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Winners Gallery | Newspaper Photographer of the Year | AWARD OF EXCELLENCE
Award of Excellence
Rick Loomis
Los Angeles Times

"In Defense of America"

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Drawn to serve, sworn to protect and attracted to the ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, three friends embarked on a journey that changed them from boys into Marines. While most other graduates from their middle class neighborhood of Santa Clarita, Ca. opted for college, Daryl, Daniel and Steven headed into a local recruiters office and signed up to be infantry Marines, also known as grunts. The comforts of home were traded in for rigorous physical challenges and the mental preparation for real combat. Directly after boot camp Daryl was sent into Afghanistan amid a growing insurgency where 19 of his comrades were killed during their tour. Steven was eventually dispatched to Iraq and Daniel still hopes for deployment into a war zone. All three are respected in their community for their commitment to serve in such a dangerous capacity.

Daryl Crookston, Daniel Motamedi, and Steven Dellinger kill time in the mall in between graduating from high school and their date to enter boot camp. The three were looking forward to the challenges of the experience and move into a new phase of their lives.



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