A Year at War

A Year at War

The First Battalion, 87th Infantry of the 10th Mountain Division, from Fort Drum N.Y., begins a year-long deployment to Kunduz Province – accompanied by videojournalists. (NYT)

This first chapter of a complex New York Times special project that will report on a group of American soldiers during their year away from home focuses on the emotional moments before their departure and their arrival at their base in Afghanistan. In vignettes, some soldiers worry about their families, or how they will handle combat. All of them wonder how the next year will change their lives.

The battalion’s mission is to train Afghan police, so the troops confront dangerous situations almost immediately — although serious combat still awaits them. A combination of video and still photography documents the swings between boredom and anxiety that define military life in a war zone. The centerpiece is accompanied by several stand-alone mini-features called “Moments,” where the troops are seen doing routine activities such as shaving, photographing camels and practicing their shooting skills. Additionally, there are mini-introductions to individual soldiers and their stories to be found in a separate group of shorts called “The Battalion.”

What sets this project apart from other war coverage to date is an attention to detail, and a focus on how the ordinary becomes extraordinary under combat circumstances. It promises to be a compelling report that viewers will want to spend some time with.

CHANNEL: New York Times

Length: 7:51

Reporting: James Dao
Photography and Videography: Damon Winter
Additional Videography: Rob Harris