At the Nux4Life website, there is a t-shirt for sale as a fundraiser. You can buy it here. As with any image, there is a story to be told. Why people are standing the way they are, what is in the background, and how did the image come to be.
This tale is told as best as one man can remember it. The story behind this image is both harrowing and testicularly-enhancing. The Marines of 3rd Battalion, Seventh Marines had essentially entered into a solid week of sphincter-puckering fighting in the town of Musah Quelah, Helmend Province, Afghanistan. Skull-stomping infantrymen had been engaged with a determined and prepared enemy. Kilo Company was viciously locking and popping their way through the area when they found themselves engaged on multiple sides from a large force.
No slouches were they, but there was a generous sentiment to share the battle with any of their brothers up for the task.
Enter the Shadow.
The Scout Snipers of “Shadow Two” burrowed their way once more unto the breach to share in the fun. One member of that team was the reason this organization of Nux4Life exists. Cpl. Claudio Patino and his fellow death dealing sex-tornado snipers stacked alongside their brave brothers of Kilo Company for the next few hours. Time and war found the eight-man sniper team eventually separated from the main body of Marines, each intent on getting those sweet, sweet notches on his gun.
A red sun drifted to the horizon as the firefight continued. The Kilo Marines were dropping empty magazines faster than their cheating girlfriends, and still the bad guys kept shooting. A commotion to the western horizon drew their eyes. Eventually each Marine glanced to a lone hilltop to see the American flag waving from a transformer pole in the rocket’s red glare, with bombs literally bursting in air.
The fierce morale of the warrior was lifted when the Kilo Marines saw the Stars and Stripes in the distance. The phrase, “That’s f*cking awesome,” made its way through their ranks at the spectacular bravery of that small team of men. The picture in the t-shirt was taken by one of the Kilo Marines. Patino is in it.
The battle was won.
One day later, two taliban made their way to that hilltop to lay a booby-trap at the site of the flag raising. They were found, and efficiently engaged by an element of the Shadow sniper team. It was an engagement which would claim the life of our brother, Claudio Patino. He died on the exact same spot that he raised the flag, and he passed from this world leaving a legacy of strength, cunning, skill, and bravery.
It was an honor to know such a man.