for home when their plane came under fire.
French farm workers watched as the bomber descended in flames, but the crash site near Carentan in Normandy had remained undiscovered.
The other crew members who died were Squadron Leader Martin Bryan-Smith, Flight Lieutenant Henry Jeffery, Acting Flight Sergeant Guy Dunning, Acting Flight Sergeant Frank Watson, Australian Flight Lieutenant Ronald Conley, and Canadian Flight Lieutenant Herbert Rieger.
The men are all listed on the Runnymede memorial which commemorates the 20,389 World War Two airmen with no known graves.
Incredible discoveries: A newly recovered flattened RAF whistle (left), belonging to one of the crew from the Lancaster, and a silver-plated cigarette case (right)
Written history: A fountain pen, with a 'Waterman' marking, belonging to one of the crew from the Lancaster
Floatation: An emergency dingy which was recovered from the wreckage of the Lancaster
Happy man: Archaeologist Mr Graves (left) with a parachute (right), which was recovered from the wreckage
War machinery: One of the two engine banks from a Merlin Packard engine of the RAF Lancaster
Up close: One of the two engine banks from a Merlin Packard engine of the RAF Lancaster
Directions: A damaged map of southern England, the English Channel and northern France that was found
Amazed: Archaeologist Mr Graves with pieces of clothing and crew belongings which were recovered
Mr Graves was informed of the discovery of the gold ring around nine months ago. He said: ‘When I got to the spot I found about 300 rounds of British .303mm ammunition still lying on the surface.
‘We’ve recovered one of the Lancaster’s huge wheel hubs, the back of an armour-plated crew seat and all the bomb rack clamps.’ He also found a clutch of blood-stained maps and four parachutes.
But Mr Graves said it was the personal effects of the courageous crew that were the most moving.
From abroad: The crew included two Commonwealth flyers - Canadian bomb aimer Flt Lt Herbert Rieger (left), of Hamilton, Ontario, and Australian navigator Flt Lt Ronald Conley (right), of Annerley, Queensland
Heroes: The Lancaster was piloted by Wing Commander Jimmy Carter (left), who also had Squadron Leader Martin Bryan-Smith (right) on his team
Remembered: A message (right) left at the Runnymede Missing in Action memorial for Flt Lt Henry 'Hank' Jeffery (left) by his sister Doris. Flt Lt Jeffery was one of the crew on the RAF Lancaster
He said: ‘We’ve found a couple of torn RAF woollen jumpers, with one still bearing a DFM medal ribbon.
'Lodged inside the sleeve of one jumper we discovered a single German 7.92mm bullet.
‘There is an officer’s forage cap, a pocket from an RAF tunic with a Waterman pen still clipped inside and a silk flying glove.’
German base: Collect photo of the hidden airfield where Oberleutnant Helmut Eberspacher in his German Foker-Wulf 190 was based near Tours, France
Respected: Photo of Oberleutnant Helmut Eberspacher (far right) pilot of a German Foker-Wulf 190
Teamwork: Local people and volunteer workers use excavating machines to dig a 25ft hole in the French field
In his log of D-Day, Eberspacher wrote: ‘We were at war and the enemy had to be combated, and I was in a favorable flying position.
'Within a few minutes, three British Lancaster bombers went down in flames.’
The discovery comes four months after the Queen dedicated the Bomber Command memorial in London’s Green Park to commemorate the 55,573 men who died in action.
Sixty-nine years after their burning plane plunged to the ground after being shot down by the Germans, the remains of seven Lancaster Bomber crewmen have been recovered.
They were discovered by a team of German historians who spent hours digging a muddy field near Frankfurt looking for the RAF crew after an eyewitness who saw the plane crash guided them to the site.
Lancaster ED427 was one of 327 bombers that took part in a raid on the Skoda armaments works at Pilsen, Czechoslovakia.
On their return to their base at RAF Fiskerton, Lincs, they came under fire from German anti-aircraft flak.
Pieces of history: Sixty-nine years after their burning plane plunged to the ground after being shot by German aircraft the remains of seven Lancaster Bomber crewmen have been recovered. The team sorted the fragments they found into boxes at the site
Burnt out: The remains of a scorched parachute. They site was discovered by a team of German historians who spent hours digging a muddy field looking for the RAF crew after an eye-witness who saw the plane crash guided them to the area
Damage: The crater made by the impact of the engine. A Rolls Royce engine and landing gear of the World War Two aircraft was found followed by 'hundreds' of fragments of human bones in what would have been the cockpit
'TOO LITTLE TIME, TOO MUCH DAMAGE:' WHY DID THE CREW NOT MAKE IT OUT ALIVE?
Christian Pratt, IWM Duxford:
There are a number of possible reasons why none of the aircrew were able to save themselves by parachuting from the aircraft.
With eyewitnesses reporting the aircraft to be on fire, it seems likely that one or more anti-aircraft shells would have hit the airframe.
The explosions from these hits, and resulting shrapnel, could well have killed or mortally wounded, or disabled crew members directly.
The resulting fire and smoke may have also disabled crew members or, possibly, overwhelmed or suffocated them.
Egress from the Lancaster was difficult at the best of times (there is a large, central wing spar to climb over, and it is generally cramped inside the aircraft despite its apparent size).
In the dark, and with the aircraft damaged and on fire, it may also have been simply too difficult – too little time, or too much damage to hatches – to escape.
Ejector seats require the occupant to be conscious and capable of pulling the handle (there are some exceptions, but this is the general principle).
If the crew were indeed severely injured or unconscious, they would not have been able to operate the seat, even had they the facility available to them.
It’s hard to imagine what it must have been like on board during the attack, though we can reasonably assume that the crew would have made every possible effort to save themselves – and so that the circumstances preventing them from doing so were insurmountable, however highly motivated they were.
Peter Elliott, Royal Air Force Museum:
The crew were not all in 'the cockpit' although five of the seven (pilot, flight engineer, navigator, wireless operator and bomb aimer) would have been in the front part of the aircraft – the two gunners were in their turrets further back and at the tail.
If the aircraft was hit in or near the cockpit the pilot could have been killed or injured (as might other members of the crew) and he would have lost control. Others might have tried to fly the aircraft, and thereby left it too late to bail out.
Although the crew wore their parachute harnesses all the time, they would have had to find their parachute packs and clip them on to the harness, and it would have been very difficult to get to an emergency exit in the dark while the aircraft was perhaps spinning out of control – they wouldn’t have much time before the aircraft crashed.
Would ejector seats have helped? Not necessarily – some of the crew had to move around the aircraft to do their work and so may not have been in their seats when it was hit; some of them may have been killed when it was hit, and even modern ejector seats have their limits.
Eyewitness Peter Menges saw the plane on fire before it crashed into a field outside the village of Laumersheim, near Frankfurt, and exploded into a fireball.
It is not unknown why the men did not manage to parachute from the plane. Reasons could include
Peter Elliott from Royal Air Force Museum said it may have been a case of' too little time, or too much damage.'
'With eyewitnesses reporting the aircraft to be on fire, it seems likely that one or more anti-aircraft shells would have hit the airframe.
'The explosions from these hits, and resulting shrapnel, could well have killed or mortally wounded, or disabled crew members directly.
'The resulting fire and smoke may have also disabled crew members or, possibly, overwhelmed or suffocated them.'
A Rolls-Royce engine and landing gear of the World War Two aircraft was found followed by 'hundreds' of fragments of human bones in what would have been the cockpit.
The archaeological dig in Germany was questioned by some locals who couldn't understand why the team were searching for British airmen who bombed their cities.
Uwe Benkel, who led the search, said they felt obliged to find the missing men and bring comfort to their families who knew nothing of how or where they died.
Some of the relatives have now expressed their gratitude to the amateur historians and are hoping to finally bury their loved ones seven decades after their deaths.
Mr Benkel, 51, said: 'A lot of people couldn't understand what we were doing and said things like why were we digging up British airmen who bombed our cities and killed our people?
'Our view is that this is past and history, it was 70 years ago. We are another generation.
'We do research on missing men who are still in the ground.
'It doesn't make a difference if they are German or British; they were young men who fought and died for their country for which they deserve a proper burial in a cemetery.
'We do it for the families. For them, it is a bit like reading a book with the last page missing. When we find the bodies, we are writing the final page for them.'
The seven strong crew - pilot Alex Bone, flight engineer Norman Foster, navigator Cyril Yelland, wireless operator Raymond White, bomb aimer Raymond Rooney, air gunner Ronald Cope and air gunner Bruce Watt - died in April 1943.
Lancaster ED427 one of 36 bombers which failed to make it back to Britain that night.
The impact of the crash created a large crater in the ground.
The German military recovered two of the bodies from the wreckage - thought to have been Sgt Cope and Canadian Pilot Officer Watt - and buried them.
Perished: Flight engineer Sgt Norman Foster, left, crew member of the doomed Lancaster and wireless operator Sgt Raymond White, right. It is thought the remains of the men will be buried in the same coffin in a single grave at a Commonwealth War Graves Cemetery in Germany
Found: Sgt Ronald Cope, left, an air gunner and pilot FO Alex Bone, right. The seven strong crew died in April 1943
Air gunner Bruce Watt, left, and Sgt Cyril Yelland, a navigator, right. On their return to their base at RAF Fiskerton, Lincs, they came under fire from German anti-aircraft flak
'THE BOMBERS ALONE PROVIDE THE MEANS OF VICTORY'
RAF Bomber Command's role during World War Two was to bomb the enemy's airbases, shipping, troops, communications and other industries connected to the German war effort.
Britain had to use long-range bombing after Dunkirk in 1940 until D-day in 1944 as it had no other way of attacking the Germans.
The job fell to RAF air crews - some of who were just 18 - who flew increasingly heavier types of long-range bombers.
It was so successful that Hitler was forced to divert nearly a million men, 55,000 artillery guns and a large part of the German air force on to defending the nation instead of fighting offensively.
Bomber Command flew almost every day and mostly at night during the war to avoid being shot down - but this meant it was difficult to locate small targets.
In 1941 it was decided whole industrial cities should be priority targets. Larger four-engine bombers and improved navigation equipment then followed to create a formidable fighting force.
The repeated and persistent attacks on German cities which followed became a critical factor in the liberation of Europe and the defeat of Nazi Germany in 1945.
After the war, the British Air Ministry tried to find the final resting place of the crew but with no success.
It was assumed their aircraft had crashed in the sea and their names were added to the Runnymede Memorial in Surrey dedicated to 20,000 servicemen with no known grave.
Mr Benkel, a health insurance clerk by day, began researching military plane crashes 25 years ago and now leads a voluntary recovery group that has examined 400 crashes and recovered the bodies of 38 airmen.
He recently began looking into ED427 and found Mr Menges, 83, culminating in the dig that took place last Saturday.
Mr Benkel said: 'Peter lived in the next village. He saw the plane coming down on fire and saw the explosion. His parents didn't allow him to go and see the plane that night.
'He went the next morning and the German military were there. From what he saw the majority of the parts were on the surface and taken away.
'There was a big crater in the ground, within a couple of days it was filled in with rocks and dirt and was covered up for the next 69 years.
'Peter showed me the site and we used metal detectors and radar photos to examine it.'
The team dug five metres deep in a 100 square metre area and found sections of the fuselage, cockpit, landing gear, a tyre, a burnt parachute, tools and ammunition.
Mr Benkel believes the remains they found are those of F/O Bone, Sgt Foster, Sgt Yelland, Sgt Rooney and Sgt White as these men would have been in the cockpit at the time.
Sgt Foster's daughter Hazel Snedker was three-years-old when her father was killed aged 22.
Excavation: Volunteers dig within the crater, exhuming the fateful planes remains. The team dug five metres deep in a 100 square metre area and found sections of the fuselage, cockpit, landing gear, a tyre, a burnt parachute, tools and ammunition
Discovery: The remains of a Merlin engine were also unearthed by the team
Storage: Ammunition collected from the crash site. It was assumed the aircraft had crashed in the sea and their names were added to the Runnymede Memorial in Surrey dedicated to 20,000 servicemen with no known grave
Fatal flight: A graphic of the site in Laumersheim, Germany, where the Lancaster crashed 69 years ago
LANCASTER BOMBERS BY NUMBERS
19 Victoria Crosses won by men of Bomber Command, including Guy Gibson, who led the Dam Busters raid
125,000 Bomber Command air crew serving during WWII
55,573 died in action, a death rate of 44 per cent
4% average chance of being shot down per mission – but crews had to complete at least 30. Chances of surviving war lower than infantry officer in First World War trenches
9,838 bomber crew became prisoners of war
1.3m tons of bombs dropped by the Allies on Germany
635,000 is the estimate of German civilians killed
72% of Bomber Command dead were British. The rest were from Canada, Australia and New Zealand
Mrs Snedker, now aged 72 and from Leamington Spa, Warks, said: 'I have no memory of my father whatsoever.
'The only memory I have is of my mother fainting when she received the telegram saying he was missing.
'My mother died from tuberculosis when I was six-years-old and I was bought up by my paternal grandparents.
'Iknow that they quietly hoped that there would be some news of their son.
'But in those days very little was spoken about it and you just carried on.
'When something like that happens you either get bitter and twisted about it or you just get on with it.
'And now, after all these years, it has all come to light.
'It is a great relief to know what did happen to him and where he is. At least he will now have a grave with a headstone.
'My father had two sisters who are still alive. I know my auntie Joan is very pleased. She wanted to know what happened to her brother.'
Labour: Volunteers dig within the crater to exhume any remains. After the war, the British Air Ministry tried to find the final resting place of the crew but with no success
Tireless: Uwe Benkel, the volunteers' team leader and Volunteer Christian Schwein with fragments of tyre found at the crash site. Mr Benkel said: 'I think it is right they share the same grave. These men flew together and died together. They should now rest together
Birds eye view: An aerial Luftwaffe picture showing the crash site at Laumersheim, Germany
Commemoration: A minutes silence was held in respect by the volunteers. Members of the Bundeswehr reserve, part of the German army, are in uniform
Respect: A poppy memorial was erected as a mark of remembrance. It is thought the remains of the men will be buried in the same coffin in a single grave at a Commonwealth War Graves Cemetery in Germany
The British Embassy in Berlin has been made aware of the discovery.
It is thought the remains of the men will be buried in the same coffin in a single grave at a Commonwealth War Graves Cemetery in Germany.
Mr Benkel said: 'I think it is right they share the same grave. These men flew together and died together. They should now rest together.'
LANCASTER BOMBERS BY NUMBERS
- The 12 human bones were found on some rocks three miles from the wreckage
- A piece of parachute and a metal button dated 1939 were found nearby
- Flight Sergeant Dennis Copping crashed at the spot in 1942, and is thought to have wandered off into the desert
- The perfectly preserved plane was found earlier this year by Polish oil exploration workers
A body has been found in the desert close to the spot where a pilot disappeared after crash-landing during the war. The wreckage of the P40 Kittyhawk plane was found perfectly preserved earlier this year, 70 years after the accident, and now it seems that airman Dennis Copping's remains may have been recovered nearby. The bones were located on some rocks four months ago, along with a piece of parachute, about three miles from where the plane landed in the Sahara desert in 1942. A keychain fob with the number 61 on it was found near the remains, along with a metal button dated 1939.
Mysterious disappearance: Flight Sergeant Dennis Copping crashed in the desert in 1942, and his plane was only uncovered earlier this year
Mounting evidence: The twelve bones were found three miles found the plane, along with a piece of parachute, keyfob and metal button with 1939 on it
Bid for survival: The P40 Kittyhawk was found perfectly preserved and someone had apparently tried to build a shelter beside it. But the pilot's relatives claim the Ministry of Defence said that the remains were not those of the lost airman. It has since been established that the bones were never recovered or analysed, leaving open the possibility they may be those of Flight Sergeant Copping. His nephew, William Pryor-Bennett, from Kinsale, County Cork, Ireland, has now urged for DNA tests to be carried out as soon as possible.
To that end, two British historians and a forensic anatomist have volunteered to travel to Egypt and recover the bones themselves. Mr Pryor-Bennett, 62, said he is ‘appalled’ at the way the matter has been handled. He said: 'The bones suspected to be those of my uncle are apparently still lying in the desert. They were found in June and should have been tested by now.
Poignant: Flight Sergeant Denis Copping in his RAF uniform aged 24, just days before he went missing
Ready for combat: Flt Sgt Copping proudly looks down from the cockpit of his Kittyhawk P-40. 'Someone from the MoD got in touch with me in August to say that they aren’t his bones.
Family memories: William Pryor-Bennett is the nephew of Flt Sgt Copping. 'But it would now seem they have written off the remains prematurely as no DNA tests have been done. I am a little appalled at this. They need to be tested as soon as possible. The plane is of no interest to me but he could be buried if it is him. 'This man disappeared long before I was born. My mother and my grandmother used to talk about him and what a nice lad he was. 'He was a serving his country and who was out there doing his bit. He should be treated properly.' Ft Sgt Copping, 24, was from Southend, Essex, and flew with the 260 Squadron. He had been flying between two British bases in Egypt during the north Africa campaign in World War Two when he disappeared. Nothing was ever seen of him or his plane again until earlier this year when a team of Polish oil exploration workers stumbled upon the perfectly preserved aircraft. There is evidence to suggest Ft Sgt Copping survived the crash and made a makeshift shelter outside the plane using his parachute. It is thought he died while making a futile attempt to walk out of the desert.
Time capsule: Aside from the damage it sustained during impact, the aircraft appears to have been almost perfectly preserved in the sands of the Sahara
Chance discovery: The single-seater aircraft was found by a Polish oil company worker exploring a remote region of the western desert in Egypt
Intact: Most of the plane's cockpit instruments were untouched and it still had it guns and ammunition before they were seized by the Egyptian military for safety reasons
Second World War weaponry: The machine gun on the wing of the crashed plane. It appears the pilot got into trouble and brought it down in the middle of the desert
Bullet holes: The Kittyhawk appears to have been shot at (left), while its broken propeller lays nearby (right). Historians have described the find as the 'aviation equivalent of Tutankhamun's Tomb'
Well-preserved: The Kittyhawk's magazine of bullets were also found in the wreckage. The radio and batteries were discovered out of the plane
In June this year, a team of historians from Italy unearthed 12 human bones close to an outcrop of rocks, which the Ministry of Defence said were discovered by people who live in that part of the Sahara. Dr Laurence Garey, an independent forensic anatomist, has studied the photographs of the bones. He said: 'I can confirm there are about 12 human bones. There is no question that they are human. 'According to the Italian team they were found just under the surface. Whether they are the bones of Dennis Copping is another matter.
At the controls: The plane's cockpit, but there are fears over what will be left of it after locals began stripping parts and instruments for souvenirs and scrap
Unseen and untouched: Equipment and controls from the plane were found scattered around the craft at the crash site. The plane is still in very good condition
Heading home: The RAF Museum at Hendon, north London, has been made aware of the discovery and plans are underway to recover the aircraft for exhibition in the future
'I can’t tell how old they are or how long they have been there without examining them.
'I don’t know how or why the Italian team went from the aircraft to the spot where they found these bones but they do seem quite credible.
'I hope to be able to recover at least one bone for DNA analysis and to compare that with a member of Dennis Copping’s family.'
The MoD told Mail Online it had told the family the remains were unlikely to be Copping's because no military clothing was found on the body and it was miles from the scene of the crash.
Sign of the time: The Kittyhawk's factory stamp (left) and gun loading instruction panel (right). However, some locals see the aircraft as a piece of junk
Signs of survival: Flight Sergeant Dennis Copping's parachute was part of what is believed to be a makeshift camp alongside the fuselage
Remote: The crash site is about 200 miles from the nearest town. No human remains have been found but it is thought the pilot's decomposed body may lay anywhere in a 20 mile radius of the plane. They said that resources to investigate a discovery in such a remote spot were limited but added that they were still in contact with the family and embassy in Cairo. 'We are aware of this case and understand that investigations are under way in Egypt to identify the human remains,' said a spokesman. 'We are in close contact with Flt Sgt Copping’s family and will continue to keep them informed of developments.' They said they would do more if it begins to look more likely that these are Copping's remains. Captain Paul Collins, the British defence attache in Cairo, claimed they he had had no contact with the Italian team about the find. The P40 Kittyhawk plane has been removed from the desert and locked in a storage crater in El Alemain. The Royal Air Force Museum at Hendon is in negotiations with Egyptian authorities to have the aircraft returned to Britain.
In flight: Ft Sgt Copping and another airman were tasked with flying two damaged Kittyhawk P-40 planes (like this one) from one British airbase in northern Egypt to another for repair
A transfer case with the remains of Army Sergeant 1st Class Coater B. Debose of State Line, Mississippi, waits to be unloaded during a dignified transfer at Dover Air Force Base August 22, 2012 in Dover, Delaware. (Alex Wong/Getty Images) #
A transfer case containing the remains of U.S. Marine Cpl. Richard Rivera, is moved by a U.S. Marine carry team during a dignified transfer at Dover Air Force Base, on August 13, 2012. Cpl. Rivera who was from Oxnard, California, was killed on August 10 in Garmsir, Afghanistan, after being shot by an Afghan civilian. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images) #
Command Sgt. Maj. Kevin J. Griffin, of Laramie, Wyoming, died on August 1, 2012, when two insurgents detonated vests laden with explosives in Kunar province. Griffin was one of three troops killed in the suicide attack, all assigned to units based at Fort Carson in Colorado. The Defense Department identified them Thursday as 38-year-old Air Force Maj. Walter D. Gray, of Conyers, Georgia; 35-year-old Army Maj. Thomas E. Kennedy, of West Point, New York; and 45-year-old Command Sgt. Maj. Kevin J. Griffin. (AP Photo/U.S. Defense Dept) #
Soldiers from B Company, 1st Battalion, 503rd Infantry Regiment, Task Force 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team bow their heads during a memorial ceremony for U.S. Army Pfc. Andrew Keller of B. Company, at Combat Outpost Charkh in Logar Province, Afghanistan, on August 22, 2012. Keller was killed when insurgents attacked his unit in Charkh, in Logar province, Afghanistan. (U.S. Army/Sgt. Michael Sword) #
Transfer cases containing the remains of Army 1st Sgt. Russell R. Bell of Tyler, Texas, Army Staff Sgt. Matthew S. Sitton of Largo, Florida, Army Pfc. Jesus J. Lopez of San Bernardino, California, and Marine Lance Cpl. Curtis J. Duarte of West Covina, California, sit on the loader ramp, upon arrival at Dover Air Force Base, Delaware, on August 4, 2012. The Department of Defense announced the death of Bell, Sitton, Lopez and Duarte who were supporting Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana) #
A U.S. Marine Corps carry team transfers the remains of Department of State Foreign Service Officer II Mr. Ragaei Abdelfattah, of Annapolis, Maryland, at Dover Air Force Base, on August 12, 2012. Abdelfattah, a USAID officer, was killed in a suicide bomb attack in Konar province, on August 8, 2012. (U.S. Air Force photo/Roland Balik) #
A combination picture shows official photographs of Australian soldiers Sapper James Martin (left), Private Robert Poate (right) and Lance Corporal Stjepan Milosevic. The soldiers were killed in southern Afghanistan on August 29, 2012 by an Afghan wearing a soldier's uniform as Australia suffered its worst combat losses since the Vietnam War. Another two troops died in a helicopter crash in the south on August 30. (Reuters/Australian Department of Defence) #
An Army carry team carries a transfer case containing the remains of Army Staff Sgt. Matthew S. Sitton of Largo, Florida, upon arrival at Dover Air Force Base, on August 4, 2012. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana) #
Marines with Military Working Dogs Platoon, Headquarters and Supply Company, 1st Law Enforcement Battalion (Forward), I Marine Expeditionary Force Headquarters Group, pay their final respects to Sgt. Joshua R. Ashley during a memorial ceremony in the Regional Command Southwest chapel, on August 17, 2012. Ashley, from Rancho Cucamonga, California, was killed in action on July 19, while conducting combat operations in Helmand province. (USMC/Cpl. Mark Garcia) #
Senior Airman DarRon Harmon closes the door of a transfer vehicle that holds a transfer case containing the remains of Staff Sgt. Christopher J. Birdwell at Dover Air Force Base, on August 29, 2012. According to the Department of Defense, Birdwell, of Windsor, Colorado, died while supporting Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan. (AP Photo/Ann Heisenfelt) #
A New Zealand Army piper plays at the Military Commemorative Service for LCPL Durrer and LCPL Malone at Burnam Military Camp in Christchurch, New Zealand, on August 11, 2012. (Martin Hunter/Getty Images)
In the month of September 2012, the United States completed its withdrawal of the 33,000 troops deployed to Afghanistan in the "surge" of 2009. However, the U.S. still has 86,000 troops engaged in Operation Enduring Freedom, even as some coalition members are now finishing up their deployments. Also this month, coalition troops have curtailed joint operations with Afghan Army and police forces, due to increased attacks on foreign soldiers by members of the Afghan forces -- and heightened tensions resulting from widespread anger over an anti-Islam movie produced in the U.S. Gathered here are images of those involved in this conflict over the past month, as part of the ongoing series here on Afghanistan.
Four MV-22 Ospreys with Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 261 follow a KC-130J with Detachment A, Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 352, from Helmand province, Afghanistan, to the USS Iwo Jima in the Arabian Sea, on September 6, 2012. (USMC/Sgt. John Jackson)
Four MV-22 Ospreys with Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 261 follow a KC-130J with Detachment A, Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 352, from Helmand province, Afghanistan, to the USS Iwo Jima in the Arabian Sea, on September 6, 2012. (USMC/Sgt. John Jackson)
A riot policeman keeps watch during a demonstration in Kabul, on September 21, 2012. Hundreds of Afghans protested against a U.S.-made film they say insults the Prophet Mohammad. (Reuters/Omar Sobhani) #
16th BC French unit soldiers unload their vehicles before their return to France as part of French disengagement at Warehouse base in Kabul, on September 23, 2012. France is the fifth largest contributor to NATO's International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), which is due to pull out the vast majority of its 130,000 troops by the end of 2014. (Jeff Pachoud/AFP/Getty Images) #
US Army soldiers attached to the 2nd platoon, C-Coy. 1-23 Infantry based at Zangabad forward operating base in Panjwai district deploy an Anti Personnel Obstacle Breaching System (A-POBS), which are charges fired by rocket used to trigger a safe detonation of IEDs. Photo taken during a dawn operation at Naja-bien village, on September 23, 2012. (Tony Karumba/AFP/Getty Images) #
Dust kicks off the ground during an operation by US Army soldiers attached to the 2nd platoon, C-Coy. 1-23 Infantry based at Zangabad foward operating base in Panjwai district after an A-POBS detonation on a nearby road during a dawn operation, on September 23, 2012. (Tony Karumba/AFP/Getty Images) #
An Afghan woman carries her child through the Kati Sakhi cemetery in Kabul, on September 20, 2012. (AP Photo/Dusan Vranic) #
Afghan policemen investigate at the site of suicide attack in Kabul, on September 8, 2012. A suicide bomber detonated explosives near the heavily barricaded NATO headquarters in the Afghan capital, killing four civilians, NATO and local officials said. (Reuters/Omar Sobhani) #
Pigeons fly above dwellings in the hillside neighborhood of Jamal Mina and the Abdul Rahman Khan mosque in Kabul, on September 27, 2012. It is estimated that about 20 percent of the city's more less than 5 million residents live on houses built on steep hills that surround the city. Running water was recently installed on some homes in this neighborhood but open sewers run down hill. (Roberto Schmidt/AFP/Getty Images) #
A soldier from the 1st Platoon, 1-64 Armoured Battalion, US Army, walks through a marijuana field during a security patrol near Morghan-Kecha village in Daman district, Kandahar, on September 6, 2012 near the Kandahar Air Field. The Taliban are involved in a quarter of Afghan security personnel attacks on NATO colleagues, according to a military commander. The surge of assaults, unprecedented in modern warfare, have seen Afghan troops opening fire on their NATO colleagues more than 30 times this year, killing at least 45 foreign troops -- most of them Americans. (Tony Karumba/AFP/Getty Images) #
U.S. Marines with the fiscal development team, C-9, Regional Command (Southwest), distribute hero payments, financial compensation given to families of fallen Afghan Local Police killed in the line of duty in Zarghun Kalay, Helmand province, on September 10, 2012. (USMC/Lance Cpl. Robert J. Reeves) #
An Afghan girl from the local Pashtun tribe peers from behind a mud perimeter wall to watch US Army soldiers from the 1st Platoon, Delta Coy, 1-64 ARS army at Nevay-deh village, a short distance from the Lindsey forward operating base on September 13, 2012. (Tony Karumba/AFP/Getty Images) #
Members of 455th Expeditionary Communications Squadron prepare to connect tower sections as a civilian contractor helicopter lowers sections into place. A specialized team from several Air National Guard Engineering Installation Squadrons deployed to Bagram Air Field, Afghanistan, combined their efforts to build and set up the 170-foot communications tower, greatly increasing radio communication range. (USAF/1st Lt. Bruce Champion) #
A U.S. Army firing party stands ready during the burial service of U.S. Army Chief Warrant Officer 2 Thalia S. Ramirez at Arlington National Cemetery, on September 26, 2012 in Arlington, Virginia. Ramirez died September 5 in Logar Province, Afghanistan, from injuries suffered when a OH-58D Kiowa helicopter crashed. (Win McNamee/Getty Images) #
During a burial service for U.S. Army Chief Warrant Officer 2 Thalia S. Ramirez, Brigadier Gen. Charles Flynn (left) presents the American flag that covered her casket to Ramirez's husband, U.S. Army Sgt. Jesse Belbeck at Arlington National Cemetery, on September 26, 2012 in Arlington, Virginia. (Win McNamee/Getty Images) #
Afghan boys play football on a hill in Kabul, on September 11, 2012. (Reuters/Mohammad Ismail) #
Injured Afghan men arrive at a hospital in the back of a truck, along with the dead bodies of other victims, after a suicide attack on a funeral in Durbaba district of Jalalabad, on September 4, 2012. Afghan officials say a suicide bomber killed several civilians and wounded dozens more at a funeral for a village elder in a remote part of eastern Afghanistan. (AP Photo/Rahmat Gul) #
A man smokes hashish in a backstreet of a market in Kabul, on September 23, 2012. There is a growing unease for the future of the Afghan economy, mainly supported by foreign aid, after the expected pullout of NATO troops from the country in 2014. (Roberto Schmidt/AFP/Getty Images) #
French soldiers secure a perimeter at a forward observing post near the National Police Training Center (NPTC) in Wardak province, on on September 26, 2012. (Jeff Pachoud/AFP/Getty Images) #
A U.S. Army soldier from C-Coy. 1st platoon, 1-23 infantry points to a monitor showing video from a remote controlled vehicle displaying an image of a pressure plate type commonly used by Taliban insurgents to trigger IED explosions. Photo taken during a patrol in the village of Gerandai in Panjway district, Kandahar Province, on September 21, 2012. (Tony Karumba/AFP/Getty Images) #
U.S. Marines with Marine Attack Squadron (VMA) 211, Marine Aircraft Group 13, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing (Forward) relocate six AV-8B Harriers to continue conducting counter-insurgency operations, Camp Bastion, Helmand province, Afghanistan, on September 26, 2012. The six AV-8B Harriers were relocated to Camp Bastion to increase the overall readiness level after the base was attacked on September 14, 2012. (USMC/Sgt. Keonaona C. Paulo) #
Spc. Sarah Sutphin removes her new body armor after training on a firing range on September 18, 2012, in Fort Campbell, Kentucky. Female soldiers from 1st Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division are field testing the first Army body armor designed to fit women's physiques in preparation for their deployment to Afghanistan this fall. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey) #
An Afghan rides a horse at sunset in Kabul, on September 24, 2012. (AP Photo/Dusan Vranic) #
Modest buildings crowd the side of a hill overlooking Kabul on September 27, 2012. According to the World Bank more than a third of the population of Afghanistan live below the poverty line, more than half are vulnerable and at serious risk of falling into poverty. (Roberto Schmidt/AFP/Getty Images) #
A newborn baby girl, discovered abandoned on the road during an armored patrol of Polish sappers in southern Afghanistan, receives attention in Waghez, Afghanistan, on September 20, 2012. Named "Pola" by the troops, for Poland, the baby girl has been examined by military doctors and was to be handed over to Afghan pediatricians and authorities. (AP Photo/Marcin Gil/Poland's Defense Ministry) #
French soldiers sit in their vehicle as they drive to an operation in Warehouse base in Kabul, on September 24, 2012. (Jeff Pachoud/AFP/Getty Images) #
An Afghan villager holds up a blood-stained hand to US military soldiers from the 3rd platoon, C-company, 1-23 infantry, before they use a ballistics kit to test for explosive residue on his hands. The man was shot because he was suspected of being an insurgent and planting a roadside bomb, in Genrandai village at Panjwai district, Kandahar, on September 24, 2012. The wounded man denied being Taliban, an association with which consequently leads to incarceration for the suspect and his family, saying he had been working at a grapevine when he was shot. (Tony Karumba/AFP/Getty Images) #
An Afghan hound stands on the roof of a house during a patrol by US Army soldiers from Delta Company at Qalacha village in Kandahar, on September 10, 2012. (Tony Karumba/AFP/Getty Images) #
A bundle of leaflets disperses in the wind after being thrown from an MV-22 Osprey aircraft by a U.S. Army member, above Gereshk, Helmand Province, on September 19, 2012. The leaflets are intended to inform Afghan farmers about Peace and National Unity Week. (USAF/Senior Master Sgt. Dennis Martin) #
Haley Leonard holds on to her father, SFC Kyle Leonard, after he arrived at a homecoming ceremony with his unit, the 713th Engineer Company of the Indiana Army National Guard, at the Army Aviation Support Facility in Gary, Indiana, on September 26, 2012. The 713th Engineers were returning from a deployment in Kandahar Province, Afghanistan. Six soldiers from the unit were killed during the deployment. (Scott Olson/Getty Images) #
A crowd gathers at an open air market where farmers sell their produce in Herat, on September 25, 2012. (Aref Karimi/AFP/Getty Images) #
A man raises arms, looking at a victim lying on the ground among wreckage, at the site of a suicide attack in Kabul, on September 18, 2012. A suicide bomber blew himself up alongside a minivan carrying foreigners on a major highway leading to the international airport in the Afghan capital, police said, killing at least 10 people, including nine foreigners. (Massoud Hossaini/AFP/Getty Images) #
An Afghan policeman takes photos as he stands over bodies at the scene of a suicide bomb attack in Kabul, on September 18, 2012. Afghan insurgent group Hezb-e-Islami claimed responsibility on Tuesday for the suicide bomb attack on a minivan carrying foreign workers that killed 12 people saying it was retaliation for a film mocking the Prophet Mohammad. Most of the foreigners killed were reportedly South Africans, employed by an aviation charter company working under contract for USAID. (Reuters/Mohammad Ismail) #
An Afghan boy from the Pashtun tribe watches as a joint patrol between soldiers from the 1st Platoon, 1-64 Armored Battalion of the US Army walks through Morghan-Khecha village in Daman district, Kandahar province, on September 8, 2012. (Tony Karumba/AFP/Getty Images) #
Afghan villagers raise their weapons as they vow to defend their village against the Taliban in Achen district of Nangarhar province, on September 17, 2012. Taliban fighters are being pushed out of some areas in eastern Afghanistan by local militias defending their villages, according to local leaders. (Noorullah Shirzada/AFP/Getty Images) #
Afghan workers employed by the municipality of Kabul clean the polluted Kabul river on September 27, 2012. Hundreds of workers earn the equivalent of $100 USD for a month's worth of work cleaning trash that has been dumped on the river by its inhabitants. (Jawad Jalali/AFP/Getty Images) #
A wounded woman rests at a hospital after NATO air strikes in Laghman province, on September 16, 2012. NATO-led air strikes in southern Laghman province on Saturday night killed eight women, according to a local official. (Reuters/Parwiz) #
Afghan policemen take part to an exercise under the supervision of the Eurogendfor in the National Police Training Center (NPTC) in Wardak province, on September 26, 2012. (Jeff Pachoud/AFP/Getty Images) #
A blind student weaves a cleaning brush at the Kabul Blind School, on September 2, 2012. The Kabul Blind School was established in 1977 and has more than 187 students. It is the only school for the blind in Afghanistan. (Reuters/Omar Sobhani) #
Coalition Forces attend a memorial service in honor of Lt. Col. Christopher K. Raible at Camp Bastion, Helmand province, on September 19, 2012. Raible, commanding officer of Marine Attack Squadron (VMA) 211, Marine Aircraft Group 13, 3D Marine Aircraft Wing (Forward), was killed in action while repealing an enemy attack on Camp Bastion on September 14, 2012. (USMC/Sgt. Keonaona C. Paulo) #
Ahmad Tazim, who makes a living as a construction worker, stands with his two sons Naim (left), 5, and Karim, 2, in front of his home in the hillside neighborhood of Jamal Mina high above Kabul, on September 27, 2012. (Roberto Schmidt/AFP/Getty Images) #
A view of German outpost Observation Point North in restive Baghlan province in Northern Afghanistan, on August 22, 2012. About 600 German troops are based at OP North. (Reuters/Sabine Siebold) #
Afghan children run to school in a village on the road to Naghlu, Afghanistan, on September 24, 2012. (Jeff Pachoud/AFP/Getty Images)