Michael Yon is an independent journalist, and former Green Beret, who has spent more time embedded with American and British units in Iraq and Afghanistan than any other human being. His latest dispatch contains some remarkable photography and a remarkable tribute.
He took these photographs of landing and idling Chinook helicopters at night, using very high-end kit:
As you can see, he's identified a stunning visual effect in these photos. It is "a result of static electricity created by friction as titanium/nickel blades move through the air and dust." But none of the pilots he spoke to had a name for it.
Interspersed with the photos, he also tells the story of how one of these helicopters flew to the rescue of a twice-ambushed British patrol, in which three soldiers were killed.
Mark, he adds, had especially liked the first of the three photos above.
He also tells the stories of two corporals, one American, one British, who were killed within a day of each other. Corporal Benjamin Kopp, of the 75th Ranger Regiment, died at age 21, a veteran with three combat tours. He was laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery. "Yet the effect of Corporal Kopp," Yon writes,
Yon also attended a ceremony for Corporal Joseph Etchells, who was killed the day after Kopp:
Michael Yon decided to call the ghostly sparking whorls of the helicopter blades at night: The Kopp-Etchells effect.
His original piece on this has many more of these amazing photos, and more heart-rending reporting, and is well worth reading.