Archive for national guard

On Assignment: Suicide in the National Guard for the New York Times

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on August 4, 2009 by jeremymlange


HQ of the 1451st Transportation Company, Boone, NC.


Lawrence Parker is the father of 1st Sergeant Roger Parker, who took his own life after returning from Iraq and losing 2 of the men in his unit.


Jennifer Wilson is the younger sister of Sgt. Jeff Wilson, who committed suicide after the deaths of 2 men in his unit in Iraq.


A memorial for the fallen soldiers from the 1451st Transportation Company, Boone, NC.


Elaine Hafner is the mother of Sgt. Jeff Wilson, who committed suicide after returning from Iraq and losing 2 friends just weeks before the end of their tour.

A few months ago, I worked on a story for the New York Times about a North Carolina National Guard unit, the 1451st Transportation Company, out of Boone, that had 4 of their soldiers commit suicide after returning from a tour in Iraq where they lost 2 men less than 2 weeks before returning home. The story focuses primarily on Sgt. Jacob Blaylock, but I met with the father, mother and sister of 2 of the fallen soldiers, 1st Sgt. Roger Parker and Sgt. Jeff Wilson, all of whom reside in western North Carolina. It was one of the hardest stories I have worked on from an emotional stand point. Even a year or more after the deaths of their children, the parents and siblings still have a pronounced sense of loss and some anger as to why their sons and brother were not better looked after by the Army. Not enough counseling or mental care and contact after they returned from war after losing 2 friends just weeks before heading home.

I just want to thank the Hafners, Parkers and Wilsons for inviting me to their homes to share their stories about their sons and brothers with me. Without strong families like them, these men would have been all the more lost and I hope this story will help the military get a handle on what they need to do to keep this from happening again.

Read it all here, see the slideshow here, more photos here.

See more photos related to the effects of the wars in the Middle East on the US here.



Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on July 9, 2009 by jeremymlange


Waiting for the services to begin for NC National Guardsman Sgt. Robert L. Bittiker to start, Jacksonville, NC.

It has been interesting shooting photos on the phone, like everyone else theses days, but occasionally I get something I never thought I had, a surprise of sorts. Processed to look like everyone’s favorite party favor, but the colors look good and somehow they seem lighter than the photos from the “real cameras” even under circumstances I would not wish on anyone. Trying it out in the down time, the waiting.

NC National Guard Deploys to Iraq

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on April 17, 2009 by jeremymlange

Several hundred members of the 30th Brigade Heavy Combat Team of the North Carolina National Guard left for Iraq last night. About 4000 members will be heading over in the next week or so for a 12 month tour. Been following these men and women for a while now as they prepared to go, training, back home, out for more training. Is seems to me especially tough for those families of Guardspeople when they go overseas. Not what many had signed up for, but they go none the less, as their duty dictates. The NCNG took heavy casualties in their last deployment so I hope that these men and women make it back unscathed. It will be one more chapter in my project on the effects of the wars in the Middle East on those left at home, as well as the lasting effects on the soldiers and Marines who serve. Other chapters can be seen on my website or for full edits please go to the archive. A few photos below




New Stories for an almost New Year

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on December 19, 2008 by jeremymlange

I have just added 2 new stories to my website.

As promised, a larger edit of the NC Christmas Tree story is there and the story on semi pro football. Look under the stories section of the site for the full picture. The tree story is also featured at the Independent Weekly, where I work month on, month off.

Also, my new customized archive site is up at Photoshelter. I can not say enough about the folks over there, who have always been helpful and continually bring new additions to the site. See John’s blog for more info on what they have going on. Good stuff.

You will also see in the “Recent Work” opening section of my site a photo of Patricia and Mike Swygert.


Patricia is part of the North Carolina National Guard is is leaving for Iraq soon. Mike and Patricia were nice enough to talk to me for a bit after the photo was shot and we are in touch about future developments. It always amazes me how willing people are to stop and tell you a little bout what they are about, even during an emotional event like this.

The photo is part of my ongoing project, as of now titled “The War at Home” which is an attempt to show the effects of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan from the standpoint of those at home, here in NC and the US. Take a look through the galleries and let me know what you think. I hope I do them all justice.

Have a Happy New Year if I am not back until then.