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The Boston Globe


Kevin Cullen

TJ and Finbarr: a friendship made in the desert

Friendship can bloom in the most barren of places, and for Finbarr O’Reilly and a US Marine squad leader named Sergeant Tom “TJ” Brennan, it bloomed three years ago in an isolated combat outpost in a godforsaken place called Kunjak, in Afghanistan’s ­Helmand Province.

O’Reilly is one of the most accomplished photojournalists of his generation, and he found himself embedded with 30 Marines on a hill overlooking a sandy desert. Brennan led the Third Platoon, Fourth Squad, of the First Battalion of the Eighth Marines.

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