Dwyer On Duty
Dwyer served in Iraq with Third Squadron, Seventh Cavalry Regiment as the unit headed into Baghdad at the beginning of the war. He later told Newsday that only four of the 21 days they fought lacked gunfire. The day before Warren Zinn snapped his photo for Military Times, Dwyer's Humvee™ had been hit by a rocket.
Becoming a Hero
About 500 Iraqis were killed. Dwyer watched as Ali's family near the village of Al Faisaliah was caught in the crossfire. He grabbed the four-year-old boy from his father and sprinted with him to safety. Zinn grabbed the moment on his camera. The image went nationwide and Dwyer was hailed as a hero.
It's not clear that therapy and medication could have saved PFC Dwyer. He admitted lying on a post-deployment questionnaire about what he had seen and suffered because he just wanted to get back to his family. Ms. Minor said he sometimes skipped therapy appointments in El Paso. One thing that did seem to help, Ms. Knapp and Ms. Minor said, was peer counseling from a fellow veteran.
On June 28, Dwyer, 31, died of an accidental overdose in his home in Pinehurst, North Carolina, after years of struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder. During that time, his marriage fell apart as he spiraled into substance abuse and depression. He found himself constantly struggling with the law, even as friends, Veterans Affairs personnel, and the Army tried to help him.