The Most Incredible Photos Of America's Marines So Far This Year

Marines Corps Marine America

Photo: U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Kowshon Ye

Maybe I’m biased.The Marine Corps actually taught me, among other things, photography. Paid me for it, in fact.

I served four years as a Combat Correspondent — a Marine photojournalist — and saw a lot of places from behind a lens. I’ve been out for some time now, but  I’ve noticed that every year these photographers in uniform get better and better at documenting America’s Marines.

These images are from just the first three months of the year, and they’re so good I had to post them.

Marines throwing down during a gunfight in Afghanistan. Combat is loud. Marines are louder.

Boom! Marines practice tactical breaching to keep their skills sharp.

Mine Resistant Ambush Protected Vehicles have become a mainstay of the Marine Corps.

As has the Huey Helicopter. She's an oldie, but a goodie.

Anyone up for a boat ride?

The Marine Corps Martial Arts Program, or MCMAP, has remade the way the Corps conducts hand-to-hand combat.

Operators have to know how to insert themselves via helicopter, sometimes well within enemy territory.

Or they can just jump out of a perfectly good aeroplane — in this case a KC130.

ALL Marines have to pass swim qualifications — especially the one who don't know how to swim.

The Osprey has become almost as much of a symbol of the Marine Corps as the bulldog.

This Devil Pup here will grow into a good Marine. Every Marine Corps official bulldog has rank, and gets promoted, no different than any Marine.

I've flown in these bad boys a few times, over various countries. It's a trip every time.

Sgt. Le'Mon Eluett is one of Florida's top recruiters. It's a tough job, full of unsung heroes.

The softer side of the Marine Corps. Community outreach is key to keeping the Marine Corps alive.

Yes, rotor wash will do that to your legs no matter how toned you think they are.

Ammunition for M-series rifles comes in strips of 10. All Marines qualify with the rifle at least once a year.

Competitions keep Wounded Warriors sharp, but it also offers an outlet for frustrations.

Marine pilots specialize in close air support, which basically puts them lower and closer to the fight than any other service.

BOOM! I've heard most artillery guys are loud talkers because by the time they leave the Marines they can't hear anything.

Speaking of boom, without Explosive Ordnance Disposal (pictured here), there'd be a lot more unwelcomed explosions.

The Corps is certainly tough, but it's not all work and no play.

I mean, where else does a day at work entail eating snake?

Of course, there are those days when you wish you were somewhere else.

Like during one of the many conditioning hikes most Marines will do in their four years.

And field exercises are fun, once all the shooting starts.

Behind a bazooka is probably not the bet place to stand, but it does make for a good image. The back blast from any one of the Marines should fired weapons can kill.

Although not as many as the Army, the Marine Corps has a handful of tank companies.

These bad boys — Amphibious Assault Vehicles — have been a part of Marine Corps doctrine for decades.

Amphibious means both land and sea: Marine are currently in landlocked warfare in Afghanistan.

Running for cover, barely seen is the interpreter behind the Marine. He looks a little freaked out.

Marine swim quals have four basic designations, the highest of which is incredibly difficult.

Who could forget the Drill Instructors, the thing every Marine, regardless of their job, has in common.

You've seen the intimate side of the Marine Corps ...

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