Thursday, October 1, 2009
Life and Death in Afghanistan
Thursday, October 1st, FOB Blessing.
This morning, I received an email from a friend who runs a photo agency and whom I send photos every so often. In it he said that a soldier that I had taken photo of was killed a few days ago. I checked online and this is what I found:
“Army Pfc. Matthew M. Martinek, 20, DeKalb, Ill., died Friday at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Landstuhl, Germany, of wounds suffered in Paktika province, Afghanistan, Sept. 4 when enemy attacked his vehicle with an improvised-explosive device followed by a rocket-propelled grenade and small arms fire; he was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division, Fort Richardson, Alaska.”
I didn’t know PFC Matthew Martinek that well. I went on a mission with him one day, rode in the same vehicle and got along pretty decently. Now, he’s just a number in the statistic of American casualties in this drawn out and increasingly unpopular war. Martinek is the second soldier whom I’ve photographed to die in action. Gideon was the first when he was killed in 6th July after a particularly brutal ambush. Both died in similar ways: their vehicle struck a powerful IED followed by RPG attack. Am I jinxed in some weird way or is this just war where people die whether their photos get taken or not…
I give my deepest respect to both young men, my sympathy to their families and hope that their death will not be in vain.