Atten-shun! These are the US army’s best photographs of 2021

The US army has revealed its best photographs of 2021, from live-fire training in Syria to parachute exercises in Hawaii. 

The images feature all areas of the US military’s operations, including grueling training exercises testing the mettle of its new recruits, to live operations such as the evacuation of Kabul following the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan.

In one of the most memorable images, Major General Chris Donahue, commanding general of the 82nd Airborne Division, is seen boarding a C-17 aircraft at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul on Aug 30, 2021. Gen Donahue was the final American service member to leave Afghanistan, and his departure closed the US mission to evacuate American citizens and vulnerable Afghans.

Soldiers, some in full kit and carrying their weapons, take part in a 5km training run as a preparation for jungle training at a US military base in Hawaii

Army Major General Chris Donahue steps on board a military plane as the last US service member to leave Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul in August


In one scene showing that war can be a dirty business, a solider is pictured taking part in a "ghillie wash" at the US Army Sniper School at Fort Benning in Georgia. 

A sniper’s ghillie suit is their most important piece of equipment aside from their rifle, and is essential for camouflage and stealth. The students spend several weeks developing their suits before putting them to the test in a ritual known as the "ghillie wash". 

A soldier participates in a 'ghillie wash' at Fort Benning in Georgia

Credit: US Army / SWNS

Other picturesque scenes include soldiers taking part in a parachute jump at Schofield Barracks in Hawaii as part of Tropic Lightning Week – a week-long event comprising competitive tasks between battalions throughout the 25th Infantry Division.

A US soldier helps a Dutch paratrooper control his parachute in the Netherlands during Falcon Leap – a multinational parachute training exercise – in September

Credit: US Army / SWNS

A soldier fires a 120mm mortar during a live-fire exercise at Camp Roberts, California

Credit: US Army / SWNS

A soldier kneels on the ramp of a Chinook as they look out over the Alaskan wilderness

Credit: US Army / SWNS

Soldiers fire illumination rounds from a 120mm mortar during live-fire training in Syria

Credit: US Army / SWNS

A soldier from the Sugar Bears of B Company, 52nd Aviation Regiment, is seen kneeling on the ramp of a Chinook looking out over the Alaskan wilderness. 

Other soldiers are seen firing illumination rounds from a 120mm mortar during live-fire training in Syria. 

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