Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Mission: Iraq

Not me; I should be so useful.

A local radio reporter/show co-host (Steffan Tubbs, Colorado's Morning News, 5-9am, 850 KOA AM, Denver CO) has been in Iraq since the beginning of March, giving listeners to the 50,000 watt "blowtorch" of the West a personal and no-spin view of the on-the-ground situation in Iraq, as the 3rd anniversary of the invasion and overthrow of Saddam Hussein is upon us.

I told Steffan in an email (we've never met, but we exchanged correspondence during another of his earlier assignments at a domestic warzone: Oklahoma City, April 1995) that he's nuts: volunteering to go to such a hot zone as Iraq, leaving behind a wife, kids and nice, safe gig in Denver. I told him he's the same kind of nuts that Walter Cronkite was, riding a glider into Holland with the Operation Market-Garden American paratroopers during WW II; that Andy Rooney was, riding along in B-17s and B-24s during bombing missions over France and Germany, seeing the airwar up close and almost too personal; that AP's Larry Allen was, having survived the sinkings of 8 warships he recorded the war from; that Ernie Pyle was, who told the GI's story from Africa thru France, only to go off to the Pacific to tell the stories of the Marines, soldiers, sailors and airmen serving there, and dying on Okinawa so that the American public would know the pride and the pain of the combat soldier as he lived it. The same kind of nuts that defined Gene and Charlie Jones, Marguerite Higgins, and others who covered the ground war in Korea from the trenches; the same kind of nuts that defined Joe Galloway, covering Hal Moore and his battalion of the 7th Cavalry at Ia Drang in '65, walking in the Valley of the Shadow of Death (and immortalized in We Were Soldiers) to tell a story that couldn't be done justice in the telling, save for by someone who was there.

The kind of nuts that volunteer to go into that valley of the Shadow, to see that what the troops experience and endure, is not ignored or forgotten by the folks it is being done for, regardless of the right or wrong that put them where they now stand.

Legends, every one of them. One helluva fine group of nuts to stand with, Steffan.

I almost wish I had the opportunity to do what he's doing; whether I'd have the guts to do it is something I'll probably never find out.

At any rate, he has posted blog entries for his travel to/and experiences so far in Iraq (thru March 15) on the KOA website along with a gallery of photos (such as the one top right); he has also posted for readers, email addresses for some of the troops he's been embedded with, sharing their stories and their experiences in their day-to-day efforts to carry out the mission they're tasked with.

And I'm here to tell you, Cindy Sheehan: there's not a 'dupe' among them. Volunteers and heroes, every one.

If any of you would like to send words of encouragement to these fine Americans, here are some of the email addresses Steffan has posted: Private Chris Daley, Richmond VA Private Matthew Harris, College Station TX Private Roger Studdard, Sullivan MO Sgt. Donald Locke, Ann Arbor MI Spc. Jason Grunow, Conifer CO Sgt. Carl Washington, Manhattan, NY Spc. Hershel Tidwell, Leesburg FL Sgt. Nathan Byrd, Hickory NC Pvt. Matthew Ginter (no hometown listed) Spc. Vicente Diaz, King City CA Sgt. Kevin Wood (no hometown listed)

Note: Steffan notes that Sgt. Washington and his fellows have a fondness for Little Debbie snack cakes...and I'm waiting to hear how this fondness can be faciliated. When I know, I'll update.

Not all of us who wish to serve in times like these can serve in the manner of the young men and women now in harms' way; but we can serve in other ways. For example, by letting them know we support and salute them.

I've taken the time to write to the soldiers listed above; let them know you're thinking of them, too.

It means as much to them as what they're doing means to us all.


Blogger Monica said...

Excellent post, Skunk! I've always had concerns of my own where reporters are concerned in Iraq but you've managed to make me look at this one a lot more fondly. I do want our civilians over there to stay safe, too, but I admit my first love is the troops themselves. These six will be hearing my thanks and praises today!

15 March, 2006 11:05  
Blogger Karen said...

This was great, and I will email them.

Have a great day :-)

15 March, 2006 12:05  
Blogger Herb said...

Great post. Those guys are not covering the latest society ball, that's for sure.

Here is a link to an organization that also provides info on how you can help out.

16 March, 2006 04:26  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just want to say, bless you all for doing what you do on a daily basis and for putting up with so much bunk day in and day out. Especially you, SGT Byrd. You're in my thoughts and prayers, Nate

02 April, 2007 12:33  

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