The Dynamic Trio

This week marked another major milestone in my quest to return home. I completed my final off-site media event at Camp Taji today.

I flew up there yesterday morning to meet with the commander there. Normally, we don’t leave Baghdad until the evening before, but they insisted on a media prep.

We had invited Agence France Presse and Associated Press. They are two of the three largest wire services in the world, so I could understand their apprehension.  AFP had printed an unfavorable article recently, and I had never worked with this particular AP reporter before.

The prep session went as expected although there was one amusing answer one of the colonels gave. In response to a prep question about the religious discussion programs offered at the detention facility at Taji, he inadvertently said there were “extremist parts of the Quran.”

I let it go for a few seconds to see what would happen, but when it went unaddressed by the end of his answer, I asked him, “exactly which parts of the Quran are extremist.” He looked puzzled at my question, and I explained to him what he had said. He smirked a little once he realized his mistake, and he crafted his answer again.

The media event itself went terrific. Both reporters seemed to get exactly what they needed, and there were no hiccups in the execution of the event at all — something entirely unusual over the course of my deployment here.

One of the bright spots in this deployment is the great team that helps me do these events.

Almost all of the media events my office puts together are executed by this team of public affairs professionals. Lt. Healy is the PA officer at Camp Cropper, and Karim is our bilingual bicultural advisor. He’s really the one that makes these things so easy.

When we go out on media events together, it doesn’t even seem like work. It seems like a few friends hanging out together all day.

Our flight back tonight was my last Blackhawk ride. It wasn’t nearly as exciting as my first one back in June, but I flew with some awesome people, which made it a great flight.


4 thoughts on “The Dynamic Trio

  1. I don’t know why, but I love this second picture of you. Could it be that you actually look happy? I’m glad you saved the day with your media prep. That could have been embarrassing.

    Now pack your stuff. Naow! Aaargh! To the Choppah!

  2. I love both of these pictures because I think I see you smiling!

    Great job, as usual, son! I bet they are going to miss you and your level of professionalism!

    Now, count the days down and get out of there!

  3. WELL AND TRULY DONE!!!! Keeping people on their toes is a full time job, no? OK, don’t forget to turn out the lights!!! Dad

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