Arts, Culture & Media

A famous Iraq photo

(Why don't you describe the photo for us?) It shows JD in his full military uniform and he's cradling in his arms an injured Iraqi boy who was four at the time. His leg was tied in a blood-soaked rag. (What happened?) There was a doctor who had set up a field hospital. JD's unit had been fighting the whole night and a tank had fallen into a river, it was a chaotic night and it ended with the US soldiers fighting behind this village which was then attacked and that's how this boy got injured. So they set up a quick little hospital to treat the boy and his mother and then a Red Crescent vehicle came and took both the boy and his mother away. (So when did the photo run and what was the reaction of JD himself?) Right after the photo was taken the unit was going forward again and I realized I didn't have that medic's name. and originally his commanding officer got his name wrong so media all around the world wanted to talk to him and the command put out a call for this incorrect name and so of course no one showed up until they figured out his name was really Joseph Dwyer. He was from Mt. Zion, NY. (He eventually left the military and you're now a lawyer and you've been hearing off and on from JD.) Yes, we've exchanged emails over the years and originally he inquired about how the Iraqi kid was doing. On my second trip to Iraq we did a follow up on the kid. JD also had some nice words for me, thanking me for the photo and that the unit appreciated my work. (The wrap was that he didn't like the fame that the photo had brought him.) Yes, and his mother said that to me, but I think his shame was that there were others doing the exact same work as him and he ended up being the guy that was in the photo and that was the point I tried to make in my story. (Tell us about what did happen to JD then.) He died from substance abuse but it was really linked to his struggles with PTSD. Everyone said JD never really came home from Iraq, and there was an instance in his apartment in Texas where he started shooting the door because he thought there were Iraqi fighters outside and clearly it never came together for him. (The photo at the time was iconic and it sounds like it still is.) I shy from the word �iconic,� but I do think it's representative of the initial invasion and I think it's also representative of the wounded soldiers mentally and physically.

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