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Photographer reunited with Marine injured in Afghanistan

AP photographer Anja Niedringhaus photographed a Marine medevacked from Afghanistan with severe injuries in June. After months of searching for him to find out what happened, they were finally reunited in December. She showed him her photos from that day and brought with her a piece of wheat she'd plucked from his uniform and saved.

From Anja's story:

Anja Niedringhaus / AP

Cpl. Burness Britt reacts after seeing pictures of his evacuation laid out on his bed in the Hunter Holmes Medical Center in Richmond, Va., Dec. 13. Britt is facing a long recovery after a large piece of shrapnel from an IED in Afghanistan in June 2011 cut a major artery on his neck. During his first operation in Afghanistan he suffered a stroke and became partially paralyzed.

Sitting on his bed, he looked at me and asked: "Did you bring some pictures with you?" He wanted to see those moments in the helicopter.

He studied each photo. When he looked up, he had tears in his eyes. "Thank you so much," he said.

I pointed to one of the pictures with the piece of wheat. I told him I had brought it with me. He couldn't believe it.

Anja Niedringhaus / AP

United States Marine Cpl. Burness Britt reacts after being lifted onto a medevac helicopter from the U.S. Army's Task Force Lift "Dust Off," Charlie Company 1-214 Aviation Regiment, June 4, 2011. Britt was wounded in an IED strike near Sangin, in the Helmand Province of southern Afghanistan.

He was leading a group of 10 Marines through a wheat field when there was an explosion. He doesn't know how far away, maybe a few yards. He was thrown into the air, and landed with a thump in the field, a searing hot pain raging in his neck. He had been hit by a huge piece of shrapnel from a bomb and a major artery was cut.

Anja Niedringhaus / AP

Cpl. Burness Britt points to the scar on his head in his room in the Hunter Holmes Medical Center in Richmond, Va., Dec. 13.

Anja Niedringhaus / AP

Cpl. Burness Britt walks on the grounds of the Hunter Holmes Medical Center in Richmond, Va., Dec. 13, wearing a helmet protecting his head after part of his skull had been removed.

Anja Niedringhaus / AP

Cpl. Burness Britt tries to lift a ball with his right hand during a therapy session at the Hunter Holmes Medical Center in Richmond, Va., Dec. 13,

His speech comes with a great deal of difficulty these days, and sometimes he is hard to understand. During the many surgeries that followed his injury, he had a major stroke and is partially paralyzed on his right side.

His smile, though, is unchanged. The nurses at the Hunter Holmes Medical Center in Richmond, where we met for the first time since the helicopter ride, call him "Sunshine" because their youngest patient is always joking and in a good mood.

Read the full story.