Happy Armed Forces Day! Here's 34 stunning images taken by military photographers

'Recon Patrols' (First Place: Combat Documentation, Operational)

Soldiers assigned to Palehorse Troop, 4th Squadron, 2nd Calvary Regiment move over rough terrain during Operation Alamo Scout 13, Kandahar Province, Afghanistan, on Feb. 10, 2014. The operation was a joint effort between Palehorse troops and the Afghan National Army's 205th Corps Mobile Strike Force to conduct reconnaissance patrols in villages around Kandahar Airfield.

'Wounded Warrior' (Second Place: Combat Documentation, Operational)

Casualties airlifted by an Afghan Air Force C-130 Hercules from a Taliban attack on Camp Bastion, are offloaded on Dec. 1, 2014 at Kabul International Airport. The Afghan military successfully repelled the attack on the camp after receiving control of the base from coalition forces a month earlier.

'Afghan Gunner' (Third Place: Combat Documentation, Operational)

An Afghan Air Force (AAF) Mi-17 aerial gunner fires an M-240 machine gun while flying over a weapons range March 13, 2014, near Kabul, Afghanistan. US Air Force Airmen from the 438th Air Expeditionary Wing/NATO Air Training Command-Afghanistan flew a night-vision goggle training mission with an AAF aircrew to further increase the operational capability of the AAF.

'Night Fire' (First Place: Combat Documentation, Training)

US Army Rangers assigned to 2nd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, fire a 120 mm mortar during a tactical training exercise on Camp Roberts, Calif. on Jan. 30, 2014.

'Land Nav' (Second Place: Combat Documentation, Training)

Sgt. Timothy Martin, a native of Waipahu, Hawaii, wheeled vehicle mechanic, Company B, 204th Brigade Support Battalion, 2nd Armoured Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, prepares to conduct night land navigation during the brigade's 3-day-long Soldier and NCO of the Year competition at Camp Buehring, Kuwait, on April 23, 2014.

'Dustoff! Dustoff!' (Third Place: Combat Documentation, Training)

US Army Soldiers assigned to the 3rd Squadron 17th Regiment are picked up by a blackhawk helicopter after participating in a survival, evasion, resistance and escape exercise during Decisive Action Rotation 14-09 at the National Training Center on Aug. 13, 2014. Decisive action rotations are reflective of the complexities of potential adversaries the US military could face and include training against guerilla, insurgent, criminal and near-peer conventional forces.

'Drown-proofing' (First Place: Feature)

Members of the Special Tactics Training Squadron enter a pool with their hands and feet bound. The drown-proofing exercise teaches students to remain calm in the water during stressful situations, skills that may prove vital during real-world operations.

'Retiring the colours' (Second Place: Feature)

Three 86th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron Airmen secure the American flag during the sounding of retreat on Ramstein Air Base, Germany, on June 27, 2014.

'Down and Dirty' (Third Place: Feature)

Staff Sgt. Kyle McGann, Explosive Ordnance Disposal technician, climbs into a Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected vehicle during EOD blast-pit training on March 16, 2014. Blast pit training prepares EOD technicians to handle detonations by practicing procedures and communications for real-world responses.

'The Reach' (First Place: Illustrative)

As the military's despcription of this photo puts it, 'Family and friends can be important influences in helping someone get treatment for mental health issues. Reaching out and letting them know you are there to help them is the first step.'

'Cyber Deception' (Second Place: Illustrative)

Per the military's description: 'Social media opens doors for meeting new people. However, are the people you meet who they say they are? The internet allows predators to use deception to take advantage of their victims.'

'The face of domestic violence' Third Place: Illustrative

This illustration is meant to show the effects of domestic violence. According to the Family Advocacy Program, more than 18,000 cases of domestic violence were reported in 2013.

''The Thunder Returns'' (First Place: News)

The US Air Force Thunderbirds fly the Delta formation over Falcon Stadium during the US Air Force Academy Graduation Ceremony on May 28, 2014.

'Remembering' (Second Place: News)

US Air Force Master Sgt. Tiffany Robinson, assigned to 449th Air Expeditionary Group, kneels in front of a battlefield cross following a Memorial Day ceremony at Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti, on May 26, 2014. The cross was created with combat gear representing each of the five US military branches, in commemoration of fallen service members.

'Coast Guard Memorial Day Weekend Rescue' (Third Place: News)

Petty Officer 3rd Class Joshua Zartman of Coast Guard Station Mayport, Florida, pulls 10-year-old Nmir Ali Mahmoud toward a Coast Guard boat while rescuing him, his father and another man who were stranded aboard their 21-foot boat after running it aground on top of a jetty near Mayport, May 24, 2014.

'Out of the Sea' (First Place: Pictorial)

A 22nd Special Tactics Squadron Airman climbs a ladder into a CH-47 Chinook helicopter hovering over the ocean on June 20, 2014.

'Sky Miles' (Second Place: Pictorial)

A US Marine assigned to Echo Company 4th Reconnaissance Battalion rappels out of a CH-46E Sea Knight helicopter at Camp Upshur, Marine Corps Base (MCB) Quantico Va., July 17, 2014. The training exercise was part of a week-long jump, dive, breach, and shooting package conducted around MCB Quantico.

'Assault overwatch' (Third Place: Pictorial)

US Army Rangers assigned to 2nd Battalion 75th Ranger Regiment prepare to lay cover fire for the assault element advancing on the objective during task force training on Fort Hunter Ligget, Calif. on Jan. 23, 2014.

'Survivor' (First Place: Picture Story)

Staff Sgt. Chantel Thibeaux was diagnosed with breast cancer in February 2014 during her very first class as an Air Force technical school instructor. With the support of her family, she was able to fight through a disease that claims the lives of thousands each year. As a US Air Force technical school instructor, Thibeaux has been charged to train the next generation of dental assistants.

'Becoming 'Semper Fidelis'' (Second Place: Picture Story)

US Marine Corps female recruits endure and conquer the Crucible, one of the toughest challenges a recruit will face during their 3-month boot camp at Parris Island, S.C., on Sept. 10, 2014. The women used teamwork, grit, and perseverance to earn the title of Marine and their emblem: the Eagle, Globe, and Anchor.

'Tenderfoot' (Third Place: Picture Story)

Per the military's description, 'Farrier Henry Heymeiring has been shoeing horses for more than 40 years, and describes the trade as an art. The foundation of Heymering's art is his love of the animal. A man of few words and many smiles, Heymeiring's smiles truly convey his passion for his work.'

'Loud and Clear' (First Place: Portrait)

US Air Force Staff Sgt. Nadia Rowell, health services management journeyman, 43rd Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron, Pope Army Airfield, N.C., stands for a portrait outside the aeromedical evacuation crew tent at Joint Readiness Training Center, Fort Polk, La., March 15, 2014. Service members at JRTC 14-05 are educated in combat patient care and aeromedical evacuation in a simulated combat environment.

'Game Time' (Second Place: Portrait_

A player for the Fort Dorchester High School Football team yells to motivate players in a hostile regional game against Bluffton High School at Bluffton High School Stadium, Oct. 24, 2014.

'The Army Chaplain' (Third Place: Portrait)

A Polish World War II re-enactor portrays an army chaplain with the 106th Infantry Division in the same forest the 106th fought in 70 years previously during the Battle of the Bulge, on Saturday, Dec. 13, 2014.

'Beyond' (First Place: Sports and Photo Of The Year)

US Air Force Capt. Sarah Evans jumps rope in a gym in San Antonio, Texas. Evans was diagnosed with cancer while deployed to Afghanistan and was medically evacuated back to the United States where her leg was amputated.

'Roar' (Second Place: Sports)

AFNORTH's Eliska Volencova reacts with teammates Erica Balkcum and Emma Rainer after coming back from 10 points to defeat Hohenfels 22-19 in the DODDS-Europe basketball championships Division III semi-final game Friday, Feb. 21, 2014.

Untitled (Third Place: Sports)

Cheerleaders from the University of Missouri gather prior to the start of the game against the University of South Carolina Sept. 27, 2014 in Columbia, S.C. Missouri won, 21-20.

Air Force Staff Sgt. Vernon Young won photographer of the year for the following photos: 'Timing' ...

A US Army soldier swings a golf club after duty on March 29, 2014.

'A Deeper Connection' ...

US Army Staff Sgt. Damion Kennedy shares a laughs with a local Afghan man as he provides overwatch for a base detail project on April 8, 2014.

'Low Pass' ...

US Air Force Tech. Sgt. Josh Martin, 438th Air Expeditionary Advisory Squadron, Mi-17 aerial gunner, provides rear security on a Mi-17 helicopter over Kabul, Afghanistan, on May 31, 2014.

'Faces of Afghanistan' ...

An Afghan man spends a moment alone inside the Afghan National Army (ANA) military planning room prior to serving tea to soldiers on June 11, 2014. The Afghan man provides drinks and cleaning supplies to soldiers as they transition in and out of the ANA command section.

'Afghan Air Force CASEVAC' ...

Per the military's description: 'Within two years, the Afghan air force has made significant improvements to their casualty evacuation capabilities, or CASEVAC, as they continue to take the lead and ownership of day-to-day operations. The aircrew is now working hand-in-hand with medical personnel to accomplish the mission. Since 2013, the number of AAF CASEVAC missions and rescues has quadrupled due to the addition of aircraft. The AAF is now training their personnel to ensure they are ready to step up when needed. Depending on the mission, an AAF aircrew member could be briefing the crew, distributing weight on the aircraft and ensuring each passenger is following guidelines set by the aircraft commander.'

'Transition Fun' ...

US Navy Lieutenant Jaclyn Trosper celebrates winning a card game on Feb. 17, 2014.

... and 'Beam Me Up.'

A US Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcon flies below a KC-135 Stratotanker while being in-air refueled, June 29, 2014. The F-16 Fighting Falcon is a compact, multi-role fighter aircraft. It is highly manoeuvrable and has proven itself in air-to-air combat and air-to-surface attack.

You've seen the best military photographs from 2014 ...

A U.S. Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcon with the 18th Aggressor Squadron flies through bad weather while conducting an air-to-air combat mission in support of Cope North 13 near Anderson Air Force Base, Guam, Feb. 12, 2013. Cope North is an annual air combat tactics, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief exercise designed to increase the readiness and interoperability of the U.S. Air Force, Japan Air Self-Defence Force and Royal Australian Air Force.

... Now check out the best photos from 2013»

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