Defense Department photographer Robert D. Ward took this photo of Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld working at his desk, May 31, 1976. Rumsfeld, at age 43, was the youngest man to serve as the secretary of defense. Returning to the post in 2001, he also became the oldest, at age 69. Ward retired Dec. 30, 2011, after spending decades as an official photographer to 12 secretaries of defense, including Rumsfeld twice.
DOD photo by R. D. Ward
The Royal Canadian Navy submarine HMCS Victoria awaits a deperming treatment in the magnetic silencing facility on U.S. Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor in Bangor, Wash., Dec. 13, 2011. Deperming reduces a ship's electromagnetic signature as it travels through the water.
U.S. Navy photo by Lt. Ed Early
U.S. Army Chief of Staff Gen. Raymond T. Odierno's flight arrives at Baghdad International Airport, Baghdad, Dec. 22, 2011.
U.S. Army photo by John D. Helms
U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Jim Huggins and Air Force Brig. Gen. Scott L. Dennis, commanding general, Kandahar Airfield, greet U.S. Army Chief of Staff Gen. Raymond T. Odierno, upon his arrival at Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan, Dec. 20, 2011.
Huggins is commanding general, 82nd Airborne Division and Regional Command,
U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Amanda M. Hils
U.S. Marine Corps Cpl. James Hernandez offers a word of encouragement and motivation to the Marines under his charge on Firebase Saenz in Afghanistan's Helmand province, Dec. 14, 2011. Flores is a combat engineer assigned to Alpha Company, 9th Engineer Support Battalion. The firebase is the first of several patrol bases being demilitarized by the Marines in December.
U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Bryan Nygaard
U.S. Army Spc. Jason Bruno secures an area during an assessment of the local bazaar in the Shah Joy district of Zabul province, Afghanistan, Dec. 7, 2011. Bruno is a rifleman assigned to Provincial Reconstruction Team Zabul.
U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Grovert Fuentes-Contreras
U.S. Marines perform maintenance on a CH-53E Super Stallion aboard the USS Makin Island under way in the Pacific Ocean, Dec. 20, 2011. The Makin Island is on its maiden deployment conducting operations in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of responsibility. U.S. sailors and Marines assigned to the USS Abraham Lincoln, the USS Carl Vinson and the USS Makin Island performed several operations between Dec. 13 and Dec. 20, 2011, while under way in the Pacific Ocean.
U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Alan Gragg
U.S. Marine Corps Sgts. Autumn Sekely, right, and Jessica Lugo, left, provide support for a patrol in the Sangin district of Afghanistan's Helmand province, Dec. 7, 2011. Sekely and Lugo are assigned to 2nd Marine Division, Female Engagement Team 6, and provide support to Weapons Company, 3rd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment.
U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Katherine Keleher