Thursday, January 11, 2007

Another sad day

Fort Snelling National Cemetery, Minneapolis, MN

Yesterday was another sad day for the Minnesota Army National Guard family and Bravo company in particular. SGT James M. Wosika Jr. was killed in action in Fallugah by an IED while on foot patrol. SGT Wosika was the seventh soldier from the Minnesota members of the 1st Brigade Combat Team to die in Iraq. He was also the third soldier to die from Bravo company 2/136 in less than a month.

Bravo company is just a small piece of the whole Minnesota deployment. They are a few hundred soldiers out of 2,600 Minnesota National Guard soldiers in Iraq, but they have suffered three of the seven deaths on this one year deployment.

Bravo company is going to be "my" unit while I'm in Iraq. I'll be focussed pretty much exclusively on this small group of Minnesota soldiers who have been paying a terrible price in the past few weeks. I've been planning for about a month to go to Bravo company specifically, and yesterday's news definitely struck me in a very personal way that it wouldn't have just a few short weeks ago.

My hope is that over the next month of reporting I can effect this change in your perception of these soldiers as well, and make the war more personal for you. This isn't somebody else's war, and these aren't somebody else's friends and neighbors, they are are ours.


phil said...

eric says:
"Bravo company is going to be "my" unit while I'm in Iraq."

one of the first things i heard about embedding back in 2003 was a criticism of journalists saying "we did this" or "our unit did that"

the thought was that by making the journalists a part of the story they were covering, there was a potential for losing the necessary objective separation.

i think some went as far as saying that embedding was a rumsfeldian scheme to shape the message coming out of iraq to be "us" and "we" and "my" and therefore make the viewer or listener more connected or invested. a little something to counteract the fact that no one wanted to go to war in the first place.

it makes a little more sense for you, given that one of your goals is to make this into "our" war.

signed, not paige

Eric Bowen said...

That is definitely valid criticism.

If you read my My Journalism Standards post, one of the things I say is that, "I would describe myself as more of a commentator at heart, than a reporter".

This means I will include myself in the story, and that I'm openly rooting for "my" team to win.(By win I mean the realization a stable long-term solution to the mess we've created.) Read Ernie Pyle's WWII dispatches for an example of the type of journalism I aspire to.

That said, I would hope that I have enough detachment to step outside the story objectively at times also...

Day by Day, by Chris Muir (updated daily)

Chris Muir is the cartoonist that I met in Kuwait. He spent two weeks in Iraq at the same time I was there in February 2007, and so thought it would relevant to showcase his work on my site. Here is a link to Chris' humorous travelogue of this Iraq trip: