A Farewell to a Fallen Service Member

A year after the U.S. lifted the ban on media coverage of the return of dead service members, a rare glimpse into the final journey of a fallen soldier

Peter van Agtmael/Magnum for Time

Sandi Rickets at the viewing of her son Staff Sergeant William "Seth" Ricketts, killed during an insurgent ambush in Afghanistan.

On February 27, Staff Sergeant William "Seth" Ricketts, 27, was killed by small-arms fire in Badghis province, a remote and previously uncontested area of western Afghanistan that has recently seen an upsurge of violence. On his fifth tour since joining the Army the day after 9/11, he became the 997th U.S. casualty in the war, according to Pentagon records.

The temporary coffin carrying Ricketts arrived at Dover Air Force Base on March 2. (The body of Specialist Ian Gelig, also killed in Afghanistan, arrived on the same plane.) Dover is the first stop for dead soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan,...

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