Even before soldiers were screaming, "Contact. Contact. Contact," Army Spc. Zachary Boyd of Fort Worth knew there was trouble outside Firebase Restrepo.
The tip was gunfire echoing across the Korengal Valley of eastern Afghanistan, near the border with Pakistan. That day in April, Taliban fighters ambushed a patrol of U.S. soldiers as they scrambled to get back "inside the wire."
Boyd, 20, who had just gone to bed, grabbed his helmet and M4 carbine but not his pants. He positioned himself with fellow Viper Company troops at a wall, scanning for targets.
"The Taliban’s favorite maneuver is to ambush," Boyd recalled. So the soldiers responded with "a lot of suppressive fire."
They weren’t mindful of a camera shutter clicking away as they poured machine-gun fire and mortar rounds into the valley.
So Boyd was captured by photographer David Guttenfelder of The Associated Press as he fought the Taliban in pink boxers decorated with the slogan "I Love New York" and a bright, red Woolley’s Frozen Custard T-shirt under his flak jacket.
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