Before now poetry has taken notice
Of wars, and what are wars but politics
Transformed from chronic to acute and bloody?
from "Build Soil"
Robert Frost

Thursday, March 06, 2008

FRAGO - 26 July 2007

On July 31 last year, Reuters ran a stub news item, noting the deaths of three more soldiers in the western al-Anbar province of Iraq. Several blogs picked up the story, questioning Reuters’ characterization of Anbar as an “insurgent stronghold”. In this case, the story revolved around one of the few remaining insurgent strongholds in Anbar, so Reuters got the story right.

As with so many news stories from this war, the stub condenses hours of tragedy, valor, and struggle into one brief five-sentence clip. Focused as it was on the human cost of the action, the short paragraph neglected the triumph of the men who lived and the fighting that ensured their survival.

This time, I was in the action, at least peripherally. I saw the day unfold- beginning with the fate of an American patrol, and becoming the moving of men and vehicles to provide rescue for stranded soldiers. The following is an account of the events of July 26th, in as full detail as regulation and my memory can provide. What portions of that day I was not present for, I have pieced together from radio traffic, from men, and from my past experiences of similar events.

I’ve had this story written for over seven months. I know that a couple of details are confused- I will address those and other concerns in another post to illustrate the difficulty in reporting on combat. While I was in Iraq this last month, I spent a week with Red Platoon, Apache Troop, 5/7 Cav - the men in this story. During my time with Apache, I was continually introduced with the postscript “He was with us on the 26th, you know.” I know some of those soldiers will read this blog, and I hope I did the story right by them.


  1. Anonymous8/3/08 01:49

    Something we've known for quite some time; the "mainstream" media sucks.

  2. Teflon Don,

    The mainstream media needs to turn a profit, and the sad reality is their news consumers are more interested in the latest britney hijinx rather than an in-depth story coming from the battlefield of Iraq. I agree, it stinks, but we must be honest about the reasons for such little Iraq coverage.

  3. If the MSM did not exhibit an agenda, and truly reported the news, without said agenda, maybe more people would rely on them. The fact is To paraphrase the New York Times motto "all the the news fit to print", it is now the MSM motto of: "all the news we feel is fit to print"

  4. Anonymous11/3/08 16:00

    Tell the guys from Apache that their ANGLICO team sends our regards from Haditha.

  5. Man, you sure could teach the main stream folks a thing or two.

  6. Anonymous13/3/08 10:16

    You keep writing. We'll keep reading and we'll remember it right.

  7. Anonymous15/3/08 13:43

    yeah, what Hope said!!

  8. Don,

    I just read your account of the 26th...Damn. The stuff you and your guys went through makes my time out there in '91 look like a folk dance.

    Highest respects to you and your mates. I'll be posting a link to this a little later on. Just wanted to say "Thanks" for sharing these experiences with us, and for your services to us all.

    God bless all in your house.