Deployment Through The Lens of Zach

I debated including another deployment-related blog entry, especially after the pièce de résistance of the homecoming post. Two months have passed since Zach returned from Afghanistan, and it feels good to be done with that chapter in our lives! However, Zach finally shared his photos from the deployment (he accidentally left his camera at Camp Lejeune when he went home for post-deployment leave), and he was more than willing to let me post some of the pictures on the blog. So many of you kept up with the entire deployment journey; it only seems fitting that you get to see what everything was like through Zach's eyes :)

It's totally acceptable for you to be humming the opening song to The Lion King right now... :)

My favorite part of this picture is the Pashto symbol directly underneath the "Op" in "Operations." Epic smiley face :)

1st Battalion, 9th Marines

KITTY! This pretty little stray made its home in the armory & slept on the desk :)

"I basically made that entire roof." - Zach

Casually standing by the open hatch on the helicopter while thousands of feet in the air... no big deal.

[Story time: One of Zach's more frightening experiences of the deployment happened in mid-air while on one of these helicopters. They were flying over Afghanistan when they heard loud gunfire directly outside. It was undoubtedly a terrifying moment until they realized that they weren't being shot at... they just flew through an extremely large flock of birds that got chopped up in the engine. Knowing now that the entire 1/9 battalion came home without a single casualty, it's almost slightly funny. It's also really sad that all the birds were killed, but Zach assures me they were Taliban birds.]

The following two pictures were taken by other guys in Zach's unit:

My boyfriend being a super tough hardcore Marine...

...and my boyfriend being super emo/possibly sleeping? :)

All the pictures up to this point have been "Afghanistan-deployment" pictures. The rest of the pictures? They're "I-have-an-incredibly-artsy-girlfriend-and-her-photography-composition-style-has-rubbed-off-on-me" pictures. It's true: Zach is often with me when I'm taking pictures & after years together, our eye for photography is basically the same.

This one is by far my favorite; I absolutely LOVE it:

2-inch thick bullet-proof glass

I took a picture really similar to this the day that Zach deployed... except it was much less dusty!

We all know that I would totally be "that kid" who posed my rifle for artsy shots... soulmates :)

Afghan sunset
(Both this picture & the first picture are completely unedited, by the way. Legit straight from the camera to your screen. Insane.)

I figured you didn't want an entire post of "Marine + desert + heart" pictures, although there were certainly enough of them to fill the page :) I snuck one in, though, just in case you weren't already convinced of how awesome Zach is.

Okay, I snuck two in. He's precious -- you can't deny it :)