This series of photographs of Helmand Province from the air were taken during Associated Press photographer Kevin Frayer's embed in January 2011 with the service members of Charlie Company, 214th Combat Aviation Brigade, also known as "Dustoff".<!-- more -->
Frayer explains how he was able to see Afghanistan, literally from another perspective. "Gazing from the window of a U.S. Army Blackhawk medevac helicopter, Helmand province struck me as so very different from what I had seen and experienced on the ground. Places you know are dangerous appear benign, almost peaceful, and a stark contrast to what I had seen during previous trips to Afghanistan's volatile south. Visually, from that vantage point it seems an idyllic place where rural people just seem to be going about their business, stuck in time. Life appears so simple and distant. Then, suddenly you are doing a hard landing into an area as Marines and US Army medics rush their latest combat injured into the chopper. Seconds later, dust swirls and rotor blades thump as the helicopter launches once again, carrying the war's wounded across the landscape that only moments before appeared so harmless."