More than 2,000 Iowans deployed to Afghanistan as part of Operation Enduring Freedom. The Red Bulls patch emblazoned on their shoulders carried honor and tradition unparalleled in the National Guard, but for Afghans, who saw the devil in the horned silhouette, it symbolized fear.
Stationed throughout Afghanistan, these soldiers saw more of the country than most Afghans will see in their lifetimes. Yet, the soldiers said that they came home with a hazier understanding of the conflict. They spoke of a struggle to understand America’s role in the region. Deployment was dangerous, but no one could guarantee that the risk and sacrifice would have a lasting effect on the Afghans’ lives.
Chicago Freelance Photographer | Alyssa Schukar | Photojournalist