1st Annual Photo Contest: Military

Bill Boswell
FINALIST: Military Category
Douglas C-117 wreckage in Iceland.
Southern coast of Iceland • Photographed June 2012

"In 1973," says Boswell, "a Douglas C-117 ran out of fuel in bad weather, and had to crash land on the black sand a little west of Vik, Iceland."
Bruce Croft
FINALIST: Military Category
Four of the five Lockheed P-38s flown at the Planes of Fame Airshow, Chino, CA.
Planes of Fame Airshow, Chino, California • Photographed May 2013

"I went to the 2013 Planes of Fame Airshow in part to photograph this gathering of aircraft," says Croft. "It is rare to have the privilege of standing next to a huddle of P-38 Lightnings as they seemingly reminisce about old times. Among these four of the world's remaining seven operational aircraft—giants of their day—one is confronted with the realization that the term 'Greatest Generation" applies not merely to men, but also to their machines."
Bob Geenen
FINALIST: Military Category
P-40 Warhawk against fiery wall
EAA AirVenture, Appleton, Wisconsin • Photographed August 2013

"I'm a former NASA engineer," says Geenen, "and a huge fan of the Experimental Aircraft Association, where this photo was taken. I go to Oshkosh every year, and the warbird pyrotechnics show is one of the highlights. You have to time the photograph just right before the fireballs all turn black."
Colin McDonald
FINALIST: Military Category
A USAF HH-60G Pave Hawk launches on an alert scramble from an operating base in Afghanistan with only moments notice to rescue critically wounded soldiers from the battlefield during an active fire fight.
Afghanistan • Photographed July 2013

"I was deployed as an HH-60G PaveHawk pilot with a unit providing around-the-clock combat search-and-rescue and casualty evacuation coverage to southern Afghanistan," says McDonald. "My crew had just come off a shift during which we had flown a mission to rescue a critically wounded foreign soldier. Shortly after swapping-out with our other shift, a mission dropped in support of critically wounded U.S. Marines in an area of significant enemy fire. This mission drove a 'scramble' launch in which the aircraft were airborne within a matter of minutes, and headed immediately into a hostile location. Hearing the scramble call come over the radio, I ran to the nearest defensive fighting position—also known as a foxhole—to get a lower perspective, while the crews sprinted to the aircraft. I wanted to document the aggressive power-pull and nose-over to expedite the launch."
David Becker
FINALIST: Military Category
MiG-15 Departs St. George, Utah Airport.
St. George, Utah • Photographed February 2011

This photograph was taken at the "old" St. George Airport, says Becker. "The MiG 15 was one of the last aircraft to depart the old St. George Airport for the new airport, which is located five miles to the southeast. The MiG 15 is owned by the Western Sky Aviation Warbird Museum in St. George, Utah."
Kirk Kilfoyle
FINALIST: Military Category
The U.S. Navy Blue Angels flight demonstration team breaking formation.
Naval Air Station, Key West, Florida • Photographed March 2013

"The Blue Angels came across show-center in a four-plane diamond formation and executed a starburst maneuver as they came out of the sun relative to my position on the ground," says Kilfoyle. "I had been shooting their high-speed passes with high shutter speeds, hoping to stop the action and catch some condensation coming off of the wingtips. As luck would have it, the diamond formation crossed right in front of the sun. The photograph is important to me because it conveys the speed and precision with which the U.S. Navy flight demonstration team is known for around the world, and the amazing capabilities of modern fighter aircraft."
Michael Cleaver
FINALIST: Military Category
P-47 Thunderbolt 'Snafu' lands after displaying at Duxford, England.
Duxford, England • Photographed July 2013

"This image was taken at Duxford's 'Flying Legends' air show in England," says Cleaver. "I attended the show to see this particular P-47 Thunderbolt. It is one of only two Curtiss-built examples in the world. It's a classic American design, and is an unusual subject to see on the UK air show circuit. I also learned that this particular airframe had been sold abroad, and this was one of the last opportunities to see 'Snafu' flying in the UK."
Tad Hetu
FINALIST: Military Category
A 1944 Beechcraft C-45 reflects the setting sun.
Reno, Nevada • Photographed September 2012

"As the events of the National Championship Air Races concluded for the day," says Hetu, "it grew darker, and most of the aircraft faded. This old Beech C-45 with its highly polished aluminum finish, however, seemed to grow in clarity in the sunset."
Melanie Bright
FINALIST: Military Category
A-10s popping flares over Afghanistan for a KC-135 Boom Operator
Afghanistan • Photographed September 2012

After Airman First Class Bright finished refueling two A-10s over Afghanistan, the "Hawg" pilots popped flares for her before returning to their airspace to resume their armed over-watch.

Thank you to everyone who entered a photograph or voted for a favorite in our Readers' Choice category. See our 2013 winners here. The CivilianPeople & Planes, and Spacecraft category finalists are found here. In February, we'll post information on our 2014 photo contest.

Get the latest stories in your inbox every weekday.