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People wait for the bus close to Penn Station in New York City. Two combat vets and two journalists (and a dog) walked along the Amtrak rail lines from Washington, D.C. to Philadelphia to Pittsburgh over the course of a year. Through the heat and summer and the bitter cold of winter, sleeping in the woods and under bridges and in abandoned buildings, buying food as they went and bathing in rivers and cooking on open fires and getting their water from streams, these four men set out to encounter America. All of them had been in a lot of combat, all of them had lost close friends, and all of them had decided to come home. The question that they were trying to answer - over the course of four hundred miles - is why that is so hard to do.
People wait for the bus close to Penn Station in New York City. Two combat vets and two journalists (and a dog) walked along the Amtrak rail lines from Washington, D.C. to Philadelphia to Pittsburgh over the course of a year. Through the heat and summer and the bitter cold of winter, sleeping in the woods and under bridges and in abandoned buildings, buying food as they went and bathing in rivers and cooking on open fires and getting their water from streams, these four men set out to encounter America. All of them had been in a lot of combat, all of them had lost close friends, and all of them had decided to come home. The question that they were trying to answer - over the course of four hundred miles - is why that is so hard to do.Guillermo Cervera—HBO
People wait for the bus close to Penn Station in New York City. Two combat vets and two journalists (and a dog) walked along the Amtrak rail lines from Washington, D.C. to Philadelphia to Pittsburgh over the course of a year. Through the heat and summer and the bitter cold of winter, sleeping in the woods and under bridges and in abandoned buildings, buying food as they went and bathing in rivers and cooking on open fires and getting their water from streams, these four men set out to encounter America. All of them had been in a lot of combat, all of them had lost close friends, and all of them had decided to come home. The question that they were trying to answer - over the course of four hundred miles - is why that is so hard to do.
New York City
Somewhere in Pennsylvania
Restaurant in Chester, PA
Baptist church in south D.C.
New York City
Amish kids somewhere in Lancaster, PA
Somewhere in the outskirts of Philadelphia
Washington D.C., Presidents Church, Saint John's Episcopal Church
Train somewhere in PA
A woman hangs out in front of her house in Baltimore
Power plant, Wilmington, DE
Baltimore
Daisy dog plays with a stick in the Delaware River
Familly at their house in Baltimore
Parking lot somewhere in Pennsylvania
A bar somewhere in Abingdon, Maryland
Delaware River
Church in Chestnut Hill, Philadelphia
Children play in a playground in Harrisburg, PA
People wait for the bus close to Penn Station in New York City. Two combat vets and two journalists (and a dog) walked a
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Guillermo Cervera—HBO
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Battle-Scarred: Sebastian Junger's Last Patrol Premieres on HBO

Nov 10, 2014

The Last Patrol, Sebastian Junger’s third and final chapter in a trilogy of films about war and its devastating effects on soldiers, came to fruition after he and documentary photographer Tim Hetherington made plans to walk from Washington D.C. to New York City along railroad lines.

The trip would mimic the long patrols both men were accustomed to when covering the war in Afghanistan, on embeds with the U.S. military. The only difference being that they wouldn’t be shot at, wouldn’t have to run for cover, wouldn’t fall into an ambush.

Their trip never came to be. In April 2011, Hetherington was killed in Misrata, Libya, while covering the people’s uprising against their dictator, Muammar Gaddafi.

Washington, D.C. Amtrak Guillermo Cervera—HBO 

Hetherington’s death shocked an entire industry of journalists and photographers, and convinced some of them to give up on war, Junger included.

This year, Junger went on that “last patrol”, reigniting the plans he had made with his friend and colleague to walk along America’s railways. Accompanied by combat veterans Brendan O’Byrne, who appeared in Junger’s Restrepo, and Dave Roels, as well as Spanish photographer Guillermo Cervera, who witnessed Hetherington’s death, he walked from Washington D.C. to Philadelphia and to Pittsburgh.

Together, the four men, all war veterans in their own ways, discussed “why combat is so incredibly hard to give up,” they say. The resulting documentary, which chronicles their “last patrol” premieres on Monday, November 10 on HBO.

The Last Patrol by Sebastian Junger is available on HBO and HBO GO from November 10 at PM (CET).

An exhibition of Guillermo Cervera’s images from The Last Patrol and from 20 years of documenting armed conflicts and social issues around the world is on show at Anastasia Photo in New York City.

Phil Bicker, who edited this photo essay, is a senior photo editor at TIME.

Olivier Laurent is the editor of TIME LightBox. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram @ olivierclaurent

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