My Tour: Master Sgt. Jeremy Lock (Ret.) in Iraq

One man’s view of a conflict zone.

In August 2005, the U.S. Army’s 172nd Infantry Brigade deployed to Mosul, Iraq, a historically embattled city on the banks of the Tigris River, which in the years since the withdrawal of coalition forces has become an Islamic State stronghold. As a Stryker brigade, the 172nd specialized in mounted warfare, but its mission often required soldiers to patrol the perilously dense metropolis on foot, fighting street-to-street and house-to-house against a lethal patchwork of extremist militias. The deployment was grueling and protracted, extended at the very last minute from 12 to 16 months, and came at the cost of many American lives.

Jeremy Lock, an award-winning Air Force photojournalist who retired in 2013, was embedded with the 172nd to cover part of their tour. Some of the images he captured are currently on exhibit in Dallas, Tex., as part of a critically acclaimed photo series entitled Twenty-One, which covers Lock’s 21 years in the service, including multiple tours of duty in Iraq, Afghanistan and Africa. “They were a bunch of class act, mission-oriented soldiers,” Lock says of the 172nd, “and I was blessed to have spent some time with them.” This is his story.

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Photos by Master Sgt. Jeremy Lock (Ret.)