The Final Trip Home of Pfc. Aaron Toppen

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On June 9, 2014, during a security operation in southern Afghanistan, a unit of U.S. and Afghan soldiers was hit by a friendly fire airstrike, killing five Americans and one Afghan. One of the Americans was 19-year-old Private First Class Aaron Toppen, of Mokena, Illinois. A series of memorials and transfers then began, to return his body home to the U.S. for burial — a sequence of events carried out some 2,200 times since the start of the war in Afghanistan. Once his remains arrived in Chicago, Getty Images photographer Scott Olson stayed with the family through the processions, visitations, services, and burial, documenting the final journey of one of the most recent soldiers to have died in Afghanistan. Pfc. Toppen, who had always wanted to join the Army, signed on last July, and had only arrived in Afghanistan this March.

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