The Defense Department has released its top picks for the most memorable images of 2012.
The more than 40 images include U.S. soldiers, jets and other military machinery, amputees, citizens in foreign countries and stray dogs. While some of the images call for laughter and awe, others call for sorrow and solemn reflection.
The images were chosen as winners, runners up and honorable mentions for the department’s Visual Information Awards Program in seven categories: Operational Combat, Combat Training, Hardware, News Photography, Pictorial, Portrait and Sports.
The program is ‘designed to recognize, reward and promote excellence among military photographers, videographers, journalists, broadcasters, photojournalists, graphic artists and mass communication specialists for their achievements in furthering the objectives of military photography, videography, and graphic arts,’ according to a Defense Department release.
Below are 20 select photos from the department’s picks for last years’ most visually striking military moments (not in order of ranking).
Candidates at the U.S. Marine Corps Officer Candidates School are tested with simulations of real field conditions at the at the Marine Corps Base in Virginia's Combat Course
Pfc. Nicolai 'Cola' Jensen lies in rest at the Church of St. Patrick as his girlfriend, Abby Cuttell, says goodbye
Jeremy Lock, MSgt, USAF, was named this year's Military Photographer of the Year for shots like this truck full of Mongolian soldiers driving to their base
Son, USAF Lt. Col. Robert Lock and his wife Chris comfort his mother Mary in her last moments at a nursing facility in Gloversville, New York
This image of Lance Cpl. Chuck Sketch, who lost his vision and both his legs battling cancer, and is competing against other Wounded Warriors in the 2012 Marine Corps Trials, took first place in the Portrait category
U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Kevin Preston cares for an Afghan local national in critical condition and set to be transported to a larger medical facility
U.S. Army Sgt. Fernando Diaz is blind folded and has ice cold water dumped over his head in a mock interrogation administered immediately before a 100-question test in the 2012 Pacific Regional Medical Command Best Medic Competition
Navy Search and Rescue swimmers wait in Coronado Bay, San Diego
Wounded warrior Cpl. Marcus Chischilly dives in at the start of the 50-meter race
A Prince George¿s County firefighter removes his breath apparatus after battling a house fire
Soldiers finish a day in the field at Minnesota's Camp Riley
U.S. Air Force 1st Lt. Drew Parks communicates with a U.S. Navy F/A-18 Super Hornet in Southwest Asia
A U.S. Army UH-60L Blackhawk takes off in Fairfield, Utah
An Afghan National Policeman is examined after being injured in an attack by a suicide bomber
An Afghan boy is tended to after severely cutting his foot on a bicycle wheel
A woman being treated at a Medical Civic Action Program collapses in Kenya
A Marine dog handler peers through a fence in Hawaii
U.S. Marine Lance Cpl. Brandon Mann and an improvised explosive device detection dog hunt and clear a hill for weapons, drugs and IED component caches on patrol in Sre Kala
An Afghan National Army soldier holds a poppy, a major source of funding for extremist groups
Medic Pfc. Kristina Batty wears a headscarf to meet with female Afghan villagers
Charlie Company recruits help a fellow recruit up an 8 foot wall at Parris Island, South Carolina
U.S. flags are placed above the graves at the Veterans Memorial Park in Utah
The Sanjaray bazaar in Kandahar, Afghanistan, is subjected to a site survey
Soldiers search a compound in Southern Afghanistan during a raid targeting a Taliban sub-commander