Some of the men and women fighting America's war in Iraq and Afghanistan get a two-week vacation from battle. They visit family, eat great meals,drink a few beers, but in the end they have to return  --a war awaits them.

After reading a newspaper article about these honor-bound soldiers flying back to Iraq from nearby Baltimore/Washington International Airport, photographer Scott Robinson was intrigued with the idea of documenting these unknown, unnamed American heroes as they quietly shipped out.

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“There were no obstacles – everyone from the Army Public Affairs office to the airport facilities people wanted to help,” said Scott. So in late 2003, in a corner of the airport terminal, he set up a simple white seamless background and a few lights. He invited soldiers to step in front of his camera for a quick portrait before they boarded their plane for the Middle East.

The stark, minimalist images that Scott created are arresting, even haunting. The faces of these heroes—faces mostly young, but also old, faces black and white and just about every shade in between—make real these soldiers’ sacrifice.

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U.S. Senator John Warner (Ret), the former Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, was so taken with the photos that he sponsored a weeklong public exhibition of them in the US Capitol Complex. Defense contractor Lockheed Martin underwrote the event.